‘Midway’ is a stirring film

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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If you have gone to the theater lately you probably saw the story of “Midway” is now playing in a theater near you.

Roger Thomas

However, you might not know that there was a version of this historical event on the big screen in 1976.

So the important story has been around in motion picture form more than five decades as the “Battle of Midway,” as the title was created on the screen, with actors portraying important scenes and creative visual effects making sure the actors and all the effects looked real for the audience.

Before we move to the new version, let us think about the version from 1976. There were many stars in the earlier “Midway” adaptation, including Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, Hal Holbrook and Joseph Coburn, just to name a few.

Some of the actors in this new version are Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, Aaron Eckhart and Nick Jones.

The story is one that many have told. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. needed to strike back on the Japanese soldiers. So they set a plan to wipe out the Japanese leaders and soldiers. And on the history books you can read about “Midway.”

Or you can find some other source. A movie version of the story might just prove to be an education about the “Midway.”

“Midway” has many fine points. The new film looks good. Personally I would like to see both the films back to back. The earlier film would most likely be weaker overall, but there may also be moments that were only there in the first depiction.

Which lines of dialogue were in one film, but not in the other? Why was it left out? What piece of dialogue did the cast really want to leave in but the director pulled it out?

I remember going to see “Battle of Midway” in 1976 at the Cinema Theatre in my hometown. It was an enthralled event with the battle scenes. I might have not understood all that happened, but I got most of it.

I still remember a couple of weeks ago. When I entered into the theatre. I thought that the new film would be the same film from 1976 without the grand effects. Needless to say, I was not enthused.

And I admit, I was wrong. I liked the film more than I thought it would.

There are great effects, a good story (a real one, that is) and fine actors doing good work.

I am pretty sure that these modern effects also impress others — those effects that have become greater and greater to our eyes and ears. Think of all the effects that have been created since the production of the first version of “Midway,” the effects over the five decades.

There are several elements that made it more likable than I imagined.

All around, the film works. It may not be the best film of the year, but one that is worthy of the time and money.

It’s a small price to be inspired and remember those great veterans — the ones that survived that great naval battle and those who lasted with their lives during and after the battle.

May we all pray for those who serve in our military.

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.