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I drink to the bottom for those at sea

Midway (2019)
Midway
action, war, drama, historical
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: Luke Evans, Patrick Wilson, Mandy Moore, Alexander Ludwig, Woody Harrelson
Premiere: November 14, 2019
December 7, 1941, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. The intelligence officer Edwin T. Layton spoke about this outcome a long time ago, but no one listened to him. Now that the war of Japan has been officially declared and the leadership has been changed, it is his strategic advice that will become decisive in the upcoming battles. True, this time he claims that the Japanese will inflict the next blow on the Midway base, and his only argument is the ambiguous decryption of enemy programs.

Shot from the movie “Midway”
Roland Emmerich wanted to make a film about the Battle of Midway back in the 90s, but financial constraints forced to postpone the project as much as 30 years. In order for the movie to take place, in 2017, the director had to look for investors who could invest $ 100 million in Midway (this, by the way, made him one of the most expensive independent films). Emmerich, as you know, loves stories that are pretentious, monstrous in scope, but at the same time human – such as the fate of ordinary people is shown against the background of the death of cities or even a planet. The conflict between the Americans and the Japanese in this regard seemed ideal material for a typical Emmerich plot, but the director’s approach – no matter how ironic it sounded in the context of a war film – snapped.

Shot from the movie “Midway”
Midway doesn’t work like a gigantic epic canvas about the greatest American victory. Emmerich is trying to create a whole story – so that all the characters and events in synergy form a single portrait of the war – but the narrative is more likely to resemble the stories of a veteran old man who looks away (including in the sky above Midway), who is distracted by the memories of old comrades and skips with topics on the topic. This is especially noticeable in minor lines: you can’t tell about the figure of James Doolittle or the random crews of an aircraft carrier, even if their importance is doubtful in the plot, apparently, Emmerich and the screenwriter Wes Took see the greatest crime against American patriotism. But rather, this is a crime before the dynamics of the film.

Shot from the movie “Midway”
This is not to say that the author is faced with this problem for the first time. In “Godzilla” – to put it mildly, not the director’s most successful project – the plot also went to extremes and filth in its non-assembly, but this was compensated by battle scenes with a giant monster smashing New York. In Midway, the most ambitious scenes look the most tortured. It is not Emmerich’s matter anymore: the mastery of staging has not disappeared, but either a lack of budget or the lack of professionalism of the artists in terms of effects. The attack on Pearl Harbor (potentially one of the most important moments in the plot, where huge ships explode and thousands of Americans die) has turned into a cut-scene from a mediocre computer game. And at the beginning of the film, this alarming bell scares even more than the graphics of Independence Day when revised.

Shot from the movie “Midway”
But after Emmerich turns to his favorite local stories, and the action also becomes more modest. All the dignity of Midway is in the mundane, insignificant. In air battles, where the attention is riveted on the rambling Dick Best (even by name you can understand that there are no jokes with him), in desk disputes, anticipation of battles – in everything that the authors focus thoughtfully for more than 10 minutes, not wanting to look again, “ but what about the Japanese? ” Even in the surroundings – texture actors dressed in the most authentic costumes and wandering around (except for scenes with a terrible chromakey) over the most authentic scenery.

“Midway” in terms of “credibility” does not raise questions at all. Obviously, Emmerich and Tuck cleverly manipulate the viewer (in hospitals after Pearl Harbor people gather in pieces while the Japanese drink sake in their quarter), but pathos and compromise credits – a dedication to the military, both American and Japanese, can humble even an picky amateur digging to the artistic truth. Although the Midway, of course, is not so much about the perpetrators of the war as about the madmen who defeat it. The Americans of Emmerich are a nation of adventurers, eccentrics and simply those who “did not coward and did not abandon the oars.” Because they only have former musicians working as decryptors, who are now clumsily translating enemy programs around the clock, and an intelligence officer based on these inaccurate data can convince the command to shift all forces to Midway. To some extent, Emmerich is also an adventurer, because he risked everything and took off the dream project. No wonder he introduces the image of a crazy director into history, who, being at the epicenter of the battle, when explosions and corpses are around, continues to search for the best shots for the film. But, unlike this character, Emmerich’s military cinematography seems to have failed.

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