Today is the day in the United States that we honor veterans and we are very much a military family. Our second son is a veteran, who fought as Army Infantry in Afghanistan, my father an Army Ranger fought in the Korean War and my grandfather (“Papa” to all of us) an Air Force pilot who flew B-17 bombers in WWII.
There is one story Papa told me that I’ve found amazing to retell. I wish he was still alive to tell it in his own words, but you’ll have to allow me to pass it down with reverence.
He would speak about the war if you asked him, never shying away from the history or what it was like back then flying those secret missions to bomb places like the ball bearing plants in Germany. How they had to keep the planes in formation, even when it seemed like enemy fire most certainly would take them out. The formation bombing was critical to increasing the likelihood of striking the intended target.
In his elder years Papa was able to tour inside an actual B-17 plane on an exhibition tour. I remember Papa being excited about it, because it had been so many years since he had been inside a B-17. Someone asked him if he thought he could still fly the plane and he instantly responded, “You bet.”
While walking through the plane, there was a piece of metal jutting out on the seat and Papa cut his hand. He was silent for a minute, remembering all those years ago flying into Germany during WWII, and then began to laugh.
He showed the cut to others and said wistfully, “In all the missions I flew with enemy flak shooting through the darkened skies and some coming up through the floor of the plane, this is the very first blood I’ve ever shed inside one of these planes.”
That was Papa. Always a good sense of humor.
It is difficult for me to watch war movies. Hard to separate the fiction and fantasy from the real world human losses — both deaths and disabilities — suffered in war.
Since none of our immediate family was in the Navy it was a little easier watching Midway ⭐️⭐️⭐️ last Friday, but it pains me to see any soldiers injured or killed. The dogfights, the dive bombing, every time a plane crashed or blew up I cringed. If that makes me sound like some gigantic pussy, guilty as charged, it’s true.
The other part of these war movies is how historically accurate are they? Both the Smithsonian and TIME have excellent, revealing articles about what truly happened at Midway:
“The Pacific campaign is long and complicated, and gets overshadowed, in our attention, by what was happening in with the Nazis in Europe,” says screenwriter Wes Tooke. “But it’s an amazing comeback story. I hope that the movie relaunches an interest in learning about Midway.”The True World War II History Behind the Midway Movie | Time
Would strongly recommend reading both of these excellent articles, digging in and taking a moment of silence for remembering all the veterans. Civilians like me will never have a hard job compared to what any soldier must face.
Japan are our allies and friends today, but it was a much different relationship in the 1940s.
We liked the Midway and recommended. Hollywood unfortunately does not have the time in two hours to share everything that happened in the real encounter. They have to combine characters, simplify and in many cases remove subplots. Moviegoers are getting a dramatic license portrayal of what happened, almost never the complete true story.
It felt like Midway the movie kept at least tangentially related to the actual events, which I appreciated.
Other Blogger Reviews
Let’s see what other moviegoers think of Midway. Keep in mind that some/many of these reviews contain spoilers.
- Cinema Spotlight: “…in spite of it’s missteps, I would actually recommend “Midway”. It’s pretty forgettable and bland but the updated effects are convincing and while the writing might be simple it is neat to see a war movie that doesn’t just focus on the fighting.”
- George Sylex: “Roland Emmerich’s ‘Midway’ isn’t engaging as “Pearl Harbor” and not emotional as “Flags of Our Fathers”. Possibly falls someplace in the center. Midway is a conscious tribute to the men who gave their lives during this unequivocal fight, denoting another feeling of development to the Emmerich’s work.”
- bgarten: “Pretty much everything you could want out of a war film. The battle scenes were graphic, grand-scale, and captured the perfect balance of chaos and focus.”
- Scott Holleran: “I enjoyed this week’s top movie at the box office “
- Will You Magazine: ” Overall, Midway is a gripping, interesting film that both marvels and educates in equal measures, it’s just nothing too new or original.”
- Author and Historian Blaine L. Pardoe: “Having bitched about the inaccuracies, I DID enjoy the movie. It’s not up there with A Bridge Too Far, but it holds its own and doesn’t suck like Pearl Harbor. I’ll be purchasing it for home viewing and will permanently shelve my copy of the 1970’s Midway. That, on its own, is not a ringing endorsement. “
Not Recommended (or on the fence)
- Starside Cafe: “…the more scattershot approach here makes many of the battles and emotional beats hit far less effectively than war films that maintain a higher level of focus on one event and a smaller cast of central characters.”
- RockAtTheMovies: “Maybe the film needed a little cheese and relationship drama like that of Pearl Harbor because that film was infinitely more entertaining. This is a by the numbers, going through the motions film, with pretty action sequences.”
- Vinay Krishna: “The plot and characters are wafer-thin and the lead character is kind of a superhero. The dialog is cheesier than a Nestle factory and the screenplay is way too choppy, even for Roland Emmerich standards.”
- theidiosynchratist – “…this spare-no-expense production about the most vital naval battle of WWII merely plasters the latest in digital effects over the same war time movie tropes that Hollywood has been pedaling (sic) for decades.”
Thank you to all those brave men and women who serve in the armed forces all over the world.