The events of December 7th 1941 left an indelible mark on the psyche of America and became a date that truly has lived in infamy. Though historians, authors, and filmmakers have attempted to analyze the events during and leading to the attack on Pearl Harbor; there is still a great deal of interest about the attack and the aftermath.
While Pearl Harbor was for many the opening shots of the U.S. entry into World War II; some would say that the stage was set earlier when the United States attempted to curtail what they saw as an aggressive and Imperialistic Japan by placing restrictions on their vital resources such as oil and the tonnage of their Navy.
In the new film “Midway” we are given a glimpse into this when four years before the attack, when Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) meets with Admiral Yamamoto who lets him know that hardline factions in his government have been buoyed by their invasion of China and will do what is needed to make sure the vital oil that is supplied by the U.S. remains constant.
Flash forward to the day of the attack and Layton who has warned that an attack was possible at Pearl Harbor is seeing his worst predictions come true. In the aftermath he is assigned to Admiral Nimitz (Woody Harrelson); who has been given the thankless task of taking charge of what is left of the Pacific Fleet and finding a way to stop the Japanese fleet.
The U.S. finds themselves outnumbered, outgunned, and waging war with ships and planes that are inferior to the Japanese but they must find a way to overcome the great obstacles before them and defeat a relentless enemy.
Layton and a team of code breakers are convinced the Japanese intend to attack the island of Midway and go all in to set a trap with the goal of destroying the enemy carriers so the U.S. can gain an aerial advantage in the Pacific.
With a strong cast which features Luke Evans, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas and a fine supporting cast, Director Roland Emmerich has given audiences a gripping war movie that despite the impressive visual effects; never loses site of the fact that this is a story of real people who found themselves in pivotal moments of history.
The film also shows how the Japanese commanders had differing views of the Americans they fought. Some considered them to lack braveness while others admired their tenacity and were grateful that they had what they saw as inferior and outdated planes to attack them in.
The film also does a great job showing the Doolittle Raid and how what from a military standpoint caused minor damage yet was a huge psychological boost as Japan believed they were immune from attack yet the American forces found a way to bomb Tokyo by the impossible task of using land based bombers off a carrier.
The film is a great mix of human drama that shows not only the terrible toll of war but how a group of extraordinary individuals gave their all.
4.5 stars out of 5