Sunday, November 17, 2019

"Midway" (2019) -- Initial Thoughts

You need to go see this movie.

I am not even kidding.

I don't care if you never go see movies in the theater, or if you aren't a fan of WWII movies, or if you don't like war movies at all.  Everyone should see this movie.

I'm so not kidding.  This is the best movie I have seen all year.

Yes, better than Avengers: Endgame.  Not even in the same ballpark.

Midway is up there with The Longest Day (1962) as one of the very best war films I have ever seen.  Likely one of the best ever made.  It is staggeringly good.

And you know one of the things I loved most about it?

It had no big, modern agenda.

Think about that a minute.  No agenda.  No trying to shoehorn modern sensibilities and prejudices and ways of thinking into the presentation of a historical event.

It presents us with heroes, yes, but real-life heroes with failings and falterings.  They make mistakes.  They do nearly miraculous things.  They do dumb things.  They're human.

And it does not demonize their enemies.  The Japanese soldiers are shown to be equally courageous and equally intelligent.  The closest to demonization it ever comes is showing that the Japanese military were targeting Chinese civilians.  It lets you make up your own mind about that, it doesn't dance around waving fingers.

I cannot praise this movie highly enough.  It has only one flaw, which isn't so much a flaw as something I wish it didn't have.  One f-word.  But it's used in exactly the way, exactly the moment that such a word is, to be honest, kinda called for.  (There's some other cussing too, but the level that you'd find in a 1960s war movie.) (EDIT: Okay, it does have quite a bit of cussing.  I counted 49 cuss words, my second viewing.  So more on par with a 1970s war movie.  But it... is not gross and nasty cussing, just military dudes speaking their vernacular, if that makes sense.  I didn't realize how much there was because it just didn't bother me.)

Anyway.  The acting, the filming, the pacing, the music, the costumes, the writing -- everything was staggeringly wonderful.

Go see it for yourself.  I almost never say "everyone should see this movie" because most movies, not everyone needs to see.  Personal tastes and interests make that nonsensical, really.  But this movie?  You need to see it.

(I have SO many other things I want to say about Midway, like how wonderful Luke Evans and Patrick Wilson are, how it's the best acting I've ever seen out of Woody Harrelson, and so much more.  But I'm going to hold onto all of that until I've seen it a second time so I can give it a proper review.)

(GO SEE THIS MOVIE!)

19 comments:

  1. *hearts*
    All this, yes. And more.

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    1. :-D I can't wait to see it again. And to talk it over thoroughly with you!

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  2. Whoa, now I do want to see this! I probably won't in theaters (you never know), but as soon as it is on DVD I'll check it out.

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  3. Wow! I might have to see this. I thought the trailer looked interesting, but it seems like a lot of historical movies these days are all about filmmaker's social/political agenda. Glad to hear that wasn't the case! :)

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    1. Marian, exactly. I'm so wearied by all the agendas, which generally translate into bad storytelling and sometimes even historical inaccuracy. This is very much not that way. Refreshing!

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  4. I'm not going to lie, I'm reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyy skeptical that this would be anything I'd enjoy, but I MIGHT HAVE TO CHECK IT OUT ANYWAY. ;-)

    I eagerly await your full review!

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    1. Katie, honestly... I will be sad and disappointed of you don't go see it. I really want to know your take on it. I thought of you multiple times during it.

      Does it help to know it's a very pretty, aesthetically pleasing movie too? Not all gunmetal-and-khaki. And it very much delves into the human-interest aspects of wartime.

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    2. Aw. That is sweet, that you thought of me! <333 That does make me more inclined to go see it . . .

      Again, I'll be honest: I'm in a place where I am VERY skeptical of any and all 'grown up' movies [ie, movies that aren't Star Wars, Disney, or Marvel], BECAUSE the last time I took a chance and went to see one in the theater, it absolutely sucked and made me really depressed for a while. ("Ad Astra." It was nasty. Do not recommend. *shudders*)

      Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut this movie isn't "Ad Astra," and it doesn't sound like an 'art film' (which are usually the more depressing ones), and it's about history, and it's about WW2, so . . . maybe I should try it after all!

      I, um, I don't know how I'd feel about the aesthetic, because I know it's 1940s stuff and 1940s fashion tends to Irritate Me because everybody looks too perfect?? But maybe I'll enjoy it if it has pretty colors ;-)

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    3. Katie, well, I haven't seen Ad Astra, partly because it looked like a downer. Not my thing at all. This is NOT depressing. It's uplifting and empowering. I came out riding on a huge adrenaline rush that lasted for hours.

      When I think of you and visual aesthetics, I think of movies where everything sort of matches. Has a visual cohesiveness. Like O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Sleepy Hollow. This isn't to those levels of specific-looking-matchy-stuff, but it's definitely... pretty. Except, you know, for stuff like seeing dead people after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After I see it again, I'll go more into this with a real review, but this was one of the best depictions of the Pearl Harbor attack I've ever seen. It's honest and powerful without being raw and gross and dwelling on the dead bodies (you do see the remains of one burned soldier) or anything like that. Really helps you understand the emotional choices driving and fueling a lot of the characters we follow to Midway.

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    4. That's really good to know! I could use an uplifting movie! (Yeah, Ad Astra was just . . . awful.)

      I think, honestly, you know more about what sort of visual aesthetics I like than I do ;-) I have a really hard time articulating what I think is pretty, besides "I like that!" or "I don't like that!" [comes of not being a sensor, I expect] But what you said, that sounds right, and I think I will probably enjoy this film's visuals.

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  5. For some reason I thought this had a lot more language in it (because most modern war films do?) but now that that issue is out of the way, I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THIS.

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    1. Eva, okay, I've only seen this once, so DKoren might be able to chime in here and correct me cuz she's seen it at least twice by now, but from what I recall... you get obscenities, not profanities, you know? I don't remember any taking of God's name in vain beyond something like "oh my God." BUT I've only seen it once. When I see it again, I can try to be more specific, or you can check something like imdb's parent's advisory section to see what they have.

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    2. Eva, I actually counted up cuss words on my fingers during my second viewing, and it's a lot more than I thought -- I counted 49, but probably didn't count some cuz I was so into the movie. I think I didn't notice the language the first time because it's not... icky. Prurient. You know? It's military dudes using the cussy vernacular of military dudes, and it just passed over me.

      There are several instances of taking God's name in vain, I'm afraid, but not loads. Maybe six?

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  6. OK. I'm sold. Clearly I need to see this.

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    1. Megan, yay! I just convinced my parents to go see it too, and they should be settling into their seats right about now. Wish I was there with them!

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  7. I saw the trailer for this last week and thought "ugh, all that CGI...looks so soul-less, probably won't bother with this one" but now that I see your review...maybe! ;) (Hi!)

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    1. Oh great, now I'm "Unknown." Let's see if I can fix that...

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    2. VT, no, it's not even remotely soulless, and the CGI is some of the best I've seen.

      I went to see it a second time this weekend, so I'm working on a proper review of it now...

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(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)