You really should go see Midway. But not for the plot. If you’re familiar with the Battle of Midway you know the plot. This movie follows the historical record with amazing accuracy. In fact, I have never seen a film that is as accurate historically as Midway. Some stories don’t need to be embellished, and this is one of them. It’s a brilliant achievement, where every scene, and every word, rings true.
History is full of stories like Midway. The battle of Yorktown, which won the American Revolution is one of them. I can imagine a film treatment, done with the talent and reverence for the truth that director Roland Emmerich demonstrated in Midway. He may be German, and he may be gay, and he may be politically correct, but Emmerich uses his art to tell a true story in a new way: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I hope he does another one.
Here’s an advantage of a movie about Yorktown. It can be politically correct, and entirely accurate. Some of the heroes of Yorktown were free blacks serving under Washington. As many as 20% of the Americans who marched south for the battle were black. The war had gone on for five years, and most of the whites had long since gone home. Washington needed troops, and the blacks were willing to serve.
The bad guys in Midway were Japanese, and the good guys were Chinese. When Doolittle’s Raiders landed in China, they were saved by the locals. In retaliation, the Japanese slaughtered 250,000 of them. We lost 290,000 in all of World War Two.
No wonder the Chinese came up with the money to make Midway.