Review: 'Midway' turns the WW II battle into a cartoon

This image released by Lionsgate shows Ed Skrein (left) and Mandy Moore in a scene from "Midway." 

"Midway" is an old fashioned war movie - but that isn't a good thing.

This retelling of one of the most important battles in World War II from "Independence Day" director Roland Emmerich is the kind of war movie that has been done a million times before - usually way better. It's an overstuffed CGI extravaganza that substitutes humanity for special effects.

"Midway" builds to the climatic battle in the Pacific Ocean that helped turn the tide of the war, with the film showing the events that led up to that fateful day and a handful of people who played a hand in the battle.

They include Richard 'Dick' Best (Ed Skrein), a talented bomber squad commander; Edward Layton (Patrick Wilson), a Naval intelligence officer who knows Japan better than anyone in the military; and Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson), the head of the Pacific Ocean fleet.

The film also features Mandy Moore, Joe Jonas, Aaron Eckhardt, Luke Evans and Dennis Quaid - piling up on familiar faces stuck in a film more concerned with CGI battles that actual character development.

"Midway" just feels like a movie that the studio had its hands in throughout the creative process - determined to put everything in the film deemed important to box office success. By doing so it waters down something that could have been quite effective in the right hands, not someone has inconsistent as Emmerich.

He's stuck in disaster movie mode here with "Midway" coming off as an extension of his previous films "Independence Day" and "Day After Tomorrow." The characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue is wooden and the action sequences get repetitive.

The only true substance to be found in "Midway" comes in the scenes right before the credits that tell us what happened to all of the people involved. Those "what happened" title cards reveal more about these characters than anything else that has happened in the film's 138 minute running time.

It's a shame because these heroes deserve to have their full story told and they most certainly deserve a better vehicle for their story than "Midway."

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