‘Midway’ (2019): mini-review

I watched Midway (the 2019 version) tonight.

This is a compelling historical film that blends history with action. Although Midway is focused on the great battle that took place in June 1942, the first half of the movie covers events that led up to it—including Pearl Harbor. 

The film is well cast. For once Woody Harrelson appears in a role in which he is not personally annoying. (That hasn’t happened since Cheers.) Dennis Quaid is a convincing William “Bull” Halsey.

But the star of the movie, by far and away, is Dick Best (1910~2001), the US Navy pilot who sank two Japanese aircraft carriers in a single day. I enjoyed Ed Skrein’s interpretation of the role.


The closing credits of the movie end with the dedication, “The film is dedicated to the American and Japanese sailors who fought at Midway. The sea remembers its own.”

Some folks found that offensive. But we Americans have a long tradition of making friends with—and even honoring—our vanquished enemies.

Many of the leftists who are presently vandalizing Confederate war memorials don’t realize the long national reconciliation that took place in the decades after the American Civil War. There were numerous reunions between soldiers who fought on both sides. These began in the 1880s, and concluded in the early 1930s, when former soldiers of the Blue and the Grey had mostly died off. 

There have also been reunions between former American fighting men and their Japanese/German counterparts. Most of these reunions were held in the 1970s and 1980s, when the war was sufficiently in the past, but there were still plenty of veterans left alive. 

Finally, Japan has been our most stalwart ally in the Pacific since the end of the Occupation in 1952.

Remember history; and by all means—be grateful that America won. But let the dead past bury its dead.