Director Roland Emmerich turns a heroic World War II story into a preposterous mega-budget action movie. Absurd nationalism, improbable physics, repetitive visuals, and dire characters fill this lark. Comic relief halfway through is not only out of place, but diminishing whatever authentic drama Midway had left. Star Ed Skrein produces a hackneyed accent and stock heroism without nuance – the latter true for Midway as a whole.
A hearty artificial grain structure hovers over this digitally lensed production. Lionsgate’s disc does well to preserve and maintain things. Marginal lapses reduce fidelity a smidgen, but it’s overall pure and true to the intent. The grit doesn’t hold back.
Behind that, a splendidly textured image. Sharpness in this 2K-finished source resolves facial texture consistently. Slightly hazier visual effects lack the same bite, if still detailed. Scenes of ships at sea produce waves for miles. Fast action holds visual integrity amid explosions, camera shake, and bullet fire. Add in the grain and Lionsgate shows their encoding muscle.
Color timing swerves between natural and bloated. Flesh tones take on neon-esque hues with frequency. Primaries over saturate with little regard for accuracy. Even fireballs push extremes; many bloat the oranges, pairing with the flesh tones soaking in the same hues. It’s a lot, exaggerated, and matching the theatrical presentation.
Dolby Vision pushes contrast in Hawaii sunlight, likewise generating oomph from hot bullets, lightning, and metal reflections. Clipping happens (especially in skylines), sticking to the heavy-handed visual aesthetic. Black levels sink low, observant of shadow detail however.
Given the aerial battles, Midway exploits Dolby Atmos to its fullest. Planes pan around the soundstage, overhead as much as behind. Bullets pierce each speaker, each strike hitting from precise locations. Pinpointing every missile, explosion, or aircraft is made easy thanks to this track. Listen (and don’t underestimate) ambiance. Inside ships, engines reverb in hallways. A brief submarine scene adds danger through elevated audio. On the surface, waves splash when on deck, rain lashes out alongside thunder, and civilian life crowds streets.
Massive dynamic range pushes LFE hard. Music stings power in, with every blast besting that weight. Engines spare nothing as they pass, turning Midway into a mix that’s felt as much as heard. AA fire and battleship rounds spare nothing either. This track wants the fullest dynamics and doesn’t miss anything in generating rumble.
Roland Emmerich begins this section with a commentary, followed by a 14-minute making of, fueled by EPK interviews. A look into casting runs 12-minutes. There’s a puff piece on Emmerich next. For 15-minutes, historians tell of the actual events in Turning Point. Code breaker Joe Rochefort earns his due in a six-minute featurette. Two men who fought in the battle recall their experiences in a nine minute feature. These historical pieces represent the best bonuses, and best the movie too.
Midway indulges in messy, repetitive, and choreographed action, made worse through sloppy exposition in the script that drives hokey patriotism instead of authentic stakes.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 50 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: