As an Army Intel vet, it can be hard for me to give the Navy its due — especially less than a month before “the game.”
But the sailors and their Intel boys came through for this country and the Pacific Fleet at the Battle of Midway.
The film “Midway,” rated PG-13 and playing now in theaters all over the country, is a fine testament to that fact.
It’s a great war movie to boot.
I saw it on Saturday — and movie fans seem to agree with my theatrical Intel analysis.
Check this out, for example:
Roland Emmerich's Midway shoots to top of box office with $17.5 million https://t.co/pO1SkxGhLY
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) November 10, 2019
Set during the time of Pearl Harbor to June of 1942, the Roland Emmerich-helmed film (he also directed the classic “Independence Day”) chronicles America on its knees after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
It covers the Doolittle raid on Japan in April of 1942 and recounts in accurate historical detail the Battle of Midway that turned the tide in the Pacific.
If focuses on the warriors of the aircraft carriers that stood ready to take on their Japanese counterparts.
It also justly gives Navy Signal Intel officer Joe Rochefort the credit for discovering that the Imperial Navy was aiming for Midway, giving U.S. Navy Pacific Commander Chet Nimitz — ably played by Woody Harrelson — the information he needed to spring a trap when the Japanese arrived.
This US victory built a powerful case for cryptanalysis, a concept that resulted in the creation of NSA a decade later.
— NSA/CSS (@NSAGov) November 8, 2019
The film also tells the human stories of the sailors and their families who sacrificed much to win the war in the Pacific.
Aside from Harrelson, no Hollywood big names adorn the cast.
But the men and woman who do — such as British actor Ed Skrein, who plays Navy pilot Dick Best — do a superb job of portraying these real-life heroes.
If only for that, one can forgive Skrein’s interesting attempt at a New Jersey accent.
The Japanese naval officers are treated with military respect, as they were in “Tora, Tora, Tora” and the 1976 version of “Midway,” two previous WWII naval films.
Japanese Naval Commander Admiral Yamamoto’s warning to his own men that all they have done by attacking the Americans is “wake a sleeping giant” was borne of intimate knowledge.
Yamamoto had served as a Japanese naval liaison officer in Washington and had attended Harvard.
He was also known as an excellent poker player — hence his warning to his comrades that their pair of sevens could not stand up in the long run to the U.S. Royal Flush.
This is definitely a red-state movie, as the sight of square-jawed American military men engaged in righteous combat could trigger an aneurysm for some in blue-state big cities who disdain such things.
It’s not that Dems or liberals have always hated the military. It’s that since 1972, the Democrats as a national party have made anti-military policies and attitudes a sort of fetish by harshly opposing the Reagan defense buildup, the Strategic Defense Initiative, the operations in Grenada and Panama, Desert Storm — and by seeing the U.S. armed forces as more of a social engineering lab than a fighting force.
The list goes on as “the squad,” and their hard-Left Dem cohorts, presently continue the decades-long Democrat opposition to a strong American national security posture.
This film could as well remind those red-state voters that freedom has a price both on the battlefield and at the ballot box.
If they take that to heart in 2020, then more than naval personnel may have reason to smile at the full effect of this excellent movie.
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