Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
LONDON (Reuters) - Twenty years after first toying with the idea, German film director Roland Emmerich brings his World War II drama Midway to cinemas next month, focusing on the 1942 Battle of Midway.
Known for big-budget disaster movies filled with special effects like Independence Day and Godzilla, Emmerich long wanted to recount the giant air and sea battle in the Pacific during which U.S. forces defeated an attacking Japanese fleet.
The upcoming military-themed movies and shows you should keep an eye out for — and a couple you may want to avoid
I watch a lot of television, movies, trailers, and trailer breakdowns for work, but here's the thing: I can't tell you or anyone else what makes a genuinely good military movie or show, especially if I haven't seen it yet. And I wouldn't call myself a "critic" in the classic sense. Then again what do they know; they said The Hurt Locker was a masterpiece.
What I do know, is that I get excited about stories that make an honest effort to achieve some measure of authenticity, whether it's a full blown dramatic reenactment of some major conflict, or seeing characters interact (even briefly) in a way you recognize, because you've had those conversations on base, overseas, or while you were drunk at one in the morning in the barracks.
At their best, military movies and shows focus on a character's service as more than a lazy plot device to explain why they're good with guns, have a high and tight, or shout out bits of military lingo at random moments; at their very worst, they may trot out the broken vet trope to add a little drama. And of course, there's the laziest of them where everyone's an operator — even lawyers, apparently.
It's about time the heroism and sacrifice made by the sailors of the U.S. Navy during World War II had a recent tribute on the big screen that isn't just an action-packed overused-cliché fest — with an awkward love triangle jammed in — like 2001's Pear Harbor, or the also very bad USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage that starred Nicholas Cage.
It's too soon to know for sure if Midway, which hits theaters on Nov. 8, will successfully pay homage to America's sea service, or lean heavily on CGI gimmicks and nonstop explosions to make up for a lack of character development and reflection on the horrors of war.
But the recently released teaser trailer for Roland Emmerich's military drama certainly looks like it'll at least be better than the most recent additions to the World War II Navy genre.
Admittedly, that's a low bar.
'It's a relatively perfect recreation of everything' — Here's your first look at the upcoming WWII epic 'Midway'
Director Roland Emmerich has made some beloved movies about America: "The Patriot," "Independence Day" and "White House Down." He's long wanted to make a film about the Battle of Midway, and "Midway" will finally arrive in theaters on Nov. 8.
We've got an exclusive first look at the movie's poster, and Emmerich took time to speak with us about the film from the editing room as his team races to meet deadlines.
The short Netflix docu-series Five Came Back, based on a book of the same name, takes an in-depth look at the forefathers of combat cameramen, following the directors and cinematographers who gave up flashy Hollywood careers to go to the front lines in the Pacific, Europe, and North Africa to document the carnage of World War II.
Last summer, German film director Roland Emmerich toured a number of sites around Pearl Harbor as he prepared to remake the action epic Midway about the 1942 battle that turned the tide of World War II in the Pacific against the Japanese.