“Midway” (Lionsgate)

Keean Johnson and Ed Skrein star in a scene from the movie "Midway." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Lionsgate)

By Catholic News Service

Vivid fact-based epic recounting the period from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, to the Navy’s decisive victory in the battle of the title in June 1942, a triumph that turned the tide in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The ensemble drama follows, among others, top brass, including Adms. Chester W. Nimitz (Woody Harrelson), William “Bull” Halsey (Dennis Quaid) and Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa), a brilliant intelligence officer (Patrick Wilson), two daring pilots (Ed Skrein and Luke Evans) and Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle (Aaron Eckhart) whose air raid on Tokyo in April 1942 was a major propaganda coup for the Allies and helped lay the groundwork for the positive outcome at sea less than two months later.

As this partial list suggests, director Roland Emmerich has a lot of personal storylines to keep bound together with the result that the details of his film are sometimes confusing. But there’s a good balance in Wes Tooke’s script between action scenes and human interest and the patriotism, courage and tenacity on display go a long way to maintain attention. Possibly acceptable for older teens despite a lot of realistic sailors’ talk.

Frequent stylized violence with little gore, brief gruesome images of a burned corpse, about 10 uses of profanity, an equal number of milder oaths, at least one rough term, considerable crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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