Master of Disaster Roland Emmerich Puts His Spin on WWII

Lionsgate has released a brand new trailer for the World War II epic Midway. This is the latest from Roland Emmerich, the blockbuster filmmaker known best as the man behind Independence Day. In this case, Emmerich is taking a stab at one of the most famous events in history’s most infamous war, the Battle of Midway. Is Emmerich the right man for the job? That’s tough to say based on the trailer alone, but he’s brought along with him a large ensemble cast that includes Nick Jonas and Woody Harrelson.

The trailer wastes no time in getting to the action, as we see the events of Pearl Harbor unfold with lots of explosions and dramatic moments. We then see how the fallout from that historic event paved the way for the historic battle documented in this movie. The high stakes are made crystal clear. Even though we’re dealing with history here, Roland Emmerich’s usual sense of massive scale destruction and flare is on full display. That leads to a couple of moments that are a bit more flashy than we might typically see in a WWII movie. That said, this does feel like a major departure for the filmmaker.

Related: Midway Trailer: Independence Day Director Takes on World War II

The rest of the massive ensemble includes Ed Skrein, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Etsushi Toyokawa, Tadanobu Asano, Luke Kleintank, Jun Kunimura, Darren Criss, Keean Johnson, Alexander Ludwig, Mandy Moore and Dennis Quaid. Wes Tooke, known for his work on the TV shows Jean-Claude Van Johnson and Colony, penned the screenplay. This particular battle was brought to the screen previously in the 1976 movie of the same name, which was directed by Jack Smight and starred the legendary Henry Fonda.

Midway centers on the infamous and important Battle of Midway. The battle between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy marked a crucial turning point in the Pacific Theater during WWII in the wake of the disaster that was Pearl Harbor. The movie is based on the real-life events and focuses on the story of the leaders and soldiers who used their skills and instincts to overcome the odds that were heavily stacked against them.

Roland Emmerich has helmed some hits in his day, but he’s coming off of one of his biggest flops ever in Independence Day: Resurgence. It’s also been a while since he’s had a certifiable hit, since his other recent efforts such as Stonewall and White House Down also didn’t deliver on the level they were expected to. Could this be his rebound?

WWII movies are often positioned as awards contenders. With the November 8 release date, Midway would certainly be timed for that conversation. Whether or not that proves to be the case remains to be seen. Though, it does seem far more likely that Sam Mends’ WWI thriller 1917 will occupy that slot this year. Be sure to check out the new trailer from the Lionsgate Movies YouTube channel for yourself.

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