Instep Today

In cinemas now: Midway and Terminator: Dark Fate

Instep Today
By Omair Alavi
Fri, 11, 19

Here’s where to head to if the cinema is your chill-out place.

Midway 3/5

To make a war film based on an actual event is trickier than making an action flick; you have to depict real events and recreate history so that your film doesn’t cross over into the domain of fiction. Roland Emmerich’s Midway is one such war film that takes you back in time with its brilliant depiction of actual events that changed the course of the Second World War and with it, the fate of the world.

Midway begins with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 that made the United States of America enter World War II. It was the United States Navy that helped America’s status change from being neutral to leading the Allies, by winning the battle of Midway through luck, code breakers and a brilliant strategy. Woody Harrelson’s Admiral Nimitz leads his team that includes Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Dennis Quaid, Nick Jonas and others as they plan, execute and destroy the Japanese fleet to change the course of the war.

For a change, the Japanese are given equal screen time in this war film that depends more on edgy action sequences and brilliant aerial battle scenes than the chemistry between its characters. Yes, Ed Skrein comes out as a reckless pilot whose aim is to win the battle, Patrick Wilson as the man who tries to warn his predecessors and Woody Harrelson as the person who keeps his calm in the face of danger, but they should have had more scenes with their families. Secondly, the director shouldn’t have collected every cliche in Hollywood war films and used it in the movie as at times it doesn’t look authentic.

What does come out as spellbinding is the destruction of Pearl Harbour and later Japanese Aircraft Carriers that fall to aerial assault using torpedoes, missiles, and presence of mind. The film may not be Roland Emmerich’s best, but it humanizes the battle with some impressive direction and equal coverage of both sides of the battle. Had there been more of Aaron Eckhart (he barely has three scenes in the film) and Mandy Moore (who plays Ed Skrein’s wife), it would have been better as they both are wonderful performers. On the whole, this Midway may not be as huge as the Charlton Heston version released in 1976, but it does pack the punch, and encourages you to read about the battle afterwards.

Terminator: Dark Fate 2.5/5

It was thought that the return of James Cameron and Linda Hamilton will do wonders for the new Terminator flick but sadly, it back fired big time. Terminator: Dark Fate may be the most advanced flick in the series since T2: Judgment Day but it is not the best. It revolves around the same story that was coined by James Cameron 35 years ago, and if the producers thought that it will resonate with the current audience, they were mistaken.

Since Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor poses no threat to the future due to the events shown at the start of this flick, the future sends a saviour named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) to protect one Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) from a new Terminator Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) for reasons revealed later in the movie. Grace joins hands with Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) to ‘terminate’ the enemy who this time around can even split into two personalities. And when they have trouble in winning the battle, they ask an aged T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help them, and that is where things get interesting, for die-hard fans only.

Although on paper Terminator: Dark Fate comes as a perfect Terminator, director Tim Miller’s movie falls into the ‘been there, done that’ syndrome. Gabriel Luna resembles Robert Patrick in many ways, including his powers, his expressions (or lack thereof) and movement. While Robert Patrick’s T-1000 was menacing even without his expressions, Gabriel Luna isn’t. In fact, the relegation of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the saviour to the helper isn’t what the audience was expecting. They wanted him and Linda Hamilton to take matters into their own hands like T2 but the story is much more complicated here. Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor looks too old to be a Terminator Hunter yet the nostalgic factor that she carries makes the audience root for her.

Unlike other Terminator flicks featuring Arnie, this one has him for the least screen time. The fact that the future is still sending Terminators to kill someone who will defeat them one day shows that the future has no creativity. Gone are the many one-liners ‘Come with me if you want to live!’ and ‘Hasta La Vista, Baby!’ that were the highlight of T2 while ‘I will be back’ wasn’t delivered by the person who made it achieve cult status. Too many special effects have ruined what could have been a perfect restart to the Terminator franchise and one hopes that James Cameron decides against revisiting the series for a long ‘time’.

Omair Alavi is a freelance broadcast journalist who can be contacted at [email protected]