Midway is very much from the last-gasp of big-screen spot-the-star epics, and it shows. On paper it's an impressive cast - Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Glenn Ford, Robert Mitchum, James Coburn, Cliff Robertson, Robert Wagner, Toshiro Mifune, James Shigeta - but aside from Heston, Fonda and Hal Holbrook, few of them have much to do: Mitchum only has one scene. Much of the first third of the film is taken up with either gathering intelligence while Heston tries not very hard to get estranged son Edward Albert's Japanese-American wife out of internment (this section was even longer, with a subplot with Heston's wife removed from all but the US TV prints: parts of it can be found in this disc's deleted scenes).
Things don't improve much when battle is finally joined and it becomes clear that aside from the odd scene on the deck of an aircraft carrier, the new footage is mainly men in control rooms or cockpits intercut less than convincingly with stock footage from Tora! Tora! Tora! and real color footage of the battle. Unfortunately, blown up to widescreen they often look jarringly grainy, constantly drawing attention to how much of a cut-and-paste the film is. In many ways, despite the widescreen and Senssurround trappings of its theatrical release, this 1976 film often looks like something you'd have expected to be made during the war or perhaps something that started life as an intended TV miniseries: watchable enough without ever really threatening to become truly memorable.
Despite this, it was still surprisingly commercially successful at the US box-office - but then, unlike Tora! Tora! Tora!, the good guys won this particular battle. The DVD is of the two hour theatrical version, but comes loaded with plenty of additional features - 4 deleted scenes and extended ending, a 38-minute making of documentary, featurettes on John Williams' score and the sound effects, the original ten-minute making of short from 1976, stills montage and trailer.