Published on March 22nd, 2010 | by Chris2
The Pacific Pt. 1 (2010)
I'm going to write up a review of the first episode of HBO's new miniseries, The Pacific, just because I don't want everyone to think I'm asleep at the wheel here! 😉
Without a doubt, The Pacific is a companion piece to 2001's Band of Brothers, from the long somber intro, to the black, red, and white title screens and pre-episode interviews.
And you know what? I like it already. If I were doing this back in 2001 after BoB's "Curahee" I don't think I would have given it high marks. That first episode was all about building the characters and setting the stage, and it took the 2nd episode and beyond for that 1st part to fit in, or even to make a lot of sense.
Not so here. Here we're thrown right into the mix at Guadalcanal, following Leckie and Sledge's brother as they land and eventually encounter the Japanese. What's different here vs. BoB is that The Pacific is a sort of "melding" of three separate stories of three separate men, whereas Band of Brothers was based on one novel about an entire company.... And it absolutely shows.
Already the stories are tightly wrapped around the three men, from John Basilone's home life, to Sledge's struggle to get into the military and follow his brother, and Leckie's experiences at Guadalcanal.... It will be interesting to see how these play out and are intertwined, if at all.
As a companion piece to Band of Brothers, it certainly has the same feel to it. The same washed-out tones, "documentary" feel, and the same grit and seriousness with dashes of nervous humor around. Although there seems to be a great deal more, uh, pontification for lack of a better word. Especially noted in the scenes following Leckie, such as where he shoots dead the Japanese soldier the others are purposely wounding. Moments such as this can get overused, and hopefully they'll manage to keep them in check, or risk coming across as a bit -too- preachy and serious. The ending passage of the episode, also fits this bill.
I am glad that they (Spielberg, Hanks, et al) decided to make this series, although its disappointing that it took nearly 10 years to get it. In that 10 years I'm sure we lost a lot of the guys that this series would pay homage to.
Having not read any of the books that The Pacific is based on, I can't comment on their authenticity, quality, or how closely The Pacific adheres to them. I will say, though, that The Pacific is already taking on a hue of sympathy towards the Japanese soldier. Not sure I agree with the sentiment completely, but I don't recall a lot of sympathy towards the Germans in Band of Brothers to be honest. Correct me if I'm wrong. I'll have to see how exactly that aspect plays out.
So far, though, I'm suitably impressed. Nothing I saw "turned me off" of it anyway. Still haven't seen Part. 2 yet, but you won't get another review from me until the whole thing is done.... and I'm not going to "star" any part of it until then either.
Almost forgot, and I hope it happens in subsequent episodes, is the "factoids" that were shown at the end of each episodes of Band of Brothers. Those bits of real numbers and data, locations, people, events, etc. that we saw after each show sort of acted like a fitting bit of punctuation on each. I noticed this didn't have one, although the pre-intro scenes on Pt. 1 may have served that purpose.
The Pacific airs Sunday nights on HBO, with repeats of the episode on their various networks throughout the week.