2010s The Pacific

Published on March 22nd, 2010 | by Chris


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.

About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

2 Responses to The Pacific Pt. 1 (2010)

  1. Mike says:

    I’ve watched the first three parts of this series and I’m certain I’ll watch the remaining episodes too. It’s quite good, and anyone who liked BoB will enjoy this chance to see some more of the same style drama.

    What I feel it lacks in comparison to its older ‘Brother’ is an episode theme. In BoB each episode, in addition to chronicling the trials and tribulations of the main characters, also focused on one particular aspect of warfare; leadership issues, the role of the medic, the waiting, etc. This seems missing here and a lot of the character sympathy seems more cheaply purchased and cliché. I’m being overly critical, however, it’s still a great watch.

  2. Andre Raymond says:

    Just finished reading “A Helmet For my Pillow” by Leckie and Sledge’s “With The Old Breed…” and loved them. I haven’t found a copy of the Basilone biography yet. The series is dead on adaptation of the books.

    The strangest incidents (the stone tossing in the penultime episode) come straight from the Sledge book. Of course incidents are amalgamated and re attributed to other characters (particularly to Snafu) but that does little harm to the narrative.

    The only huge departure I saw was the scene where Leckie and Sledge meet. Leckie did have a sort of unofficial library and loaned books out to his fellow marines. The major difference is that in the series Leckie claims he doesn’t believe in God anymore. In the book he makes a point of decribing how far from destroying it, combat affirmed his faith.

    As a fan of Band Of Brothers I came in with trepidation, not expecting them to come close to equaling the power of the first series. Boy was I glad they made this. I look forward to “Masters of the Air” the third series. Am reading the book now.

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