Published on May 18th, 2010 | by Chris6
The Pacific (2010)
Hrm. I was really, really hoping this would be a suitable companion piece to 2001's Band of Brothers. (Yes I know I still have to write a review for that one!) I was suitably disappointed, I'm afraid.
Part of the problem is that Band of Brothers set the bar way too stinking high. By itself, The Pacific really isn't all that bad. It's flawed (getting to that) but its not terrible. But in my opinion is but a pale shadow of its older cousin, to which it will ultimately and inevitably be compared.
It tries, it wears the same colors, has a similar feel, but yet something's missing.
The Pacific just doesn't have any "coherence" for lack of a better word. I think instead of trying to tell three different stories by combining them into one, they should have just picked one and ran with it full bore. I'd have chosen Sledge's tale, as it likely would have had the most impact.
Basilone's story? I'm not even sure what the purpose of dragging this along was for to be quite honest. It felt like an attempt to emulate Eastwood's Flags of our Fathers to be honest. In the end I didn't get anything out of that except one guy who really didn't feel like a hero wanting to do his duty and wound up dying. By itself that wouldn't be so bad, but the final scenes almost made it seem like he was buying into his own hype. "The indestructible Johnny Basilone!" Or something.
Leckie? While compelling at first, they just kind of dropped him on the floor, which was a shame. It would have been good to follow him through until the end, to see how he coped with the rest of his situation.
But Sledge's story could have been made into 10 episodes by itself, and probably would have been a better representation of what most guys would have gone through. The young naive kid turned into a near-soulless battle-hardened Marine after all he's seen and done, yet still managing to find that last shred of humanity and return from the brink.... But the tangling up of everything just didn't pull it off.
Where Band of Brothers succeeded and The Pacific failed was in this cohesion. Brothers was about "the unit," and how the men in Easy company became that "Band of Brothers." Each episode brought them closer together, even if they (and we) didn't realize it. In the end, we felt what they must have been feeling. Here? I'm not feeling the pain for Basilone, no sadness for Leckie, maybe a little sympathy for Sledge, but not enough.
Another part of what gave Band of Brothers its realism was the interviews with the *actual people* that were portrayed. You could see and hear the emotion in those brief interview segments, and then project that onto the characters. I didn't get that here. Forget that it was impossible. Second hand accounts just aren't the same. Sure they brought in a few of the second string character's real-life counterparts, but I don't think it had quite the same impact.
And then lets talk about the production. Cliched? Sure, I suppose some of that is unavoidable. But nearing the end of the island campaigns the battlefields just took on a quality switching back and forth from surreal to near comical. Some moments were downright twisted (tossing rocks into a rain-filled skull), while others (see Basilone's end) looked and felt like something out of a Sgt. York comic book. Other bits felt like "ooh, I heard that happened once, lets put that in" moments. They're too many to try to list here.
That's not to say the series didn't have its moments. Sledge cradling the injured civilian who lay dying, being talked out of pulling the fillings from the corpse, Basilone's apparent conflict between humility and hero, Leckie's trying to make sense of any of it....
... unfortunately that's what we're left to do. Try and make sense out of it. Was that the point? I don't know. As a means to an end (that being the surrender of the Empire) it *did* make sense. All of the inhumanity and death and insanity, was it worth it? Unfortunately, it probably was. And it wasn't. If that makes any sense. See, maybe that was the point.
The final episode, however, was a matter of too little too late. That was a pretty powerful hour. Once again, the Basilone story didn't amount to much, but lets compare Leckie's and Sledge's return. On the one hand, Leckie manages to return and seems to slip right back into a "normal" life without too much trouble. A bit of adjustment, but he seems to embrace his new lease on life with a newfound gusto.
Sledge on the other hand.... Returns to a world he doesn't know anymore, and doesn't know what to do. Just the mere act of walking through the woods with a weapon on a hunting trip is enough to send him into flashback hell. How many guys returned like Leckie and how many like Sledge?
I'm just sad that it took nine years (has it been that long?) to get a Pacific companion to Band of Brothers, and it turns out to fall well short of the mark. Over those nine years a significant percentage of the guys this should have honored were lost to peaceful old age. So all we can do is say thanks in retrospect. Which that final episode managed to do in its final moments.
I have to succumb and only drop a 7/10 for The Pacific. Most of that is for the tale of Eugene Sledge, and a bit for the tale of Robert Leckie. I could have gone lower but I'm giving a few points for effort also.
I'm torn on whether or not I'll pick this up when the discs hit the shelves... I might just as a matter of course, to see if I missed anything important the first time around.
The Pacific [Blu-ray]
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The Pacific is an epic 10-part miniseries that delivers a realistic portrait of WWII's Pacific Theatre as seen through the intertwined odysseys of three U.S. Marines - Robert Leckie, John Basilone and Eugene Sledge...
DVD InformationBinding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Brand: HBO HOME VIDEO
Manufacturer: HBO Studios
Original Release Date:
- Joseph Mazzello
- James Badge Dale
- Jon Seda
- Condition: New
- Format: Blu-ray
- Color; Box set; Widescreen; DTS Surround Sound; Subtitled
744 of 805 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding! The Pacific is rare film making,
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This review is from: The Pacific (DVD)****Spoiler Alert*****
This program follows 3 Marine heroes, their comrades and their sacrifice against a fearless enemy. You will feel every emotion as you watch this epic series. There are several scenes that will never leave your mind. This is an accurate depiction of combat in the Pacific theatre. Its very inhumane at times and not always easy to watch. Having said that-its something everyone should see, regardless of your interest in World War 2. The level of detail and battle sequences are amazing. The amphibious landings and the hell thats thrown at these guys is unthinkable. The fact that the Pacific war isn't covered enough, makes this educational for some and intriguing to everyone. Thanks to Clint Eastwoods great movies(Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags Of Our Fathers) and Speilberg/Hanks -The Pacific, we are starting to get some great coverage in this area. Of more importance, the men who gave so much are getting the recognition they deserve.
I have read... Read more
328 of 371 people found the following review helpful
It's not Better!,
This review is from: The Pacific [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)First let me say that HBO, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Hanks deserve a standing ovation for making this epic piece of history. I just finished watching the last episode. Once I saw the first episode, I was mesmerized for the next 9 weeks! I scheduled everything on Sunday around watching "The Pacific".
Outstanding acting, incredible cinematography, great music score, realism that is scary! I'm running out of superlatives to use! It's not better, than BOB! It's just as good and just as heart warming, and gut wrenching as BOB. Both of these historical mini-series deserve equal credit. Don't let some of the reviews here influence your judgement not to watch it. Yes there are those that feel strongly about one or another, but I don't believe that was anyone's goal in making the Pacific. I believe, especially Tom Hanks, just has this compelling, passionate desire to put both theaters of WWII in the minds of both, those that served and those of us who have not. The mellow drama movies of... Read more
74 of 84 people found the following review helpful
At Last, the Marines are Recognized,
This review is from: The Pacific (DVD)Any work, be it a poem, a book, a movie, or a TV series, should be evaluated for what it is, not for what it is not. So I suggest forgetting comparisons to "Band of Brothers" and let "The Pacific" stand alone, which it does very well. We Americans are so Eurocentric -- most of us are of European extraction -- that we know little of the Pacific side of WWII which, by the way, had been underway for almost two years before D-Day. The Army thought the Marines were condemned to anonymity in the vast reaches of the Pacific. Instead, from Guadalcanal to Okinawa, the Marines found eternal glory. They conducted one of the longest and most successful campaigns in all military history. They were the only branch of the U.S. military with the doctrine and the equipment to show up on an enemy beach, knock down the door, and take real estate away from the enemy. We know about the eight-day Battle of the Bulge because books and movies have been done on that topic. This series shows us the six-month... Read more
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Band of Brothers / The Pacific (Special Edition Gift Set) [Blu-ray]
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Summary: It tries, it wears the same colors, has a similar feel, but yet something's missing.