The Pacific follows the lives of a U.S Marine Corps squad during the campaign within the Pacific against the Japanese Empire during WW2. Made by the creators of Band of Brothers, it follows a similar line of thought to outline the hardships of the common man during war. The Pacific is in parts a fast paced war series that can be enjoyed by action lovers whilst containing a more sensitive side when projecting the relationships (brotherhood) of Marines on the battlefield. Where The Pacific takes a new direction from its "older brother" is in its depiction of the lives of soldiers who were picked to return home to increase the sales of war bonds. In doing this it also depicts the life cycle of returned soldiers from initial joy to the eventual feeling of regret and to a certain extent shame felt by soldiers wanting to return to the war in service of either their comrades or nation. Written by
I couldn't tell you how many times I have watched Band of Brothers. I think it is the best production ever made. However, I resisted watching The Pacific. My father had five years active duty in the Marine Corps when I was born, and remained on active duty until I was 30 years old. I was ten when he left for Viet Nam, the first time, and in high school the next. I had friends whose fathers were seriously wounded, or killed, there. I have always felt like Marines are family, and any depiction of them being killed has always been hard to see. However, I finally decided to "man-up" and watch it, on Veteran's Day this year.
I think BoB was a dream come true for the producers. They had ironclad characters to follow all the way through, and many of the men were still alive and took part in it. The story of Easy company had been put into book form, brilliantly. They didn't have that with The Pacific. The closest they could come was to base it all around three separate men; Robert Leckie,Eugene Sledge and John Basilone. The three men's paths crossed, some,but they did not belong to the same units or know each other, although Leckie and Sledge both knew Basilone's reputation.
As brutal and difficult as the war in Europe was, the Pacific war against the Japanese was almost incomprehensible. Except for their time in Australia, following Guadalcanal, they were fighting the most brutal fights in history, while in the most punishing places on earth.It is a wonder that any of them were ever able to return to civilization and dull the memories of those horrors enough to lead a more or less normal life.
Because of the brutality of both the enemy and the conditions they had to live and fight under, there isn't much in the way of light-heartedness. The Pacific is not as enjoyable as BoB. Anyone seeing it for the first time should not expect to be entertained. It is a bit more difficult to get into. I found it helpful to watch the first episode twice before going on. A little patience in getting to know the primary characters payed off. I also think being able to watch it all over the course of a few days, like I did, was much better than watching it as it was first presented, one episode each week for ten weeks.
There were some excellent performances in The Pacific. Someone else singled out Ravi Malek's portrayal of Merriel "Snafu" Sheldon as award worthy and I agree 100%! I loved William Sadler as LtCol. Lewis "Chesty" Puller, and I was also very impressed with Tom Budge as PFC Ronnie Gibson.
The three primary characters are portrayed worthily. I didn't think Joe Mazzello as Sledge developed his character as well as the other two. However, I ended up with only nine episodes on my DVR. The one I am missing is episode five, which I suspect is centered on Sledge, so perhaps the character will seem better developed to me after I see it. Jon Seda gave a fine performance as John Basilone, which was definitely the roll of a lifetime! I think my favorite of the three was James Badge Dale, as Bob Leckie.
I wasn't as depressed by seeing a portrayal of so many Marines being killed and wounded as I expected. That was partly because not many of them really looked like Marines to me. I have always said that you can put an actor in the Marine Corps uniform but you usually can't make him look like a Marine. There were a few, though, who were totally believable including Jon Seda. Others have commented on the length of the men's hair as being distracting and/or inaccurate. By my first memories, in the mid-late 50s, Marines were wearing the crew-cuts and flat-tops that they have worn ever since. However, I have pictures of my dad in uniform, from a decade earlier, with longer hair, so I think the producers knew what they were doing there.
Although I agree with most posters here, that The Pacific is not as good as BoB, it is still well-done and definitely worth seeing. I think watching it with an open mind, and avoiding comparisons, it is a good way to approach it.
One last comment I have is that I wonder why one young Marine, who was killed on Iwo Jima at age 17, was singled out in the tributes at the end. I assume they meant that to symbolize the thousands of young men who were killed, and it was very effective, IMO. But I would be interested to know why they chose the one they did; if perhaps someone involved in the production was a relative of the young man. I won't say his name for those who might not have seen it yet, but I will always remember it.
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