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The Pacific Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman
The Pacific Marines climb down from their ship into DUKW boats. The boats head toward the coast of Guadalcanal. The audience has watched this scene in Saving Private Ryan. We're as nervous as the young Marines. The boats land, but nothing happens. From the start, The Pacific is different from its European counterpart on HBO, Band of Brothers.

There is no shortage of action, but The Pacific focuses on the emotional toll of war than Band of Brothers. Though not as cerebral, it is similar to The Thin Red Line in this respect. I had trouble getting into the series at first, because the transition from stateside to the theater of war happens quickly. Also, the harrowing Battle of the Tenaru - the audience's first real combat - is fought at night. It was tough to see what was happening and get a sense of what each character was like in battle. Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale) and John Basilone (Jon Seda) fight at Guadalcanal. Basilone famously receives the Medal of Honor, and is sent back to America to raise money for the war effort. In America Eugene Sledge (Joseph Mazzello) pines for war, but is denied because of a medical condition. Next, Leckie goes to Cape Gloucester, but is stricken with a demoralizing illness. There the Marines deal with the discomfort caused by constant rain. Clothes and living conditions are completely soaked. Leckie recovers and, along with Sledge, lands at Peleliu where the Marines fight a long, vicious battle for an airfield. Along with the ever present heat, the Marines lack adequate water supplies as they push into the island. Leckie is injured in the battle and can no longer fight. Revered as an almost mythical hero by his fellow Marines, Basilone returns to the Pacific. Instead of staying stateside as a celebrity, he is killed at Iwo Jima. Sledge lands with the 1st Marine Division in Okinawa. Like Iwo Jima, this island is devoid of vegetation from bombing and fighting. It is a picture of hell on Earth. The Japanese refuse to surrender, booby trapping everything from their shelters to natives Okinawans. Even the toughest Marines break down.

If you give a brief description of what the Marines were forced to deal with, you'll see that it's similar to what the Army had to deal with in Band of Brothers - weather, health, psychological issues, a fierce enemy. I believe it was Bastogne where Americans had to deal with the cold of winter in Europe. I remember Guarnere (Frank John Hughes) coming down with an illness similar to Leckie's. "Buck" Compton (Neal McDonough) loses it near the end. Doc Roe (Shane Taylor) must deal with the trauma of watching men die. And the Germans are no slouches. But everything seems worse in The Pacific. The saying goes, you can always add more layers for cold. The way the men look on those islands, it never looks like they can escape the heat. The psychological issues sting more. There seems to less camaraderie amongst the men in The Pacific, though I'm sure that's not what the filmmakers meant. They seem more beaten down by the elements, and worn down by an enemy that doesn't share a common heritage. The Germans play by the same rules as the Americans. For instance, they'll surrender in an orderly fashion. The Japanese live by a different code. Most of the time they fight to the death. If they do surrender they might just try to kill an American who has let his guard down. The change in Eugene Sledge, a young idealistic volunteer at first, is powerful. By the time he returns home the horrors of war have made him distant.
1 hour
This product was released around March 2010 by HBO
I consumed this around February 2011
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Posted by: Jeff Egnaczyk at: 7/14/2011 10:15:32 PM

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