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Underneath the hype machine there is an enjoyable series
on 15 November 2010
Some may argue it is unfair to compare The Pacific to Band of Brothers, however given it is another WW2 drama miniseries produced by a Spielberg & Hanks dream team in exactly the same format I think they should be contrasted.
Although I am the patient type The Pacific is a very slow starter, this wouldn't matter if the acting was up to the standards of the pyrotechnics and special effects, but it isn't in many places. Of the main characters, Jon Seda who plays John Basilone is the stand-out performance whereas the likes of Robert Leckie (played by James Badge Dale) are unconvincing and some of the romantic scenes with him are cringe worthy. It is true that overall the acting is a far cry from Band of Brothers and I am unsure as to why this is. With the exception of John Basilone, character development is patchy and thus it is difficult to empathise with their story. In addition, I couldn't help but notice the similarity between Basilone's story and that of the characters in Flags of our Flathers i.e. paraded as a war hero and used as a poster-boy to encourage Americans' contribution towards the war economy. But in reality he is left with feelings of guilt as he sits it out cosily while his comrades continue the fight.
The Pacific still is an absorbing and enjoyable experience and admittedly it could never live up to the hype machine surrounding it. The production values are what is expected of a Spielberg behemoth and the battle scenes are highly impressive, although not quite as intense or brutal as Saving Private Ryan or Assembly, to name just two. But after each episode I was expecting the The Pacific to take off, but alas it never actually does. I just can't help but feel it could have been so much more, especially given the $150 million budget and every resource under the sun available to them.
I appreciate The Pacific is a different approach to WW2 drama, focusing more on the events and story rather than the characters, however it feels stuck in second gear for most of the time and only occasionally moves up to third. Just my opinion at the end of the day but I was left rather dissatisfied and unfulfilled.