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The Pacific [Blu-ray]
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Pacific, The (BD)
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have long since shown that they can spin a good World War II yarn. But while their previous collaborations (Saving Private Ryan, which they starred in and directed, respectively, and Band of Brothers, for which they were part of the producing team) were set in Europe, The Pacific is their first look at the conflict with the Japanese on the other side of the world--and the two executive producers, along with an outstanding cast, an able crew, and a slew of top-notch writers and directors, have done a superb job. In making a 10-episode HBO miniseries (on five discs, with a sixth containing bonus material) that combines real events and participants with other dramatic elements newly created for the project, the filmmakers took a personal, experiential approach, focusing in particular on three marines, all of them real individuals: Robert Leckie (played by James Badge Dale), an aspiring writer who sees his first action at Guadalcanal, falls in love while on leave in Australia, and later suffers serious war wounds; John Balisone (Jon Seda), who performs heroically at Guadalcanal, earns a Medal of Honor, and is then sent home to help sell war bonds, only to return to action at Iwo Jima; and Eugene Sledge (Joseph Mazzello), who enlists later than the others, but not too late to witness and take part in some unimaginable horrors (books written by Sledge and Leckie about their experiences were used as source material for the miniseries). Of course, no one who's never been in combat can understand what it's really like, but through these three, and other men as well, we get some idea of the debilitating effects of war, both physical and psychological, and how those who managed to survive it might cope. As Leckie would write, "There are things men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. It is one thing to reconcile these things with God, but another to square them with yourself."
A number of episodes depict the characters at home, on leave, or otherwise away from the field of battle, but the greatest impact comes from the extraordinarily powerful fighting scenes in which the marines--exhausted, half-starving, riddled with malaria, and enduring the appalling conditions (from extreme heat to relentless, torrential downpours) of an impenetrable, unforgiving jungle--battle an implacable, fanatical foe who would much rather die than surrender or be taken prisoner. A sequence in Part Five, when we're with Sledge as he lands at Peleliu for his first real action, is especially gripping; battles at night and in the rain at Cape Gloucester in Part Four, on Iwo Jima in Part Eight, and on Okinawa in Part Nine are also wrenching, but really, all the fighting sequences manage to convey the sheer, visceral terror the men experienced. To the filmmakers' credit, a number of real WWII veterans are on hand to share their memories, both in a 49-minute featurette on disc 6 and during the short introductions to each episode narrated by Hanks. Other extras include a 22-minute "making of" piece and a brief but interesting description of the cultural differences that made the conflict between the Japanese and the Americans even more brutal than it might have been. Kudos also go to the packaging and design of the boxed set; the menus are easily navigable, offering a synopsis of each episode. --Sam Graham
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Top Customer Reviews
Acting is uniformly good throughout and, as is to be expected from Spielberg, the production values are high.
There are a few slow moments but these are easily overshadowed by the battle sequences.
If you enjoy this series, read the books by E. B. Sledge and Robert Leckie from which it is based. They retell in vivid detail the true horror of this war in all its inhumanity and filth in a way that motion pictures cannot quite reach.
Certainly the war was tough on these Marines and that was definitely apparent through the interviews with the surviving soldiers and their families. I'm going to watch it again with the "Enhanced Viewing Experience" where there are picture in picture interviews throughout the episodes that provide context and first hand descriptions of the events presented.
The Amazon price is great ($59.99 CAD as of this writing), but I was able to find it in the mall at HMV for the same price - sans delivery wait time.
In summary: an excellent series, especially if you want to know more about the American Pacific Assault, but very emotionally intense.
In summation, if you liked Band of Brothers, Pacific will disappoint. The DTS 7.1 sound is pretty good though.....
The series itself is the best HBO series out there (well tied with Band of Brothers), and is just as good as Band of Brothers, despite what many people say. This series is more about the three main soldiers than following a different soldier in each episode, as Band of Brothers did. The way the series plays out allows you to grow connections with the characters on screen, something that I found hard to do in Band of Brothers.
I will recommend you buy this from amazon.com, as it is way over-priced here.
Most recent customer reviews
not as great and memorable as band of brothers, but still deserves acknowledgement and props for the cinematography and actingPublished 2 months ago by Bryan
It's not quite as good as Band of Brothers because The Pacific struggles with maintaining focus. Yes, there is tremendous scope, but I found myself asking a few times: "What's... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer