Rated: Mature Audiences
I have never been a huge WWII history buff and for that matter have never spent a lot of time learning about actual battles themselves. I’m pretty comfortable with the reasons the US went to war and the outcomes, but the actual battles were never my thing. When I saw that there was to be a marathon showing of The Pacific on TV over the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend, something told me that this was something I didn’t want to miss – and I am glad that I didn’t.
The Pacific focuses of the US battle in the Pacific Theatre during WWII – with our guides being three individuals in different regiments of the First Marine Division - Eugene Sledge, Robert Leckie, and John Basilone.
One of the things that I really appreciated about this series is that you are exposed to many different aspects of the war – not just the battlefield. The first episode starts out looking at the homefront – with people signing up to go to war and how those left at home are initially affected. The feeling is “just get the job done and come home to us”. You progress through the different battles that these men were caught up in – Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, Okinawa and Iwo Jima. These become more that just a few sentences in a history textbook – you see all of the things that added up to be hardships for these brave men. Not only did they have to worry for their safety, but they had to worry about heat, lack of water/poisoned water and food, extreme rainfall, sicknesses, lack of sufficient supplies and the list goes on and on. All of these things are detailed in the show to give you a more total war feeling. You see the men go to Australia for a break and are able to see some of how these men were treated by foreigner (some were loved and some were hated). Toward the end of the series, you see them come home and what it was like to try and adjust to a “normal” life with their families. They did a great job of giving you the whole picture for these men.
Another aspect that I loved – and urge you not to miss if you are watching this on DVD – is the introductory commentary before each episode. There are interviews with some men who actually lived through these battles and sometimes their families. Usually they are describing something that will be happening in the upcoming episode. This brings the story even more into the real life world because these are not just characters – but true American heroes. Don’t miss these features because they are very helpful to set the context before the episode – especially if you are unfamiliar with the intricacies of this war.
After the end of this drama, there is a “where did they go” segment. There are pictures shown of many of the real-life men who were featured in the series. You find out what happened to them throughout their lives. One thing I enjoyed was seeing their real pictures. They did a phenomenal job casting these people because they looked very much like the real people they were portraying. Many aspects of the show were based on books later written by Sledge and Leckie. You even see them writing in their journals and writing letters during the war that would later become references for their books.
Now, like I said before, I am not an expert in this particular part of history by far, but to me everything looked very realistic. I’m sure there were some anachronisms – there always are – but to a non-buff, this looked great and really had the impact I think they were aiming for. The purpose was to make people aware of something that happened before their time and to really reinforce what these men went through to get us to where we are today – and I think that Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg did a first-rate job of doing just that.
A word of caution to those of you who may want to watch this with you children and family – this is an HBO drama, and as such, you can expect there to be scenes of nudity, sex, and certainly violence. I think these scenes were all handled in a way that made them relevant to the events and were necessary. Just take this into account before watching it with them. I would recommend ages 16+. Also, if you loved Band of Brothers (which I have not watched yet, but plan to next), I caution you to look at this as a separate show and not a sister segment – because I hear they are very, very different.
5 out of 5 stars!
Here are a few trailers for your viewing pleasure: