Customer Reviews: The Pacific Season 1
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on April 18, 2010
****Spoiler Alert*****

This program follows 3 Marine heroes, their comrades and their sacrifice against a fearless enemy. You will feel every emotion as you watch this epic series. There are several scenes that will never leave your mind. This is an accurate depiction of combat in the Pacific theatre. Its very inhumane at times and not always easy to watch. Having said that-its something everyone should see, regardless of your interest in World War 2. The level of detail and battle sequences are amazing. The amphibious landings and the hell thats thrown at these guys is unthinkable. The fact that the Pacific war isn't covered enough, makes this educational for some and intriguing to everyone. Thanks to Clint Eastwoods great movies(Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags Of Our Fathers) and Speilberg/Hanks -The Pacific, we are starting to get some great coverage in this area. Of more importance, the men who gave so much are getting the recognition they deserve.

I have read some of the other reviews here and I can't understand the anti- reviews. This is not Band Of Brothers Part 2, its not trying to be that series. This series is much more personal. We get to see how bad the fighting was and how it changes these men. This series focuses on 3 marines, instead of a platoon of guys and their leaders. Band Of Brothers is awesome, everyone knows that. BOB was also 8 years ago and its had its day in the sun. We all have it on dvd and will enjoy it the rest of our lives. I think some people have let the past 8 years of BOB marinate in their minds. Instead of coming into this series with an open mind, people were ready to pick it apart, because they love BOB so much. I think once this set comes out on blu ray and you can spend a weekend enjoying what a great series it is, you will see that it stands on its own. I heard one guy after the first episode say " its slow, I hope it will pick up" . The first episode of BOB was boot camp and getting ready for D-day- that was a slow episode, but very enjoyable- just like this episode one. But in this series the marines are already on Guadalcanal and the action has begun in earnest.Makes no sense.

One of many aspects I enjoy about The Pacific is the time the soldiers spend away from the battlefield. I think they do a great job showing whats on these guys minds, what they have to fight for and how their fate on the battlefield effects so many. Theres an episode where they are stationed in Australia and you can see how some Aussies can't wait for them to leave. While others fall in love with the soldiers or welcome them into their lives. Its a dynamic of war that is easier to cover in a series this long.

The Marines weren't just fighting a fearless, well trained enemy- they were fighting the jungle as well. Which is also well covered in the series. I can't imagine living in these conditions, let alone fighting the Japanese. The diseases and lack of proper supplies killed thousands of soldiers(on both sides), who didn't have the chance to decide their fate on the field.

The acting is well done by the 3 main performers portraying Basilone, Leckie and Sledge. The chemistry between Jon Seda(Basilone) and Annie Parrise(Lena) is hard to find. I thought the episode where they meet, fall in love , marry and seperate because of Basilone's Iwo Jima mission was one of the best in the series. It seemed like every episode was better than the previous. It kept getting better. There are many episodes and moments that make this great. The 3 episodes that encompass the Pelieu battle are intense, brutal and realistic for battle. I feel like the brutality and ruthless battle of the Pacific war is captured very well here. This warfare is much different from the European theatre. The Japanese won't surrender when the odds look grim like the Germans did countless times. It gives the viewer an idea of how savage the fighting in the Pacific would have been. There is a scene where the Marines are trying to cross an airfield- but the Japanese are waiting and ready. The following moments are above what we have seen in Saving Private Ryan for graphic war violence. For a good while its unrelenting. Another moment that will stay with you is when Sledge is on Okinawa- the last battle. He enters a small shelter to find a crying baby. When he looks around he finds a woman close to death. She wants him to kill her to end her pain, even putting his gun to her head. But he is done killing. Its a powerful moment. There are good hearted moments to find too. The episode where the Marines are in Australia is great. And the final episode finds the soldiers trying to make a life for themselves in post war America. Several find love and begin fresh. Leckie(James Dale)who earler in Australia lost love, finds love with the woman he had been writing too throughout the war. Although he never sends the letters- figuring he wouldn't survive the war! The people who made the Island sets should be given praise too. The battlefields are very realistic.

The special features are definatley worth your time. The first section covers several marines with profiles lasting around 10 minutes per marine. Some of the interviews are from several years ago, when they were still alive. Its priceless archival footage of our countries heroes. There is a making of "The Pacific" feature that covers all the research that went into making th sets and recreating the battles. Extremely impressive! This is top shelf film making here. The final section covers the reasons for the savagery of both sides in this war. As well as helping some to understand the conflicts of cultures.

I would recommend this series to anyone who has an interest in World War 2, film making, great story telling and those who like to feel the spectrum of emotions when watching something this good.
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on May 17, 2010
First let me say that HBO, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Hanks deserve a standing ovation for making this epic piece of history. I just finished watching the last episode. Once I saw the first episode, I was mesmerized for the next 9 weeks! I scheduled everything on Sunday around watching "The Pacific".
Outstanding acting, incredible cinematography, great music score, realism that is scary! I'm running out of superlatives to use! It's not better, than BOB! It's just as good and just as heart warming, and gut wrenching as BOB. Both of these historical mini-series deserve equal credit. Don't let some of the reviews here influence your judgement not to watch it. Yes there are those that feel strongly about one or another, but I don't believe that was anyone's goal in making the Pacific. I believe, especially Tom Hanks, just has this compelling, passionate desire to put both theaters of WWII in the minds of both, those that served and those of us who have not. The mellow drama movies of post WWII lead many of us who did not serve, to think about WWII as a hero's time in history. I would never discount any heroics which there are plenty to be seen, It's just that both of these series, Band of Brothers, and The pacific, set the stage for us to all share in the reality of war. Some reviewers here have commented on how there feelings were evoked while watching, In a few words, I felt like I was there each week, and each week after watching an episode, I would look at there reality and think about my past week, good or bad and feel proud to be an American Citizen!

I'm an aging baby boomer, 64, and my Father, who is 88, and still with us, was a ambulance driver on the front lines in Germany, France, and a few other countries. My father also suffered from some of the mental duress from his time served. With this Memorial Day Holiday upon us very soon, I would like to say a very sincere, Thank You, to ALL who have served in ALL the wars that have helped make the United States of America a country I'm still proud of.

Mr. Spielberg, and Mr. Hanks, Please do what ever you can to bring more of these fine mini-series covering the Korean War, the Viet-Nam War, and both Iraq, and Afghanistan Wars. They deserve your serious passion, commitment, and wonderful talents! My Mother was an English WWar II Bride, so let's just say Hip, Hip, Hooray!

I've already ordered my Blue-Ray release of "The Pacific"

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on May 18, 2010
Any work, be it a poem, a book, a movie, or a TV series, should be evaluated for what it is, not for what it is not. So I suggest forgetting comparisons to "Band of Brothers" and let "The Pacific" stand alone, which it does very well. We Americans are so Eurocentric -- most of us are of European extraction -- that we know little of the Pacific side of WWII which, by the way, had been underway for almost two years before D-Day. The Army thought the Marines were condemned to anonymity in the vast reaches of the Pacific. Instead, from Guadalcanal to Okinawa, the Marines found eternal glory. They conducted one of the longest and most successful campaigns in all military history. They were the only branch of the U.S. military with the doctrine and the equipment to show up on an enemy beach, knock down the door, and take real estate away from the enemy. We know about the eight-day Battle of the Bulge because books and movies have been done on that topic. This series shows us the six-month campaign for Guadalcanal when the Marines were abandoned on a hostile shore by the US Navy; they had no George Patton to bail them out, all they had was each other. The series shows us how the Marines did one "forcible entry" after another as they marched toward the setting sun that was Japan. We see how inconsequential little postage stamp islands were sanctified by the blood of U.S. Marines. "The Pacific" shows us the Marine Corps heritage of valor that goes all the way back to Belleau Wood. Every American should thank God for the United States Marine Corps. This series shows us why. So, to Spielberg/Hanks, I say Bravo Zulu.
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on October 21, 2010
To start this off, I am 18 years old, so my views may differ from some of the other reviewers out there. With that being said, I love anything that has to do with World War 2. I first saw Band of Brothers a few months ago, and I loved it. It had great special effects, and it just made you feel like you were there with the soldiers, suffering, and fighting for your lives.

When The Pacific came out, I just had to get my hands on it. I don't know why a lot of you are saying that it is better than Band of Brothers because in my opinion, I thoroughly enjoyed The Pacific more. It seemed like it had more character development which got you really attached to the characters and made it devastating when you had to see one of them die. Not only that, but having to see how they had changed when they got back. In the case of Eugene Sledge, at the beginning of the series he is full of life and just wants to go to war. At the end of the series he is completely changed, and that just broke my heart how he no longer seemed to care about much.

One other thing that is just amazing about this series is that it doesn't just concentrate on the war parts (the parts that I was originally watching for), but it also shows the characters relationships outside of the Marines. A good example of this was Robert Leckie who found happiness in Australia only to have it taken away.

There is no shortage of bravery and loyalty in this series either. John Basilone who received the Medal of Honor was then sent home to help sell war bonds. He first liked the attention, but soon he no longer liked everyone knowing him, and realized he may have made a mistake leaving his comrades during the war.

So if it were up to me, I would have every high school showing this to their students. Its a very emotional and heart touching series that shows just how cruel war is. And believe it or not, it even got me to further research the characters involved in the story and find more information on all of this. Now imagine that, a series that can get an 18 year old to study American History. Good job Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
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on May 24, 2010
I enjoyed bits and pieces of this mini-series and from my readings of E.B. Sledge and historians of the Pacific battles I thought it accurately portrayed the combat experiences of the Marines in that theater. I found the brief strategic overviews narrarated by Hanks before each episode to be helpful, and I thought the combat scenes and the portrayal of the Marines' misery was well done, but on the whole I found the mini-series unsettling in a number of ways and I don't think I'd watch it again.

Most importantly, I feel the format of the series was disconnected. In attempting to weave together the stories of three Marines who weren't necessarily fighting shoulder-to-shoulder, we get glimpses of each Marine and are then moved on to the next one. The effect this had on me was such that I'd begin to care about one of them but would then be quickly shifted away to the next one. So I found I really didn't care about any of the characters until E.B. Sledge heads off to combat, which is several episodes in. Since I'd read his excellent book I'd already had an interest in seeing his story played out on screen, but when the story moved from Sledge and back to the States for a Basilone episode I found myself a little annoyed. (To be fair the creators were moving through episodes chronologically so by default something like this is bound to happen, but in my opinion it did more to hurt the flow than help it.)

Compounding this I felt a number of the episodes really slowed the tempo of the series down (e.g., the leave in Australia episode, the Leckie convalescing episode, and most of the Basilone falling in love episode). Here again we'd be thrust into one situation (intense combat) then rapidly shifted to an entirely different one (frolicking with Australian women), or vice versa. I understand that the creators wanted to portray the experiences of these specific men, but just as I started to really feel cohesion amongst the fighting men in the jungles or beaches, we'd be thrown back into these individualized stories, which, again, I had trouble caring about. Additionally, I think this format led to stilted dialogue since the characters themselves could never really find their groove within the series. I often found myself tuning out of conversations because I just wasn't invested.

If one were to insist on comparing this series with 'Band of Brothers' I would say that 'The Pacific' lacked the cohesion of that series - mainly for the reason that in 'Band of Brothers' we followed one unit from the beginning of their war to the end of their war, which was geographically confined to a relatively small Europe; whereas in 'The Pacific' we more followed individual men across locations which were often separated by thousands of miles of ocean. This geographic separation coupled with the constantly shifting protagonists/backdrops really threw me for a loop.

Finally, I am no wilting flower but parts of the series were about as grim as war movies get. This is by no means a knock on the series - as I believe these scenes were accurately portrayed as the men wrote them - but it added to my general sense of discomfort. I have only sympathy for the men who were asked to fight in those horrendous conditions, and to see this fighting portrayed on screen was powerful indeed. I'm glad the creators undertook this effort to honor these men, and I'm glad I watched the series once to gain an appreciation of the veterans who fought in the Pacific; but mostly because of the cohesion issues mentioned above I'm not sure I'd want to view the series again.
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on June 18, 2014
I would give Band of Brothers 5 stars. The Pacific however, comes up short in my mind. The series bounces around alot between an individual character or character(s), and was hard for me to follow at times. I think it captures the physical, mental, and emotional effects of war well and does well with character development. However, it was very slow at times. It is incredibly sex-saturated, which is no major surprise for HBO, but it just seems to be unnecessary and unrelated to much of anything. There is no doubt that the religious faith of many would be tested and some would abandon their faith, you can certainly understand why when you catch a small glimpse of what many experienced in the war. But of course the atheist is portrayed as the enlightened person who is showing the happy-go-lucky Christian the way out of Plato's cave. This seems to be an all too popular portrayal, which I don't think is warranted here. Perhaps I did not like it simply because the European campaign seems to get all the hype, and I found that more interesting because of the setting. I also preffered the cast on Band of Brothers. It was certainly eye-opening to say the least, though I don't know if I would recommend it to anyone.
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on October 24, 2009
Tom Hanks came to Cleveland earlier this month and gave a presentation on non-fiction in film, and it included a sneak peek of a scene from "The Pacific." He showed an amazing clip from the upcoming HBO miniseries, and it was truly stunning. People say the opening scene in "Saving Private Ryan" is unforgetable, which is true, but I can definitively say that the scene we saw from "The Pacific" has all that drama and perhaps more. My heart was pounding watching the young men take the beach. I instantly cared about these Marines, there was a true connection to them -- the acting is superb. I didn't think it possible that "Band of Brothers" could be topped, but I'm telling you, if the scene we saw is any indication, "The Pacific" is going to go gangbusters. Buy stock in HBO, and line up the Emmys now.
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on November 11, 2010
Having read both "Helmet for my Pillow", and "With the Old Breed", I have been looking forward to "The Pacific" for a long time. I wanted very much to like this miniseries, but it did not quite deliver. And to preface this review, I want to say that contrary to some, I believe that comparisons of "The Pacific" to "Band of Brothers" are not only inevitable, but valid. One is a companion to the other, made by the same people, about the same war.

My main complaint about "The Pacific" is the lack of depth of both the story and the characters. This, in comparison to "Band of Brothers" in which both characters and story had great depth. "The Pacific" attempts to weave three different stories into one (this also affects the cohesiveness of the story). Although I had no problem separating the three main characters, many of the others just blend together, one not much different than the other ("Snafu" being the one exception). I think the series would have been better served if the John Basilone story had been dropped, and that time spent giving more depth to the stories of Eugene Sledge and Robert Leckie.

Another problem for me is that two episodes are given to stories surrounding the relationship with the women that two of the characters (Leckie and Basilone) are involved with. Many war stories include love stories, and sometimes it works. In this series I don't think that it did.

And finally, if you are looking for acting performances of the quality given by Damien Lewis, Ron Livingston, and others in "Band of Brothers", I think you will be disappointed. The characters in "Band of Brothers" were natural and believable in their roles. In my opinion, this is not always the case in "The Pacific".

On the plus side, most of the combat sequences are incredible. They were done as well as any in "Band of Brothers". Also, the reproduction of the terrain that the battles were fought on is excellent. Kudos for both those things. Some of the small detail is very impressive. There are things that only veterans of the period, or experts, would pick up on. I saw that some characters were wearing I.D. bracelets on their wrists like the ones unique to the Marines of that period. The only way I know this is because my father's lies in a box in my desk drawer. How many others will notice? Detail like that, must be applauded, and there was a lot of that in "The Pacific".

Bottom line for me was that there was a certain lack of depth and cohesiveness in both the story, and the characters. This was a disappointment. Although you might find buying the DVDs worthwhile for the battle scenes alone, my advice would be to read "Helmet for my Pillow" and "With the Old Breed" to really get the stories in depth.
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The superb HBO Miniseries "The Pacific" is another remarkable collaborative production effort by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. It follows the US Marine Corps through the horrific World War II Pacific battles of Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Short interludes in Melbourne, Australia; Paris Island; and some stateside hometowns provide a jarring counterpoint to the battle scenes.

Comparisons with "Band of Brothers" are perhaps inevitable. "Band of Brothers" had the advantage of following a single unit through the war, and was derived primarily from Stephen Ambrose's superb book of the same name. The narrative thread of "The Pacific" is the experience of three individual Marines whose lives are reasonably well documented. However, their stories overlap minimally, and the ensemble feel and continuity of "Band of Brothers" is lacking. Perhaps in compensation, "The Pacific" is a gritty, violent, and painfully graphic presentation of what it was like to be a Marine in the Pacific war.

The three Marines featured in the miniseries are meant to be broadly representative of the Corps. John Basilone is a pre-war Marine who wins the Medal of Honor at Guadalcanal, and is sent home to sell war bonds. He will fight to return to duty, first as a trainer of new Marines, then as a leader of troops at Iwo Jima. Robert Leckie joined up after Pearl Harbor and survived the fighting on Guadalcanal before being sent home for wounds suffered at Peleliu. Eugene Sledge joined up a little later, held out by a medical condition, and would serve "With the Old Breed" at Peleliu and Okinawa, as his autobiography puts it. He carries the narrative to the end of the war, in the mud and carnage of an Okinawan battlefield populated by large numbers of civilians as well as combatants. A final episode captures the efforts of the survivors to reintegrate back into civilian life.

Each episode of "The Pacific" opens with a few remarks by surviving veterans and a voice-over narrative by Tom Hanks that connects the episodes. Every effort appears to have been made to show authentic uniforms, weapons, and equipment. The individual episodes run less than an hour, but they pack an emotional punch that should be plenty for all but the most hardened viewers. "The Pacific" is highly recommended to those viewers who found "Band of Brothers" to be a worthwhile experience.
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on October 30, 2010
I've read two of the books on which this screenplay was based - Sledge's "With the Old Breed" and Leckie's "Helmet for a Pillow." Doing justice to these accounts would be tough, but the series was a worthwhile effort. Four stars is a fair rating in my opinion.

When the series was being televised, I heard some complaining, bordering on whining in one case, that the series was "no Band of Brothers," i.e. boring. I appreciated The Pacific's lack of treacly sentiment- something that came through in Band of Brothers- my opinion of course. In the interest of disclosure, some of my compatriots are easily bored, and the non-battle sequences were clearly equivalent to walking on hot coals for them- some of these guys can't watch a movie without yakking on their Smartphones several times throughout. If you have attention deficit, maybe steer clear of trying to watch this.

Thanks to the producers and directorial staff for trying to make a fair account of how the Marines lived, loved, wondered about their futures, and fought a vicious enemy in often appalling conditions. I won't minimize the sacrifice of these men by complaining that depictions of their lives don't have enough action. I thank my lucky stars that I never had to go through anything like it.
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