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The Pacific - a worthy follow-up to Band of Brothers
The Pacific (DVD)
Member Name: BRoyJenkins
The Pacific (DVD)
Advantages: Powerful scenes of combat, compelling story, good acting
Disadvantages: Ventures perhaps too often into melodrama
The Pacific, a tale of 3 men's journey through the Pacific campaign in World War 2, was always going to be compared to Band of Brothers (both were produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, and are very, very similar in style, tone and story). This is an unfair comparison, for while The Pacific doesn't quite match up to Band of Brothers in quality, it comes very close. What's more, it even has a few of its own opinions and ideas, rather than re-hashing what BoB did before it.
And while The Pacific takes an unwise step back from BoB's realism by at times making its story so melodramatic (the acting is excellent, but the occasionally corny dialogue is not), you cannot fault the sheer scale of the series, nor its raw depiction of combat. For a perfect example, see the half an hour-long Pelelieu beach landing dwarf what Spielberg did previously in the opening few minutes of Saving Private Ryan.
Our idea of tropical combat doesn't quite match the reality presented in The Pacific. Rain, mud and blood colour the screen throughout the series, our vision filled by terrifying imagery of war at its most vicious and desperate. The Pacific is not for the sensitive; with all the bullet-ridden, exploding, mangled bodies in sight, the series often comes closer to a horror film than a war drama.
The Pacific's excellent performances also lift the series out of its sometimes soap drama-esqe traipsing. Joseph Mazzello, James Badge Dale and Jon Seda are a powerful triple threat as the central characters and our eyes and ears within the drama. Mazzello's descent from an innocent into a horror-stricken war veteran is mesmerising, and takes us on perhaps the most interesting character arc of the miniseries. Jon Seda, while largely underused, still has an episode all to himself to shine in an impressive build-up to and execution of the battle of Iwo Jima, while James Badge Dale is probably the most impressive actor in the series. Though that's challenged by supporting player Rami Malek, as a cynical and damaged product of war, in a real attention-grabbing turn.
Although The Pacific may not be quite on the same level as Band of Brothers - then again, not many TV series can claim to be - it's still an epic, ten hour experience that is both a magnificent technical achievement and a compelling, horrifying tale of war.
Summary: A worthy follow-up to BoB
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