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HBO's "The Pacific"

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by kerrd5, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    I think that the complaints are partially due to people expecting too much from it, and being spoiled by "Saving Private Ryan" and "Band of Brothers". "The Pacific" jumps around too much, didn't provide much character developlement, and had too much down time between shooting episodes. Also, it seemed to me that the producers made the assumption that viewers knew of all the events surrounding the episodes. For example, the naval battle of Savo Island (aka the Battle of Five Sitting Ducks) that was viewed by several of the Marines on Guadalcanal. This was a very important event to the overall campaign, but just people like us knew what was going on. That battle was just a few second clip, with very little commentary. Because of examples like this and others, it fell short of too many peoples extrodinarily high expectations, and mine as well.

    And from what I have been reading here on this thread, many were questioning why this wasn't shone, or why this this and this was portrayed and not that, and there wasn't enough of this, and why did they have to show that. Some people are never happy. I like "The Pacific", although it could have been better if they stuck to just one book that it was based on, instead of three.

    Just my opinion of course....
     
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  2. Fgrun83

    Fgrun83 Member

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    With one final episode left my overall feeling is i miss the character development, the only one who i can "feel" a connection with overall was Sledge, sure with Basilone you feel how strong he feels about the men he fights with and the cause when he wants to get back on the front lines, but when there is not fighting and its more of behind the lines of the fighting, the show really suffers.

    I do not know much of the pacific at all, the Pelilu 3 episode arc was really fantastic i thought and if the entire series had that type of writing/battle scenes I would have really enjoyed the show.

    I will admit i loved band of brothers, and felt that their series had some things the pacific is missing, primarily its the comradeship between each other. the most you ever get is sledge and snafu?(think thats his nickname) and leckie and the thick eyebrowed fella (dont even remember if his name was ever mentioned in the show, i think he was the one with the nickname runner). But with sledge and snafu its more of a inner conflict of what they should be on the battlefield.
     
  3. larso

    larso Member

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    I've thought about it some more. In fact, last nights double episode here was so intense I lay awake for an hour or two dwelling on it. I think the show should be praised for what it did include, rather than what it didn't. I was amazed they included the scene where SNAFU was tossing rocks into the skull cavity of that dead Japanese. Sledge's move to then take some gold teeth really illustrated the extent to which he was loosing touch with his humanity. The killing of the dog handler was also very sobering and the awfulness of it was conveyed very well. So too the accidental shooting of the Marine following the night infiltration - though it was portrayed a bit differently from the way Sledge and Burgin related it. The charge across the airfield was epic too. Several times, I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat! It was just absorbing....

    PS - Sorry if this stuff was discussed on an earlier page, we're a bit behind down here......
     
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  4. SicklyBug

    SicklyBug Member

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    The term "Doggie" was used in the army as well to refer to themselves. Bill Mauldin uses it quite a bit in his book Up Front.
     
  5. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    I've been thinking about the Snafu character (Rami Malek). Malek did not have much to go on by the descriptions in Sledge's memoir, so, I suppose he had to create a character. The result, seems to me to resemble more the stereotypical Vietnam veteran more than a WWII era Marine (no offense to Vietnam vets, I said "stereotypical"), but his character is consistant and believable. To be honest, there are times I, for one, would love to knock Snafu on his ass! He is always shooting off his big mouth, and his conning the Boot out of his new poncho for Snafu's old poncho with holes, was the root of the mortar ammo getting wet (which Snafu realized despite his dramatic ripping the good poncho off the Marine and placing it over the ammo box). Yet despite his wise-ass antics, there are moments during an attack, where the gut-retching fear is evident on Snafu's face. And also, Snafu comforting Sledge, when Sledge read that his dog had died showed another side of Snafu. I suppose if Malek can draw those emotions out of me, it must be a credit to his acting ability. Still, I would like to see Snafu get knocked on his ass, just once.

    Greg C.
     
  6. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    I guess the reason I am loving "The Pacific" so much...is that it is focusing so much on what we don't know. As I've said before....everyone on here has read the books, knows the battles. It's really refreshing (for me, IMHO) to see the reaction to a dog dying in the midst of such violence. I know what happened on Okinawa. I don't know the mindset of the men. Being that the veterans of the Pacific have reacted so well to this...it must be good. And if it's good enough for those that actually lived it...should we really be picking it apart?
     
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  7. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    I thought from the beginning that it was based on With the Old Breed, and Helmet for my Pillow.

    What third book did I miss, and what two books are you excluding?
     
  8. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Those two books that you listed, and I believe there's another one that covered the information about John Basilone. I remember reading somewhere that the last moments of John Basilone's life was chronicled in a book or books written by some of his men in his unit that saw him go down at Iwo Jima. That and other information was gleened from these sources to provide material in the episodes that John Basilone is featured. When the screenplay was written, the subject matter was based on With the Old Breed, Helmet for My Pillow, and the other books that provided subject matter for John Basilone. I can't remember where I read this now, so I will go back and try to dig it up for you. Bear with me please.
     
  9. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

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    Will bear with you because I'd love to find and read that book about Sgt. Basilone.
     
  10. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    There are two books about John Basilone that work off each other: I'm Staying With My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone. USMC By Jim Proser and Jerry Cutter, and Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone by James Brady.

    Co-author Jerry Cutter is John Basilone's nephew. After the war, his mother Phyllis, Basilone's sister, wrote a serialized story about her brother for a local New Jersey newspaper. The serialization was written in the first person, from John Basilone's perspective, and is embellished with facts she could not possibly have known, such as Basilone's last thoughts before he was killed, for example, and many historical and technical inaccuracies. Proser & Cutter's book is written in this first-person style. Taken for what it is, Proser and Cutter's book is an engaging read.

    Brady's book is written more as an investigative report into the life of John Basilone, and his highly critical of Phyllis and Jerry Cutter's work. Since Basilone is a beloved hero and Medal of Honor recipient, Brady has come under fire for "blasphemy" as it were. Brady had traveled to Basilone's hometown, and interviewed as many people as he could who knew John Basilone. His efforts are noble, but at times his prose comes off as indeed being nit-picky. As with all critiques, Brady brings up some legitimate arguments, and also tends to scrape the bottom of the barrel to make a point. For a rounded experience, both books should be read.

    Greg C.
     
  11. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

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    I think the Pacific thread should have been divided into 2 threads.. "USA Pacific" and "U.K.Pacific" because everytime youguy's in the U.S. discuss the episode shown, and debate the last episode, were still playing catch-up here, which as someone here previously stated I believe! we find out the plot! before we have seen the episode..
     
  12. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Ray, I think that an HBO mini-series covering the CBI would be entertaining and instructional at the same time. In order to sell it to American audiences, you'd have to play up the minor US contributions there by spotlighting the Flying Tigers and Merrill's Marauders to say the least.

    And to re-enforce to what Greg C. pointed out, go online to www.marinesidphillip.com/john_basilone, and also to the website www.marineswwii.com/iwo_jima_books.php and to www.marineswwii.com/john_basilone.


    The third book I mentioned was Red Blood Black Sand - by Chuck Tatum - The Battle of Iwo Jima[/url] to get your search on John Basilone started.
     
  13. bongopete

    bongopete Member

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    From the lack of feedback after the last episode of 'The Pacific', I would say that most are somewhat underwhelmed by the series.

    Does this spell the end of these sorts of programs on HBO?
    Will will see any big budget war movies again in the future?
     
  14. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Sad to say, but your rhetorical question might possibly come to pass. The fact that the series was not a resounding smashing success as BoB was will definitely be a factor in future productions. If you remember the Civil War movies put out in the 90s, "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals" didn't fare so well as expected at the box office. Well, "Gods and Generals" did poor while Gettysburg did ok. As a result of GaG lack luster performance, the third installment ("The Last Full Measure") was cancelled. We might see another 10 part HBO mini-series in a few years, and if that one falls flat, forget it.
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I don't think so, I felt the last episode was a near perfect finish. When all was said and done you had the feeling that the returning veterans still had a war to fight, some physically, some mentally, some both and they would be fighting for years. It also portrayed how the civilian world quickly got back to normal, and quickly forgot. The one group the vets could always rely on, their comrades in arms, had all returned home and gone their seperate ways.
    There have been many comments by viewers on other forums that state they really felt strong emotions connected with the series.
     
  16. Fury 1991

    Fury 1991 New Member

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    That final episode was powerful. I really could relate to Sledge and it was nice to see Leckie get the girl in the end. His family reminded me so much of my own.
     
  17. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    cbiwv wrote:
    Yeah and I like the way Leckie shot the poague Lt. out of the saddle to get a date with Vera.
    Was it Sledge's or Leckie's family that reminded you of your own?
    I really think Sledge's family wanted to help but really couldn't understand how. I felt for his father when he stood and sat outside Eugene's door while Eugene was having his violent nightmares. Wanting to help but not being able to. My oldest son was pretty messed up when first got back from Iraq and I wanted to help so badly but didn't know how. So that scene hit me pretty hard.
    The scene where Snafu got off the train in New Orleans and didn't wake Sledge was poignant. You could tell he wanted to wake Sledge and tell him goodbye but decided against it. Was it because Sledge was sleeping peacefully, probably for the first time in quite a while or was it because he didn't know how to say goodbye? Would telling his comrade goodbye be too much for him emotionally?

    As for the series as a whole I do think the Sledge story line was stronger than the Leckie story line. The first four episodes were good but not outstanding. Starting with five, six and seven they were incredible and I remember after seven-Peleilu Hills I was like, damn! It was really draining. It seems most people on this forum didn't like the Basilone episode (#8), I did. I think it showed a lot about the man. He turned down a chance to get out, he chose to go back to the Fleet Marine Corps. He wanted to train his men right, he was hard but fair, and led from the front. He was a Marine's Marine. He found love, married her, and shortly thereafter went off to Iwo where he was killed in action. The episode ends with his death. This is appropriate because the storyline for this episode was John Basilone and what he experienced, from his point of view. It wasn't about the battle of Iwo Jima, or the 3rd, 4th or 5th Marine Divisions. It's really great TV. When the camera pans out during the last scene and you see all the dead Marines around him, you really understand he was just one small piece in a huge puzzle. Each dead Marine in the scene had a wife or a mother or a sweetheart and they were going to suffer a terrible loss just like Lena Basilone.
    Finally, the Okinawa Episode #9 was just brutal and emotionally draining. Like I said, I thought it was great film making.
     
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  18. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    If I had to submit a verdict, The Pacific was definitely not as good as Band of Brothers. The Pacific was okay, and I will buy the DVD when it comes out. Out of a 10-part series, though, The Pacific had three or four outstanding moments, in my opinion, and I agree, the last episode was touching. Tapping into HBO On Demand, I watched each episode of The Pacific two or three times each, and nothing new seemed to grab me like repeated viewings of Band of Brothers did. With Band of Brothers, I was always discovering new lines, or hints to new themes that I had missed previously, like re-reading a great book. The Pacific did not have that affect on me at all. I used the HBO event to re-familiarize myself with both Leckie and Sledge's memoirs, and delve into two biographies of Basilone. I am now part way into R.V. Burgin's Islands of the Damned, and Sid Phillip's memoir, You'll Be Sor-ree! These, plus some historical reading coupled with the mini-series sure taught me much more about those south Pacific campaigns than I knew before. So, in that regard it was ten weeks of a positive experience for me.

    Greg C.
     
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  19. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Greg Canellis,
    I've considered getting

    Are they pretty good reads? I'd really like your opinion.
     
  20. bongopete

    bongopete Member

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    I agree with many of you in that there were several outstanding episodes, but the series as a whole suffered.
    'Saving Private Ryan' seemed to fuel a host of movie and tv programming for the next 10 years, including Clint Eastwoods two Iwo movies as well as 'The Pacific'. But I now fear that this has killed off any further ww2 works of any seriousness.
    Has anyone read or heard anything from the production side as to why the series was structured as it was?
     

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