I just finished watching the last episode of The Pacific which is a HBO mini-series and a follow-up companion series to The Band of Brothers. The Band of Brothers followed U.S. army troops as they fought the German army in Europe. The Pacific in contrast follows the U.S. Marines as they fought the Japanese from island to island including battles at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Both series follow a group of soldiers as they fight side by side, R&R together and make life long bonds together as they fight their way to victory over a dedicated enemy. The main difference I noticed between the two series, is that to me the troops fighting in the Pacific theater had a tougher job in fighting an entrenched enemy. The Pacific islands took as many casualties from disease and exhaustion as did those who died from wounds they suffered.
The Pacific comes on 5 DVD’s, with 2 episodes on each DVD. The series is based on the memoirs of two men, Jack Leckie and Eugene Sledge, who wrote detailed accounts of their time in the Pacific theater. Also tossed into the mix is John Basilone who was a hero at the battle of Guadalcanal and is awarded the Medal of Honor, our countries highest award for bravery. Where the Band of Brothers made one feel that they bonded with the lead characters, The Pacific leaves one emotionally isolated from the characters.
What I felt was out-of-place were the sex scenes. Picture if you would the movie Saving Private Ryan. Could you see Tom Hanks and the boys while going through French villages, stopping off at the local brothel? I believe it would have taken away from the movie. Same with The Pacific. In fact all of chapter 3, while the troops were on R&R was a waste of time for me. But I guess the folks at HBO felt that by throwing in some sex, it would make the series more sell-able.
From a historical point, most of what was shown was fairly accurate. In one scene a Marine on a train leans out a window with his Springfield rifle and kills a cow. The Marines were still using the Springfield rifle left over from WWI while the Army was issued the newer Garand. The only exception I took to this scene was that normally troops turned in their ammo before leaving ship and going on R&R. They were reissued ammo once aboard ship and on their way to battle. No one wants to see a bunch of drunken Marines shooting up the town of one of their allies.
At the conclusion of the story the men whom the characters were played by, were shown and how their lives turned out when the fighting stopped and they returned home. No one in those days suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, because these were real men. They would never end up homeless nor without friends or family. This is somewhat hard to swallow as well. No one is going to convince me that after wallowing in all that blood and guts, you are going to return home with a smile on your face and with love in your heart.
Overall I enjoyed watching the series and believe you will also. I would recommend renting the disks. I received mine from Netflix.