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The Pacific

A television show on HBO.

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"The Pacific"

  • Mar 22, 2010
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I was looking forward to HBO's "The Pacific", because the team that made "Band of Brothers" was involved.  "Band of Brothers" was completely amazing and I would rank it with season 01 of "The Sopranos" or any other series I've seen and liked.

TP lost me from the first episode, but I decided to give them a second chance.  They aired the second episode today, and I was like "ok.. I'm over it".

It's an extremely ambitious undertaking to attempt to tell several storylines simultaneously.  The only reason it worked in TS was that they were all part of the same crew, and gradually expanded to New York characters from just Jersey characters.  The only reason it worked in BoB is that they were all together, striving to stay alive and complete objectives.  Telling one of their stories enhanced the development of the other characters.

TP went so far as to have a storyline about a guy that ISN'T. EVEN. IN. THE. WAR! :D .. So it's like you see these guys in the trenches with bombs coming down and then you see an affluent house in the USA where some guy is upset that he didn't get to go to war.  I realize that that's an important story to tell, but you have to give the viewer a reason to GIVE A DAMN whether that guy got to go to war or not.  We don't.  We barely know who he is.  Nobody cares.  They could have left that thread out entirely.

Another thing that lost me was their decision to present the show as if it were shot on HD video cameras, like as if those were available at that time.  There is NO. FOOTAGE. AVAILABLE. ANYWHERE. that shows people in old wars cleanly.  Part of what made BoB so great was that the processing of the video made you feel like you were right there, experiencing what happened to them.  The lack of processing on TP makes it look more like Vietnam than anything older than that.  That completely blows the immersion for me and I don't believe I'm watching what they want me to believe I'm watching.

On top of that, their storytelling and voiceover narration is way less than impressive.  This episode, ***** SPOILER ALERT ***** They start out by saying that the troops were trapped on the island AND their naval support had been decimated.  This was initially interesting to me because I've never seen a video / film about war where the USA didn't have air superiority.  So these guys were trapped on the island, surrounded by enemy troops on the land and enemy ships in the water..... And at the end of the episode, someone tells them they're leaving Guadalcanal and then you see them climbing up a rope ladder onto an American ship. :/

??????? WHERE did that ship come from?  HOW did the USA break through the Japanese naval defenses?  How much time had passed, since they only showed TWO FIREFIGHTS between this episode and last episode?  Completely lost me.  It was like the ship just appeared out of nowhere and the Japanese fleet disappeared with no explanation whatsoever.

So, overall, while I appreciate their effort and the video looks good, if we were watching a modern war film, it seems to me that for a miniseries that I believe is going to be 10 hours (episodes) long, they really needed more like 20 hours to tell so many stories in a fashion where anybody cares what happened to the characters.

oh... Also, there's NOOOOOO enemy character development.  In BoB, there were times that they killed Germans and you actually felt sorry for the guy that got wasted, like you could see in his eyes that he didn't really want to be there, but he kind of had to and now his life was about to end for being in the wrong place doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.  In the two firefights they've shown in TP, the enemy are like ghosts that don't even exist until they reach the perimeter and then they're like video game artificial intelligence that just keep running forward so they can get cut down by the gatling guns and slump down to the floor.

I understand why that would be the case, since they have such a hard time developing the AMERICAN characters, they really don't have space to develop the Japanese as well.  It's just that you never get a feeling that there's any actual danger because dudes just keep running out of the forest and getting killed.  The only thing that can go wrong is that the Americans run out of ammo to kill them with. \o/ *yawn*

Anyway, I'm going to watch again next week, because I'm interested in the technical aspects of making the show and I'd like to see whether they're going to salvage anything from their storylines and create something someone actually cares about.  I'll rate the show a -1 because I'd completely expect a lot more from seven years of work to bring this production to the screen.

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March 22, 2010
Thanks for this review! I was really hoping this would be a great show. I loved BoB so much I figured this was going to be amazing as well. Thanks for the heads up!
March 22, 2010
I'm hoping for massive improvement myself. Let's keep our fingers crossed! :D The lack of video texture is just incredible. To me, there's no sense of "These guys are living back in the 1940s. It's just way too clean. Also, as tightly as they've shot the firefights so far, there's no sense of it being an ancient war at all. Could have been Rambo for all I'd know if I just flipped the channel to it.
More The Pacific reviews
review by . August 06, 2010
As production values go, this show has everything in abundance. It even puts most motion pictures to shame. Pitty it didn't have a script that was of the same value. In fact it failed badly in so many ways that I have no interest in buying the set, regardless that I collect War Movies in general. Comparison with Band of Brothers is unavoidable and also highlights its failiure. In BoB it is Easy Company that is the true central character of the show. We get to know Easy through its fighting men, …
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Bill Cammack ()
Bill Cammack
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