The Pacific (Blu-ray)
Given it had the same producers, was on the same network and has an overall similar feel, there’s no way to avoid comparing ‘The Pacific’ to HBO’s other WWII miniseries ‘Band of Brothers’. In fact, while watching certain episodes or scenes, I felt like I was watching ‘Band of Brothers’, but for a variety of reasons, ‘The Pacific’ just couldn’t live up to its predecessor. It’s an unfair comparison for sure, especially considering the greatness of ‘Band of Brothers’, but ‘Brothers’ set the standard for war themed mini-series.
The series covers the American ground attack in the Pacific during WWII. I actually took a WWII history class in college and the ground effort in the Pacific was just barely addressed (most of the lesson focused on the battle of the Guadal Canal, which was covered in the first couple of episodes). Their under appreciation compared to their European war heroes was touched on several times, but that point shouldn’t be taken lightly. The war effort in the Pacific was just as brutal and just as hard on our troops as the other battles in the war. So with that in mind, it was nice to see a realistic portrayal of the war in the Pacific as opposed to the overly sentimental mess(es) from Clint Eastwood a few years ago. Like ‘Brothers’, we follow one company (US Marines) as they make their way through the war, focused solely on the battles in the Pacific.
Although ‘The Pacific’ captured the realism of the war just as well as its predecessor, it struggled much more as a series than ‘Band of Brothers’. The brunt of that blame falls on the lack of a captivating lead actor. Unlike ‘Band of Brothers’, which belonged to Damian Lewis, lead acting duties in ‘The Pacific’ fell to three different actors, none of which were captivating or made the audience connect with them on a personal level. That aspect of the series was greatly missed because even though I was interested in the war effort and the progression of the troops, I couldn’t care any less about the personal lives of the characters involved. Ironically, their personal lives took up way too much time in the series and I kept wanting the filmmakers to go back to the war.
‘The Pacific’ felt more like a soap-opera than Brothers because we had entire episodes dedicated to romantic relationships the characters had while on leave. The excess nudity felt out of place in a mini-series dedicated to war and it took the audience out of the intensity of battle. We’d be completely entrenched in battle, able to feel the intensity of war, and then we’d be back in a comfy bed and breakfast while two people are making love. It was frustrating and diminished the hard work the filmmakers put into making the war as realistic as possible.
Complaints aside, ‘The Pacific’ should satisfy anyone’s longing for more ‘Band of Brothers’. It matched the battle sequences as far as intensity and realism and told a story that really needed to be told. But at the end of the series, I don’t think anyone will be wowed with what they saw and I question the “re-watchability” factor the series has.
Video (1.78:1 Widescreen) Extremely clear and a pleasure to watch. HBO does an excellent job on their transfers.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD) The surround sound is used perfectly, and you can feel every bullet and explosion like you are right there in the action.
This set comes with a Field Guide to each episode that allows viewer interaction, including: pop-up trivia, maps, photos, interviews and much more. This is really great to explore if you really enjoyed the miniseries. On each episode you also have the option for an Enhanced Viewing Experience, which is similar to the Field Guide in which you get Picture -in- Picture tracks of interviews and history tidbits. No doubt HBO delivers the goods in these two sections.
Profiles of The Pacific (48:58): This is a short documentary of the six Marines depicted in the series. We get to hear their stories first hand and meet the surviving members of their families. A very powerful piece.
Making of The Pacific (23:02):Typical making of featurette featuring cast and crew interviews as well as some basic history of the war and battles that were depicted in the series.
Anatomy of The Pacific War (9:09): This is strictly about the history of The Pacific War and about the conflicts leading up to it. A bit short considering they were covering a complete war, could have been longer for us history buffs.