March 2010 saw the release of the 10-part miniseries, “THE PACIFIC”; produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman.
The miniseries focuses on the lives and experiences of three US Marines who fought at the Theater of the Pacific – writer Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), war hero John Basilone (Jon Seda), and teacher professor/writer Eugene Sledge (Joseph Mazello).
This first episode follows the reaction of three men to the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Basilone was already a one-year veteran of the Marines around this time, as he spoke. goodbye to his family. Leckie joined the Marines about a month after the Hawaii attack and befriended a local girl named Vera before saying goodbye to her father. And Sledge is forced to realize that a whisper in his heart will prevent him from joining the Marines with his friend and neighbor, Sid Phillips (Ashton Holmes). Not long after this prologue, both Leckie and Basilone find themselves transported to deal with the Japanese threat in Guadalcanal. Much of the episode focuses on Leckie and Phillips’ early experiences in Guadalcanal. At the end of the episode, Basilone and the 5th Marines regiment arrived.
If there’s one thing I can say, “THE PACIFIC” is definitely different from 2001’s “BAND OF BROTHERS”. But I guess I expected it to be. For one thing, this episode made it clear that there will be scenes that tell about the three characters’ experiences on the home front and among other civilians. The scene where Leckie says goodbye to her father at the bus stop is very entertaining – especially as the writer confronts his father’s reluctance to say goodbye. And it was interesting to watch Sledge deal with his frustration at not being able to participate, due to his heart having a murmur. I wonder if he knew anything about what he would go through in the years after the war, if he would have been as frustrated.
The main difference between “THE PACIFIC” and “BAND OF BROTHERS” is that the latter mainly recounts the experience of an Army company, with an officer as the protagonist of the series. I think “THE PACIFIC” is being presented in the same way as the 2000 movie, “TRAFFIC” or the 2005 movie, “CRASH”. . . where the same topic is presented from different points of view. In this case, the miniseries is from the perspective of three men who did NOT serve in combat together. And yet, there are connections between them. Leckie served in the same Marine company as Sledge’s best friend, Phillips. Both Leckie and Basilone fought in Guadalcanal and had a brief encounter with each other at the end of Season One. And later, we will see both Leckie and Sledge fighting together in another campaign – Peleliu. I just hope that more people will understand and learn to accept the fact that “THE PACIFIC” has a different narrative style than “BAND OF BROTHERS”.
By the way, I would like to say a few final things. I have to say that the action in this episode is amazing, along with the jungle setting. And the birthday tune Leckie and the other Marines sang to Phillips was not only funny, but had an ominous aura as well. Very good. Very good.