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Barry Garron has posted his review of HBO’s “The Pacific.” I just finished watching last week and my opinion of the project went way up from the two-episode rough-cut I saw last month, which was exposition-heavy to the point where even Tom Hanks was complaining about the cut at TCA.
“The first two episodes are the weakest,” assured HBO insiders at the time.
I was doubtful — we hear that sort of thing a lot — but the executives were right.
When the final cut was delivered, the clunky exposition was cut out. And after the first two couple hours, the immediacy and writing improved.
Is “The Pacific” as strong as its predecessor, arguably the best miniseries of all time, “Band of Brothers”?
No. It’s uneven, with a weaker group of supporting characters (one big exception — Rami Malek as Merriell “Snafu” Shelton is utterly hypnotic, like Gollum from “Lord of the Rings” reincarnated as a morally ambiguous Marine).
Another point of comparison: For better or worse, “The Pacific” is far more graphic than “BOB.”Dismembered limbs flying, Marines cutting gold teeth from dead (and notquite dead) Japanese soldiers, a scene involving an open skull cavity that I won’t even describe.
One episode — Part Nine — deserves special praise. Directed by “Sopranos” veteran Tim Van Patten, this penultimate hour, set on the island of Okinawa, is the most harrowing and revolting depiction of war I’ve ever seen. As a self-contained hour of drama, it’s a masterpiece and alone worth the price of admission.
So my bottom line: “The Pacific” is a must-see. But if you’re a “Band of Brothers” fan, set your expectations accordingly.
Here’s some of Barry’s take….
But call it what you will, it is a gem of a production and would bea highlight of any TV season. “Pacific,” in its totality, conveys asense of the combat experience that is as complete and realistic asany work of film could be. From the harrowing nighttime battleswith a deadly but invisible enemy to the sheer misery of thepunishing jungle climate to the macho posturing of the youngAmerican fighters, “Pacific” omits nothing.
Where “Band of Brothers” adapted Stephen Ambrose’s saga of a singleunit, “Pacific” melds the memories of three authors: Robert Leckie,Eugene B. Sledge and Chuck Tatum. Leckie and Sledge become two ofthe three principal characters; the third is John Basilone. Duringthe course of the war, the paths of these three Marines cross, buteach has his own circle of friends and unique set ofcircumstances.
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