REVIEW: The Pacific (2010) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: The Pacific (2010)


I never really got into this series the first time around.  Couldn’t put my finger on why, aside from entire episodes devoted to tedious, washy, romantic bullshit that is.  It had everything going for it, in theory.  A relatively understudied war by Hollywood, Hollywood production values too.  Probably, it was the unreasonable expectations coming off the back of Band of Brothers and even Letters from Iwo Jima (Clint is a behemoth).  Second time round, with expectations lowered, it’s slightly better.  But not by much.  I’d put this series in between Band of Brothers and Generation Kill.  It’s not as good as Band of Brothers but (slightly) better than Generation Kill.  It’s a mixed bag.  Some discs can literally be thrown in the garbage, others definite keepers.

The good, first of all.  We don’t see enough of the Pacific War on TV and Movies.  Ironically, this point doubles up for ‘The Bad’ as well.  Usually with WW2 it’s the Western Front.  Sometimes the Eastern front, even less The Pacific.  So this flawed series’ existence is welcome nonetheless.  It has a big budget to recreate this theatre, but even that is misused.  As long as The Pacific is showing ground footage, it looks authentic.  More on the maritime footage later.  The typical Private Ryan washed out palette is back, the understated score and the reluctance to cast egotistical Hollywood wash ups all delivers us to sober reality.  And you know, it’s good to see authentic Jap armour on screen for a change, if nothing else, I respect good research.  And the combat sequences?  When they happen, they’re mostly ‘okay’, sometimes thrilling even.  If you want to enjoy this series, best to select the episodes that are actually worth a shit, which comprise about 50% of the series.

It suffers just as much as it excels.  An example is this series fascination with romantic liasons.  We get it, soldiers had flings with women on leave.  It’s part of war, but why do we have to hear about this several times?  This isn’t worthy of even one full episode yet repeatedly we return to it.  Full episodes, note, that is plural, are devoted to tedious Desperate Housewives shite.  When your series has a Medal of Honor winner and you spend more time showing his barracks downtime and romantic aspirations, you got problems. You practically ignore Midway, the most pivotal event in modern human history outside Barbarossa to tell stories about love affairs in Australia?!  They don’t even relate to the other episodes, not really.  

Come to think of it, another problem is that even the good episodes aren’t really linked.  Everything is very random, there is no cohesion like the story we witnesses with Winters and E. Company.  In fact, this series is desperately missing a Damien Lewis/Dick Winters too, I found too many characters here to vary between cardboard and annoying.  Other problems include hideous CGI, the US Pacific Fleet looks like a PS3 render.  That’s not really forgiveable, not in 2010.  One thing we missed most – the lack of strategical discussion.  The islands, their significance, or why they’re being taken, are scarcely even alluded to.  Instead there’s rolling in the hay – lots of it.  Literally hours are wasted.  

But for sure, for those who have not seen it, The Pacific is still binge worthy simply because of the subject matter and (mostly) heavyweight aesthetics.  There are some good episodes in here that should really be on your to-watch list, preferably in 1080p full Blu-Ray with booming surround.