Review of the HBO miniseries The Pacific
I don’t watch very many miniseries. They take too long. But this is one miniseries that I watched every minute of. Watching this miniseries was as close as you can get to stepping into a time machine and going back to 1941 -1945. This is filmmaking and story telling at its very best.
Last year I had the experience of being totally immersed in a story that also took place in the Pacific – the Mutiny on The Bounty. This year’s total immersion story began with Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken. That covered the air war over the Pacific and the story of Louis Zamperini, who became a prisoner of war. Next up was a documentary on Amelia Earhart. That story involved the search for evidence that Amelia ended up on a remote island some 300 miles south of her original destination, Howland Island.
That was the first time I saw what a land crab looked like. The small island where they think Amelia and her navigator ended up was no tropical paradise. There was dense vegetation, no water, and the island was infested with land crabs, which I’m sure became a constant threat for as long as Amelia survived. The reason I mention that story is because land crabs apparently were a nuisance on a number of the islands the marines fought on in the Pacific.
So next comes the HBO miniseries Pacific and my total immersion was complete. I have heard of Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. But I had never hear of Pavuvu or Peleliu. But more marines died on those two hell holes than on those other islands.
There is no glamor in war. So many lives were cut short. Thousands of marines, many only teenagers at the time, died within seconds of their first combat. On islands of questionable value. All I can say is that I’m glad I wasn’t around to have experienced it first hand.
Since I saw the series on DVD (Blueray), I had the benefit of also seeing the field guide material, which consisted of interviews, historical footage, maps, and insight from authors and historians. The background information combined with the dramatization was like getting a full semester college course on the Pacific campaign. All I can tell you is that if you haven’t seen this yet, find some time on your calendar and add this to your list.