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Why wasn't the Pacific as "good" as Band of Brothers?

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by LG'96, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Slightly off topic, scored a DVD copy of The Pacific during 'Aquamaroon Saturday' for $10.00 at my local chapel of St. Wal-Mart!

    Going to give another chance in the next week or two. Personally thought it was good, just not as satisfying as Band of Brothers.
     
  2. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Yes, and that's why I threw him a salute for the both of us. Welcome to the forums F8F. Enjoy yourself and learn something at the same time.

    I'm with you bels, I think that TP would have been better following one unit or person. Hell make 3 or 4 mini-series to cover it all, I won't complain one iota. Personally, I'd prefer a mini-series based on Manila John Basilone's life. He learned his machine-gunners trade with the Army (1936-40) and spent a couple of years in the Philippines before getting out. From what I've read, there was a lot left out of his MoH action on Guadalcanal. His monumental fight there went on for many an hour, and the portion of TP that he was featured did not do him the justice he deserved.

    I'm going to have to give it another watch too (TP) to be fair. Usually movies that didn't do it for me the first time that I did like came over better the second time around. Like Brother, Where Art Thou. The first time I saw it I walk out of the theater thinking "wuh?" Saw it again a couple of weeks later and fully appreciated it as it should have been done the first time.
     
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  3. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    I guess I've been away so long I've lost my ability to quote, so I'll just do it the old fashioned way. F8F said:

    "I loved both BoB and TP, and have watched them both several times, and think that both are amazing pieces of work."

    I too, liked both, and voiced a similar opinion in post #74. Glad to see someone else liked them both as much as I did.
     
  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Good to see ya Clemie.
     
  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Welcome back girl, we missed you.
     
  6. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    The Pacific is every bit as good as BoB. It's DIFFERENT. It wasn't supposed to be BoB of the Pacific, and for logical reasons that fail me, people somehow expected that. Two completely different theaters of conflict, WAY different enemies and fighting styles, how could anyone expect the two series to compare at all? Is anyone expecting the upcoming series on the 8th AF to compare? I surely don't.

    To our British friends, I would love to see a series done based on a British story. Dunkirk, North Africa, etc. But to be done right, it needs to be done by a British production company. To say it wouldn't sell in the US is ignoring the success of Brit TV like Dr. Who, Downton Abby, Upstairs Downstairs, and so on. The same US audience that watched BoB, will be the same ones watching a British story. So the BBC or whomever needs to get on the stick.
     
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  7. F8F

    F8F New Member

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    Thank y'all for the responses and the welcomes, they feel good.

    I appreciated your in-depth engagement, Takao.

    Indeed. Good points.

    Interesting analysis. I can see what you're saying about how having a tighter unit focus in TP may have created a more compelling narrative. Agreed that Sledge, Leckie, and Basilogne were all in different regiments, and, yes, it was a lot of characters to keep track of.

    They were, however, all in the First Division, and TP mostly follows the history of the division from Guadalcanal to Gloucester to Peleliu to Okinawa (with the Fifth Division's assault on Iwo Jima tacked on, to complete the Basilogne story).

    They were normal guys before the war. But, with the benefit of hindsight, they weren't normal guys. Again, their record of success was outlier-level. That's why Ambrose wrote about them, and that's why Hanks and Spielberg made a show about them.

    Albert Pujols was drafted in the thirteenth round. At the time of his drafting, he was just a normal draftee for whom chances were tiny that he would ever reach the bigs. Looking back on it with hindsight, though, Albert Pujols was not a normal draftee. And a movie about Pujols' career would be more fun to watch than one about some random low-round draftee that washed out in A ball.

    Good point.

    Agreed.

    On the other hand, without his inclusion, the series would have a clear US victory at the Tenaru and then hours of messy casualty-ridden shit-slogging on Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa. Basilone's inclusion allows the showing us an action-movie-like victory at Oct 25 Lunga Perimeter as well as some (ultimately doomed) superman heroics on Iwo.

    [as an aside, the way that the battle at Tenaru was portrayed in TP has long bugged me. In real life, Leckie never repositioned his MG, the marines were not just using small arms - they calling in artillery on the opposite shore and doing direct fire with canister shot from AT guns, and the forces on both sides were about five to ten times as large.]


    Obviously Haldane did not have as central a role in TP and Winters did in BoB. They were similar though in that they were both heroic noble warrior-father figures who demanded a lot of their men yet looked after them with kindness and led through courageous example and profound self-discipline.


    The question I answered was less about actually happened to each soldier/unit in real life, it was more, how satisfying and pleasant was each miniseries to watch, and why did many viewers report enjoying BoB more than TP.

    And, what I was saying is, what I recall [it's been a while] is that TP didn't show Sledge's time with occupying forces in China or any other such satisfying scenes of victory, but it did show his suffering after returning home. I don't recall BoB showing much of the psychological aftermath. So, as much as I loved BoB each time I watched it and thought that it was a masterpiece, I think that that makes it more like a conventional, and pleasant to watch/uplifting/patriotic, movie in that regard than TP was.
     
  8. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    When I first rewatched BoB after watching the Pacific, it just appeared more clean and civil (if war can ever be called civil). The Pacific managed to convey the peculiar character of that theater, where it was a campaign of trying to just survive against the enemy and the elements, while attempting to completely exterminate your opponent. Like the Marine at Peleilu said to a sailor that asked him if he had any souvenirs, patting his behind he said, "I brought my ass outta there swabbie. That's the only souvenir I wanted."
     
  9. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Yes I agree, The Pacific was a bit more "gritty" than BoB. Maybe Tom Hanks and Co realized that mistake of making BoB so PG13'ish and over compensated for it with a vengeance in The Pacific.

    I still like A Band of Brothers though. My only real complaint about it is that they didn't stage and film a real jump sequence like they did with A Bridge Too Far.
     
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  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    In all fairness, look at the source material. There is a world of difference between Ambrose's "Band of Brothers" and Sledge's With the Old Breed." Regretfully, I have not yet read "Helmet for my pillow" yet, but I figure it to be more in line with Sledge's memoir than Ambrose's book.
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Takao has a good point there. Having read William Manchester's auto-biographical work on his Pacific war it comes across as a far dirtier war on so many levels and not what we were taught either in school or "Hollywood".
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It's been a while since I read "Goodbye, Darkness", but from what I recall, there was very little in the book that could be considered "autobiographical" pertaining to Manchester. Much of what he wrote about, he was not present for. IIRC, that was the main criticism about this book.
     
  13. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Bobby wrote:
    I do as well. They're different and that's not a bad thing.


    Yes sir, I agree. Even well done CG misses something. For one, most people don't realize how hard you actually smack the deck using many of the older canopies, even when executing a perfect PLF, especially when making a combat equipment jump. There was at least one jumper in a "Bridge to Far" where you could see it perfectly. You could almost hear the air being forced from his lungs. You're a former "Sky God". You know what I mean. Then there are the guys that have a poor body position on exit. You can see at least one guy with his legs spread wide then the wind catches them and starts him spinning.
     
  14. F8F

    F8F New Member

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    There may have been something different about the Western Front of ETO, since surrender was generally offered and taken, than the PTO, where it was not. And, as we all know, PTO Marines tended to be in combat for shorter, more intense assaults, while ETO army units endured generally less concentrated combat. So, PTO Marines had a higher percentage of dead casualty per wounded causality than ETO Army units - typically ~3:1 vs ~4:1.

    However, ETO Army units tended to be engaged with the enemy in active combat for longer periods. So, of the fourteen US divisions with the highest overall total casualty rates in WW2, the First Marines were eighth, and all the rest were ETO Army Units.

    Anyway, a first person account of USA ETO ground warfare than made it sound like a grinding shit-fest from Hell was "If You Survive" by George Wilson. There is a description in the middle of the book of charging up an open grassy hillside under a German artillery barrage that grinds a majority of the attacking men into hamburger that echos Sledge's account of crossing the airfield at Peleliu. And the Hurtgen and Ardennes/Bulge chapters are similarly stark.

    From the Amazon page:

    [4th Inf had third most casualties of all US divisions in the war, after the 3rd Inf and 9th Inf, and they had third most combat deaths, after the 3rd Inf and 1st Marines]
     
  15. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Yes, that brings back memories. Every now and then I go into youtube and bring up the jump sequences from A Bridge Too Far just for sh1tz and giggles. That's about all I miss about being in the Army. Well mail call was pretty good. Pay day too. Sometimes chow was just right as well. That's about it I guess.
     
  16. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    I agree. That seems like a better title.
     
  17. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    As I recall the book could be divided into 3 parts, A very brief history of the war, a travelog of the Pacific battlefields he visited some 20 years after the war ended and how these visits 'triggered' his memories as a Marine in the late war period.

    The rub being that each chapter had all three parts. His history was formulaic (and flawed), The travelog interesting, but uneven and his recollection's were jumbled and left you with the impression he fought in battles he did not actually fight.

    Definitely a mixed bag, but his comments on his personal war experiences did offer a harsher and more gritty view of the war than the sanitized version most of us were taught and fed threw popular media.

    Bottom line, we still on some level see Europe as a 'Crusade' against evil and the Pacific as a dirty job that needed doing. Currently reading A Democracy at War which takes this a step farther as the author opines that the Pacific War was a "unnecessary distraction" from the more vital conflict in Europe.
     
  18. Rogue1987

    Rogue1987 New Member

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    I remember when I first watched the Pacific I didn't like it that much.
    It was hard to separate the marines from each other and the whole Australia episode just sucked for me.
    However when I watched it a couple more times, I got to know the characters a bit better and reading the books made me like and appreciate the series more.

    I think like someone said before the big problem is that unlike Band of Brothers you don't get a connection to the soldiers the same way as you do in Band of Brothers. Mostly because most of them die in the Pacific.
    However when guys like Ack Ack and Hillbilly died it did affect me.
    On many levels I think that the Pacific was better than Band of Brothers, it was more brutal, felt more real and not as glorified as Band of Brothers was.
    I especially loved Sledge's storyline, going from sweet innocent boy to cold blooded killer and then back to himself at the end.
    That was amazingly well done and Joe did one hell of a job as an actor. For me he was the best actor of the series.

    So I didn't think the pacific was worse then Band of Brothers, it was just different. And yes I feel more of a connection to Band of Brothers, but I like the Pacific too. It's a great series.
    Very realistic.
     
  19. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    I liked the parts of The Pacific that dealt with Sledge's memoir, which is a great, great book. The rest carried no weight for me--standard war movie material. The fragmentation of the narrative among three unrelated stories also didn't help; Band of Brothers had a simpler and solider story line. Also, it was one of the few series or movies that I've seen that gave you a real sense of what a unit is for a soldier and how much of his identity is tied up with the outfit.

    That said, I would like just once to see a good story about an ordinary, non-elite unit--not paratroopers, not commandos, just the ordinary Umth Infantry or the Blankshire Regiment. They do most of the fighting.
     
  20. Rogue1987

    Rogue1987 New Member

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    I agree with you there. They should have focused on one group of guys and I agree with Sledge's memoirs being the best.
    I'm not sure why but the whole Basilone storyline kind of bugged me. Of course what he did was heroic but I still didn't think it was very fair that he got to go home and be the poster boy for the war.
    I know that wasn't his fault but I felt like they wasted too much time in the series, just watching him do photo shoots and things like that.

    Leckie's storyline was great to follow and watching he and his friends going through hell to protect each other was very well portrayed.
    But yes they should have focused on one group, just to give the audience a more emotional bond to the soldiers they're watching.
    I really started loving the series from the fifth episode, when Snafu and Burgin got involved in it and they landed on Peleliu.
    That landing was brilliantly done.
     

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