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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. 15thusinfantry

    15thusinfantry New Member

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    Ambrose's book, was what he wrote, he had no real say who the main characters would be in the miniseries. Basilone was more than a legend in the Marines, and the Pacific made him into a living breathing person who we could identify with. After Guadalcanal I think his problem was that he had to live up to his own legend. Leckie, I read many many years ago, and he evolved into a great writer/historian. I enjoyed seeing him brought to life. Sledge was another writer I was very familiar with having read him in the 80's. I also enjoyed seeing him on the screen. What I did not care for personally is I would rather have seen an Army story, because they did not have a ready built publicity machine of the Marines, and less is written about the Army in the Pacific than the Marines. They could have made it about Guadalcanal, Tarawa/Saipan and Okinawa. Army and Marine actions. I still enjoyed the story with all that said. Now who knows with Masters of the Air. But it is mostly about the 8th AAF
     
  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The Army wasn't at Tarawa/Betio they landed on Makin Atoll/Butaritari, and it wasn't a particularly stellar performance
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Hmmpf. The US Army had MacArthur, and his publicity machine was equal to that of two Marine Corps, one USN, and one USAAF. Of course, he was in the SoWestPac, and not the Central Pacific.

    But, I feel you pain, as I had an uncle who was in the US Army in the Pacific...who, I thought, for the longest time, had served in the Marine Corps, before I found out from relatives that he had served in the US Army.
     
  4. xockram1

    xockram1 New Member

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    Old Thread, so I doubt this will even be seen, but the BOB series was a bang-up production from the get go; The intro, the music score, the training scenes, the build up, the progression, all of it was classic Speilberg. Everyone has a family member who served in the big war, or knows "of" someone who did. The out-takes and cut-ins with real life people was the clincher. I can't watch BoB without tearing up. Not so much because of the script, the director, or the actors but rather because of the introduction to the people behind the movie. The decision to go another route with "Pacific" did the movie an injustice. All the elements were there; beautiful camera work and angles, gritty war scenes, and believable characters but we never get to know them, or even care to know them like we did in BoB. The romantic and sex scenes were unnecessary and not entirely believable (I doubt if Aussie Girls were so daft as to fall in love in 5 minutes in 1944, or that a traditional Greek family would fall all over an American soldier after having known him for a few days). It is a series about war after all. I agree with the other poster that both series are good, but BoB is a classic and "Pacific" is just a good series.
     
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  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    My oft stated sentiments about "The Pacific," I never really got to get to know the characters like I did in BoB, and for that, I felt it was the lessor of the two.

    Have high hopes for the Mighty 8th, but have heard little about this series for sometime. But, a quick check says that it is set to start filming in 2019 for an air date of 2020-21.
     
  6. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Spot on xockram1. BoB is a great, connected story that follows the same characters. We see them throughout the series from training through to VE day, and we really get to know how they evolve. The last episode is so poignant, as it shows the guys joyfully playing baseball (that all-american game) and we get follow ups on each character. we've spent to much time with the platoon, that the viewer truly cares about how they lived their lives. It's a classic of entertainment, not just a good TV show. What's especially useful in Bob is that we have a relatively small cast that the series had ten full hours to work with, covering D-Day through VE day, which is less than a year in real time. The Pacific covers different groups of soldiers, and while the storytelling is great, the jumping back and forth compromises both story threads.

    Like Takao, I have high hopes for the Mighty 8th. The good news here is that the producers & directors have a blueprint for how to structure the story. Stick to one small unit of soldiers, focus on the interplay within that group, and let the drama of the true history play out within it. WWII is so broad it's easy to want to cover it all, but if the creators can resists to urge to 'kitchen sink' the story, and instead follow the tight BoB storytelling model, we are in for a cracking series.
     
  7. Oregon Diver

    Oregon Diver Member

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    Well, it was like Gettysburg and Gods and Generals; The first is usually the best. Although in those cases, I would have swapped parts around some, Duvall was a far cry better Lee than Sheen was.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Yes there are issues with style and continuity which I have commented on before, but that isn't it all, Band came first, setting the style that Pacific imitated. There was also the feeling I got that Band could represent the common serviceman in WW II, hence anyone. Yes paratroopers were elite troops but Marines were a state of mind that not everyone would or could choose to be. This was often demonstrated when soldiers and marines served side by side in the same campaign.
     
  9. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    Why wasn't it as good? Very simple. They tried to do too much by using three different and unconnected stories and as a result the series lacked cohesion. They should have stuck with Sledge's memoir, which is simply one of the greatest ever written.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Band, did come first...However, I do not see the two as having the same "style." The two series, IMHO, follow the "style" of the books that they are based on. Band, the book & series, is a good, yet "sanitized" presentation of the war. Pacific, "With the Old Breed" & "Helmet for My Pillow", are grittier, lacking in the "All-American polish," that Ambrose gives all of his books.

    Now, despite seeing both "With the Old Breed" & "Helmet for my Pillow" as far superior books to Band of Brothers(book), I did not find myself fully engaged by Pacific as I was with BoB. Too be fair, I believe that they tried to do too much with Pacific. In 10 Episodes, they covered 3 Years and 3 different story arcs. Whereas Band, in 10 episodes, covered, essentially, 1 year and 1 story arc.

    I will always wish that The Pacific had been about the USS Enterprise, and had followed what was essentially done with the 10 episode Battle 360 series on the ship.
    Battle 360° - Wikipedia
    That would have been the only way to cover the Pacific in 10 episodes, and still have the tightness and camaraderie of BoB.
     
  11. Half Track

    Half Track Active Member

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    They were both very well produced and directed. But if I have to choose, it would be Band Of Brothers because I just liked the actors and their roles better than The Pacific. Even the scenes away from the action were so much more meaningful to me. And that war bond drive in the Pacific did nothing for me.
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I agree telling the history of the Enterprise would have been better story though it would have been harder to film due to the massive use of CGI. Those who served at sea should have their due as did the ground pounders.

    Popular media like TV and film is painfully imitative, a success full film or TV show will spawn a plethora of imitators. I doubt Band would have been made without SPR and Pacific would not have been made without Band.

    They had far more in common than were dissimilar. Both covered the same era, both used the 10 episode mini series format, both told the story of small unit ground combat, both used the fox hole perspective, both used the shaky camera cinema verity style.
     
  13. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I think it has a lot to do with familiarity of the subject matter. Band of Brothers updated 2 stories that everyone has already heard: D-Day and Battle of the Bulge; probably the most storied battles of the the ETO. I also consider that it was released with Saving Private Ryan still fresh in the collective conscience. A lesser know aspect of the series were the episodes involving Market Garden. In contrast the Pacific was foreign and unfamiliar territory only depicting a single battle, Iwo Jima, that the masses could identify with. Guadalcanal , Pelilieu, and Okinawa haven't had the "block buster" treatment; those battles were glossed over or referred to anecdotally in larger films.

    Pound for pound The Pacific is just as good as Band of Brothers in every aspect and is just as compelling.
     
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  14. JMD62

    JMD62 recruit

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    I really enjoyed both series but to me at least, but I have to agree with the others who said that Band of Brothers did a better job of developing more "colorful" characters, which is probably why it gained more popularity. Even my wife loves the series, which I think is a good thing?.. :D
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, not in my case, I am far more familiar with the PTO than the ETO.

    A good story arc is a good story arc no matter where your interests lie, and BoB had a good story arc. Whereas The Pacific was more of a collection of vignettes, each one was good, but did not really mesh together as a whole like BoB did. To me that is what sets BoB above and beyond the Pacific.
     
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  16. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    You also have to realize that BoB was based on a single book compiled by one guy and is the result of his interpretation of the stories, as told to him, by the guys that were there. The Pacific, on the other hand, was compiled from at least three different books, by three different guys who were all there and the stories are based on their first hand accounts and memories; not to mention the Basilone family letters.
     
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  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    As you can see from my posts here, I am well aware...And this has been one of my critiques from the beginning of the thread - They tried to fit too much into the 10 episode timeframe. They tried to squeeze in 3 story arcs, that were not well connected, into one overall story arc. While, the screenwriters did an admirable job on each episode, the whole did not come together. The overall arc was disjointed, and the characters were not able to be developed to their fullest extent.
     
  18. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I think the disjointed feel and frenetic time line are what adds to the story; that's what makes the ETO so different from the PTO. The PTO was a lot more gritty and disjointed than the ETO and I think The Pacific captured that perfectly. I bounced around the Pacific ocean, to a lot of the same places depicted in the show, and the series captured the feel of it perfectly. The guys that wrote the books the series was based on didn't have 20 years of research into events that happened 40 years prior, as heard through stories and anecdotes, to insert lines of dialogue explaining someone's backstory or to explain how they fit into the grand scheme. I think The Pacific did a much better job of capturing the garden variety infantry man's experience.
     
  19. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I think Takao nailed it here:
    "Band, the book & series, is a good, yet "sanitized" presentation of the war."
    When I first re-watched "Band of Brothers", after watching "The Pacific", the first thing that struck me was how much cleaner, civilized and less brutal it was. I hadn't thought about it before, but that is the difference between a historian's eye view of the war and the view of someone that was there. Sanitized is an apt description.

    "Pacific, "With the Old Breed" & "Helmet for My Pillow", are grittier, lacking in the "All-American polish,""
    Again here he's right, "The Pacific" is the grittier, foxhole eye view of what war is.

    This makes me ponder the real genius of Hank's and Spielberg, (feel like I'm in film class and just had an epiphany). BoB was a sanitized story, yet filmed in a gritty style, using muted tones. The Pacific was a grittier story, filmed in a bright, full color style. Were the styles chosen to balance the tone of the story? I hadn't thought about this before, but many reviewers commented on the stylistic difference, though not the meaning behind them, if any, when "The Pacific" was first reviewed.

    They also commented on the level of brutality:
    From Time Magazine 3/12/2010-"If you watched the ten brutal episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers–in which war was not glorious but miserable, and death sudden and ignominious–you were probably not thinking that there was an even uglier side to World War II that this miniseries was not showing you. But there was, and showing that side is the project of The Pacific, the ten-episode bookend that in nearly every way improves on its 2001 European-theater predecessor."

    I think the reason many people like Band of Brother's better than "The Pacific" is that BoB gives the sanitized version of history they're most comfortable with, the "John Wayne", Hollywood, clean, neat, heroic version. "The Pacific" while it has epic combat scenes and heroism, it also deals with the things that make people subconsciously uncomfortable, they don't want to see the way the "sausage is made". It dealt realistically with combat (like BoB), but also the disease, sores, the psychological toll, PTSD, and the dehumanizing effects of slaughtering other human beings, no matter how justified it may be. In the mini-series Sledge's father, a doctor, tells Sledge; "The worst thing about treating those combat boys from the Great War wasn't that they had had their flesh torn, it was that they had had their souls torn out. I don't want to look in your eyes someday, and see no spark, no love, no... no life. That would break my heart."
    By the time Eugene comes back from Peleliu he's there. In the Lemonade scene, they're debarking from their ships and the clean, do-gooder, Red Cross ladies are handing out cups of Lemonade to the bone tired, dirty (filthy is a better word, dirty doesn't really do it justice), emotionally dead Marines, fresh from slaughtering the enemy and themselves being slaughtered. A fresh faced, replacement Lieutenant makes a comment to Sledge, and Sledge gives him "the look". Joe Mazzello nails it perfectly. I've seen the look, I've had the look, those cold, dead, black eyes, like you haven't got any soul left.



    That boot Lt. is lucky Sledge was a well disciplined Marine, because that's all that kept him from taking off his helmet and beating him to freakin' death.

    ...more later.
     
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  20. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I can largely agree with Bob's take, but want to take it a step farther.

    The European war and the Pacific war were two very different animals. It isn't just the source material, it's the source itself. A German could and would retreat or even surrender if the situation warranted, so to a American soldier. In the Pacific retreat was not a option once battle commenced, nor did Japanese thinking even embrace the concept.

    The Pacific was America's first brush with a fanatical enemy and called for a more brutal stance from US troops which both reminds us conflicts more recent and goes against our cherished view of how America fights its wars.
     
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