It’s been a month since the final episode of The Pacific miniseries on HBO aired. I watched all 10 episodes this spring and thoroughly loved them all. Some were better than others, as is always the case, but as a series, it’s right up there with Band of Brothers (2001). Of course I have to give slightly better marks to Band of Brothers, which is simply one of the best miniseries ever created in my opinion…other than Lonesome Dove (1989), which was my favorite until Band of Brothers. I think Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, as Producers on both The Pacific and Band of Brothers series, simply understand how to tell great war stories. Spielberg started this war movie/story fascination of his with his film Empire of the Sun (1987), which I consider to be one of his best movies and the best movie performance in Christian Bale’s career. He continued his powerful war story development with his Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List (1993), which to this day is a movie that haunts me and that I can only watch very rarely due to the dark horrors it shows. And finally the trifecta hit with Saving Private Ryan (1998), which in my opinion was robbed of its Best Picture Oscar, even though I do think Shakespeare in Love (1998) was a terrific movie that year as well.
The Pacific was beautifully shot and the production design is outstanding. The cinematography and editing are top notch. There was never a doubt in my mind that what I was seeing on the screen was what was probably seen by my Grandfather and the thousands of other soldiers who fought WWII in the Pacific. My Grandfather was shot on Iwo Jima early in that battle and took his stories from his WWII experience to his grave. He never really shared that part of his life with his son (my Uncle) or his family. But watching The Pacific, I feel like I have a small sense of what he must have experienced.
What’s so interesting to me about this miniseries is the way the episodes unravelled the stories of the 3 main characters. Some of the episodes were basically just love stories and others were mostly battle scenes filled with death and horror. But it was all weaved together so wonderfully. And I was surprised at how I found myself losing track of the time as I watched and got in the shoes of the characters. I have to say that my favorite episode was actually number 8 entitled “Iwo Jima”. And while it has some battle scenes, it’s mainly the story of one man meeting this woman he falls in love with and marries. I just escaped into that episode and was left wanting more at the end.
I already posted some great still photos from the series in my previous blog post about the series.
I recently got the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer for this series and it is fantastic! If you like original movie scores, this is one of the best. Check it out on iTunes. Zimmer is definitely my favorite modern movie music composer and he lives up to his incredible body of work with this soundtrack. I have a feeling I will be revising my Top10 Soundtrack list to include this one at #10 instead of The Insider, which is hard to do…but The Pacific is simply Top10 worthy in my opinion for music scores, so I have to make room somewhere!