Shifting to the other theater of war from "Band of Brothers," "The Pacific" at times seems weighted down by an obvious desire to trumpet its importance in all caps -- and suffers when compared not only with that 2001 HBO miniseries but with Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers"/"Letters From Iwo Jima," to which there are unavoidable parallels. With its gaudy pricetag and glittering auspices, this 10-parter almost demands to be admired in its broad strokes, but yields fitful satisfaction in its particulars. While powerful sequences emerge, they're simply spaced too liberally across this ambitious project's epic, blood-splattered canvas.
Drawing from a trio of books as well as interviews with veterans, "The Pacific" and its big-artillery filmmaking team chronicle World War II through the eyes (primarily) of three unconnected soldiers. Opening shortly after Pearl Harbor, the first hour cursorily introduces characters before quickly diving into battle, where the images of combat are every bit as chaotic, brutal and gory as one would expect from a Tom Hanks-Steven Spielberg collaboration dealing with this material.
Gradually, the narrative begins to zero in on three Marines, whose tales unfold in zig-zagging fashion: The thoughtful Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), who sees harrowing action in Guadalcanal, before heading to Australia; John Basilone (Jon Seda), whose jaw-dropping heroism renders his compatriots speechless and leads to him being reluctantly transformed into a poster-boy for selling war bonds; and Eugene Sledge (Joe Mazzello), at first rejected for service, who winds up seeing the war's horrors up close in Peleliu and Okinawa.
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