Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Pacific

Last night, we finished watching the box set of The Pacific I got for BB last Christmas (well, we still have the bonus DVD to watch, just to be completist about it!). We had watched Band of Brothers a few years ago (with the same actor who's the US marine-turned-Al-Qaeda-plant in Homeland!) and I liked it, despite the violence, the blood, the guts. I think I liked The Pacific even more. I had read some reviews that were not great, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out. (I have no idea where I saw those, as it won plenty of awards, according to the Wikipedia article). And yes, it flips flops a bit between chaotic scenes at the front and life back at home or on leave. It's not as focused on the action as Band of Brothers. There are a few romances too, which men who're only interested in the war thing might not like so much.

But what worked for me is that it's based on real-life stories, the war years of John Basilone, Eugene Sledge and Robert Leckie. We watched the field guide features after each episode, and they helped us make sense of the chaos of war that the men experienced, putting each episode in its historical and personal context. It was very useful, as I have to admit that for the first couple of episodes, I had trouble figuring out who was who - men all look the same in combat fatigues and helmets!

Like Band of Brothers, or Saving Private Ryan for that matter, it shows all the horror of war, the sheer fear and terror, the senseless killing, the lack of sleep or food or basic sanitation, the chaos, the civilian casualties, and also the unlikely friendships that emerge.

Recommended viewing for any history teacher who is struggling to engage their students. And it will put them off war for ever (if they ever thought that war was a good idea).

I'm not a war-movie fan. Give me a girly weepy movie any time (Truly Madly Deeply anyone?). But The Pacific was good.

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