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Pacific, The (Blu-ray Review)

29 Oct, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 11/2/10
War Drama
$79.99 six-DVD set, $99.98 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars James Badge Dale, Joe Mazzello, Jon Seda, William Sadler.

As far as America is concerned, World War II began and ended with action in the Pacific theater, from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the devastation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet the predominant pop culture images of the war take place in Europe and portray the fight against the Nazis.

Tales of the Pacific are simply not as romantic a narrative as the one presented by the European theater. These aren’t stories of a sweeping march into the heart of an evil empire, liberating conquered nations one by one. The Pacific theater was a grueling struggle of Marines hopping from island to island, seeking to control airfields in remote jungles to prevent the enemy from launching an attack on the next target.

The ultimate goal, of course, was the invasion of the Japanese mainland, which could have been one of the bloodiest engagements in the history of warfare had not the use of atomic bombs brought about an end to the fighting.

The Pacific, HBO’s follow-up to the European-set Band of Brothers, takes viewers into the heart of the Pacific conflict through the eyes of three men, following their journey from enlistment to war to home again. The nature of their engagement requires a bit more exposition in the beginning but leads to some of the most harrowing war footage ever presented.

Unfortunately, the air war is left unexplored in The Pacific, but it just wouldn’t have fit the story they’re trying to tell. The miniseries isn’t so much about the fighting as it is the effect it had on the men involved.

Taking advantage of the Blu-ray format, The Pacific offers an informative picture-in-picture mode featuring interviews with historians and veterans. History buffs will enjoy a standalone field guide that provides more background information on the events depicted.

There’s also a behind-the-scenes featurette and a series of touching profiles of the real men depicted in the program.

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