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The Pacific On HBO

I’m a bit behind on my HBO watching since I don’t have a subscription at home.  The only time I do watch HBO is in a hotel room when I’m traveling.  Yesterday, I saw a new (or at least new to me) preview of the upcoming mini-series entitled The Pacific.  At first I thought it was an episode of Band of Brothers.  If any of you have seen that, you know that that was a great series and one of the few boxed DVD sets I actually own.  But no, this wasn’t it, it had a more Pacific Ocean type feel to it.  I’ve always loved war movies, especially the ones about World War II.  Produced by HBO and DreamWorks, The Pacific is a miniseries about the Second World War.

While on the surface it might seems similar with its familiar grayish-green army tint, be assured that it is completely different.  Band of Brothers focused more on the Army’s involvement on a European level while this series will be about the Marine Corp and their trials in the Pacific (hence the name of the series).  Bruce McKenna was the co-executive producer of BOB (Band of Brothers hereout) which brings reputability to the already reliable channel.  Of course what would a WWII drama be without the tandem of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.  They’re synonymous like how Michael Bay is to big explosions.

Ironically, while the show is set in the Pacific, filming is mainly done in Australia.  Since casting and its initial budget of $100M, it has spiraled upwards of $150M.  It’s great if you’re the Australian government since you’ve been paid over half of that and that it is the most expensive series ever made in Australia.  But then again, what would an HBO series be without breaking some type of record before it even began.

The series is based on two memoirs of Marines, With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge and Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie.  Along with them, John Basilone’s story also gets woven into the series.  Combine those three and it tells of a saga as the war against imperial Japan rages.  In typical HBO style, I would think that they would start each show like how BOB did, with a real-life interview clip of the actual Marines.  With Hanks and Speilberg behind the helm, they will feature a number of significant battles in the War.  Those will include the 1st Marine Division at Guadalcanal, Pelelio, Cape Gloucester, and of course the historic Battle of Iwo Jima.  Sure Clint Eastwood has tackled this in his two movie feature, but you can be sure that Speilberg will be a bit more battle-intenstive.

If you are war junkie and appreciate the military for what they do along for what they stand for, it is imperative that you watch this series.  With a history of Saving Private Ryan and BOB, there is no possible way that this falls short of anything but excellent.  The Pacific premieres on HBO on March 14.

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