Plot Summary: A 10-part mini-series from the creators of Band of Brothers telling the intertwined stories of three Marines during America’s battle with the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II.
Stars: James Badge Dale, Joseph Mazzello and Jon Seda
Serious Jest: (Watch it Live) This series is like a masterfully-cooked steak: take one bite, and you’ll want to shovel big mouthfuls down your throat as fast as possible…but if you watch too much at one time, it could leave you feeling sick to your stomach. Each episode focuses on different historical aspects of the Pacific campaign, one of the defining eras in Marine Corps history. The series does a great job of debunking the myth of a glorious war, in which everything was dominant ass-kicking and photo ops of flags being raised. Those Marines were inserted into terrible terrain against an incredibly tough and savvy enemy. What they accomplished in those battles was the result of an esprit de corps unlike that of any other fighting force. But it also came at great cost. This series allows the viewer to glimpse just a tiny speck–all that one could hope for from a television series–of what those Marines sacrificed.
I loved the real-life footage narrated by Tom Hanks at the beginning of each episode. This series is a great way for one who does not know about the Pacific campaign to learn about it generally in an interesting manner, and then follow up later with the corresponding literature.
There were a couple of things that bothered me while watching the series, but because HBO Films is usually pretty thorough, I’ll give the company the benefit of the doubt enough so as not to outright conclude that it was wrong:
1. Marines kept referring to staff non-commissioned officers as “sergeants.” Nowadays, this is an Army custom. Marines do not call a staff sergeant or gunnery sergeant “sergeant.” My subsequent research, however, indicates that this may have been the custom back then.
2. Marines were saluting non-commissioned officers. As far as I know, this has never been done.
If anyone can further clarify as to these two points, please comment on this post. I’d love to hear from you.