Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cimmerian sighting: Adrift in The Pacific


I’ve always had a fascination with World War II. When I was a kid I played with army soldiers and guns, pretend battles with friends that always pitted the U.S. vs. Germany. When I got older I started to read about the war, broadening my interest from its tanks and planes and guns to its root causes, its personalities, its tactics and triumphs, and its tragedies.

But it wasn’t really until 1998’s Saving Private Ryan that I grasped the true hell of combat. Even now, some 12 years later, when I think about those landing craft approaching the beaches at Normandy, my palms break out in sweat, my heart begins to race, and my damn testicles crawl up inside my body.

I had the same reaction watching 2001’s Band of Brothers. When Easy Company’s paratroopers bail out over France into heavy flak and tracer bullets, landing spread across hostile fields in which enemy soldiers wait below, wanting only to kill them, my first thought was an incredulous, Men actually did this?

The memories of these scenes left me eagerly anticipating the 10-part HBO miniseries The Pacific, which switches the action from the European theatre of war to the savage battles waged against the Japanese. Having recently read With the Old Breed—an outstanding combat memoir by Marine infantryman Eugene Sledge, and one of the books upon which the mini-series is based—I knew The Pacific had the underpinnings to be very, very good. And with the same superstar producer duo that brought us both Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers—Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks—I was hoping that lightning would strike thrice with The Pacific.

To read the rest of this post, visit The Cimmerian Web site.

5 comments:

Trey said...

I've been enjoying The Pacific too. It's really well done.

Eric D. Lehman said...

No HBO! I have to wait for the DVDs...

David J. West said...

Same here, gotta wait for the DVD's, but I do have high hopes, and I never have high hopes for TV anymore.

Brian Murphy said...

I think it will be worth the wait for you. Again, I'll wait until I've seen all 10 before passing judgement, but so far, so good.

I'd be waiting too if not for my dad. He's also got a 48-inch high-def TV, which is a lot better than mine :)

Bruce said...

I've been watching this at my dad's place every Sunday. He's got a nice setup. It's a great show. If you haven't, you should check out the recently released on DVD 'WWII in HD' series that the History Channel did.