2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)
Thursday, April 29, 2010
HBO's The Pacific is growing on me...
Watched the last two episodes (7 & 8) of HBO's The Pacific on DVR last night that covered the savage fighting on the tiny island of Peleliu and its toll in both the lives and sanity of the Marines in the show. I have to admit coming in as the 3rd act of the Steven Speilberg/Tom Hanks salute to WWII ongoing memorial on film it had big shoes to fill. It has filled them admirably. It took me a while to get into the show. Maybe it was because it was about Marines and being from the Army side of the house it takes a while to warm up to those ego machines called U.S. Marines. More likely it was because the producers used very few well known actors in the series so it took a while to be able to get to know or readily identify the characters. I have to admit that even though he is not one of the primary characters focused on the show that I have become a big fan of "Gunny" Haney, the old grizzled veteran on the show who can shout down an officer on his range, conduct bayonet training by himself in the jungle, shower naked in the rain at camp in the middle of a road, apparently out smell a dog sniffing for Japanese soldiers and most importantly for the show break down just like any other man after extensive combat overwhelms him, showing both the viewers and the other marines in the film that they are all as capable as the next man for both greatness and humility. In the final scene of episode 8, after breaking down due to the stress of combat (in his 2nd world war) Gunney Haney is leaning against the railing of the ship taking the now battered marines to their next mission lighting a smoke with PVT Sledge (one of the main characters who is shown as young, idealistic and naive in the beginning of the show and develops into a respected veteran by the end of episode 8). When they both have their cigs lit Haney pauses and passes his treasured Zippo lighter with the 1st Marine Division patch on it to the younger Sledge.."Here, keep it" he says....symbolically passing on the corps to the younger men of his unit and Sledge in particular.
Overall, the production values of The Pacific are as high, if not higher than that of Band of Brothers, which is what this show is most compared too for obvious reasons. Given that the production had a much larger budget (based largely on the success of Band of Brothers) and they had not only the lessons of BoB to learn from but also massive advances in both CGI and special effects to work with, I would expect as much from this production.
The use of weapons in the show seems to be pretty accurate (most of the Marines are armed with Springfield '03 rifles early in the show and the 1919 .30 machine guns are water cooled models) and if they are using dummy weapons for many of the extras it is hard to notice. There does seem to be an abundance of M-1 carbines used in the show which I am not sure as to the accuracy of. The M-1 was designed to be used by non-front line troops and others whose duties did not involve directly using a rifle to fight (Sledge is issued one as a mortar man for example) but there seems to be an very liberal sprinkling of them among the cast. Take a look at the following picture taken on Iwo Jima in 1945..
Other being pure, awesome win - one thing I notice is that other than the Marine on the extreme left of the photo with a M-1 Carbine silhouetted against the see, all of the other weapons the Marines are holding look to be M1 Garands. Not that this is a statistically significant representation of all the Marines in the Pacific during WWII, but notable none the less in the argument of my observation.
Overall, after a slow "getting to know you" portion of the first few episodes, this series has more than managed to get my attention and has become a "must see" portion of my weekly schedule.
...and yes, it is no small coincidence that this series started and my interest in the M1 Garand peaked..