TV Movie Review: “The Pacific”
Updated: Jan 19
By Yuto Maruya
(Japanese translation coming soon)
“The Pacific” was a 10-part HBO weekly miniseries based on World War II which aired in the spring of 2010. The film is about the defeat of Japan from the perspective of the United States. It’s a drama based on the actual experience of three young Americans who volunteered for military duty at the same time at the opening of the Pacific War. The film takes alternate looks at the perspectives of the three.
There are three central figures. The first is Eugene Sledge (Sledgehammer). He was born in 1923 in Mobile, Alabama. He participated in the Battle of Peleliu and the Battle of Okinawa. He belonged to the Marine Corps 3rd Battalion K Company Mortar Corps and was nicknamed Sledgehammer by a close friend.
The second is Robert Leckie. He enlisted after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Leckie participated in the Battle of Guadalcanal and the Battle of Peleliu. However, unlike Sledge, he did not participate in the Battle of Okinawa. Leckie was injured by the blast at the Battle of Peleliu. He became a newspaper reporter after the end of the war.
And finally, there is John Basilone. Basilone fought on Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. Basilone received the highest honor of the U.S. military at the Battle of Guadalcanal. However, in the battle of Iwo Jima, Basilone was killed in action by a mortar.
“The Pacific” was directed by Tom Hanks. Joseph Mazzello plays Sledge, one of the main characters. He was a child actor in the movie Jurassic Park. James Badge Dale played the role of Leckie, and was also in Iron Man 3 and World War Z. The cast also features Rami Malek, who starred in Bohemian Rhapsody.
This drama is based on the memoir of Leckie and Sledge. Leckie became a correspondent for the Associated Press after the end of the war. Leckie wrote nearly forty books, including his combat memoir, Helmet for My Pillow in 1957. Sledge received a PhD in biology after the end of the war and got a teaching job at a university in Alabama. From notes he kept throughout the war, Sledge eventually wrote his memoir With the Breed at Peleliuand Okinawa in 1981. Basilone was awarded a posthumous Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions on Iwo Jima.
The Purple Heart is given to soldiers of the entire United States Army who have been killed or injured in operations, including combat. Since 1945, stamps have been issued with Basilone’s likeness, and ships and highways have been christened in his honor.
This drama shows not only the feelings of the US military, but also the feelings of the Japanese military. There is a scene where one of the U.S. soldier’s shouts at a dead Japanese soldier to shoot more guns. In another scene, Japanese soldiers are forced to charge while shouting “Banzai” even if they didn’t want to. This drama conveys the suffering of both Japanese and American soldiers and the misery of war. War is an event that greatly upsets a person's life. We who live in the present must never cause a war.