Chapter 49 – Off Track
“Something’s missing?” Graham couldn’t help repeating William’s words, and he also began to think about it. After watching the first episode of “The Pacific,” that familiar formula and familiar taste, didn’t seem to evoke the same passionate enthusiasm he had felt when he first watched “Band of Brothers.” So, what was missing?
William frowned and couldn’t explain it logically. “I don’t know, but I just feel like there’s something missing, it is as if there is a lack of chemistry.” They weren’t professional film critics, just passionate viewers.
William and Graham looked at each other and fell into silence for a moment. The high emotions before the broadcast suddenly got stuck in mid-air, and they felt awkward. “I’m not saying I don’t like it,” William explained. “Honestly, I think the series is still very exciting, and I really like it. It’s a work created by Spielberg and Hanks, after all, but…”
It was this “but” that made people feel confused. Graham suddenly suggested, “Why don’t we go to Yahoo Community and IMDb to see the comments?” After communicating with others, perhaps their questions could be answered.
“Good idea!” William regained his energy. As a fanatic of “Band of Brothers,” he hoped more than anyone that “The Pacific” would become another classic.
So, William ran back to his room quickly like a tornado, with Graham following closely behind. The Taylor couple sitting in the living room didn’t have time to react, they just heard a messy sound of footsteps going up the stairs. “Billy, how was the series? Was it good?” Mrs. Taylor shouted but didn’t get any response. The couple exchanged a look and then laughed helplessly.
Opening Yahoo Community, the discussion thread for the first episode of “The Pacific” was ranked first in real-time popularity. It already had more than 500 posts less than ten minutes after the end of the show. Some fans must have been participating in the discussion while watching the live broadcast.
Clicking on the thread, as expected, the first few posts were all excited exclamations about the series finally airing, and it wasn’t until after fifty or so posts that people began to discuss the series. William and Graham were obviously not the only viewers who felt that something was missing. In the thread, many people expressed similar doubts, feeling that the series lacked some spark. There were also a few radical fans who cursed, saying that the quality of “The Pacific” was absolutely terrible and not on the same level as “Band of Brothers.” They thought it was garbage.
When he got to the 231st post, a long reply made William stop scrolling down with his mouse.
“Undoubtedly, due to the existence of such a phenomenal drama as ‘Band of Brothers,’ all viewers had great expectations for ‘The Pacific.’ However, after actually watching it, there was inevitably a sense of disappointment. But I hold a different view.
When the first episode of ‘Band of Brothers’ aired, it did not receive rave reviews. The excellence of the series comes from the completeness and sublimation of the ten episodes as a whole. Upon re-watching the first episode, the feeling was completely different, and the impression of the first episode has also been elevated. Now that ‘The Pacific’ has only aired its first episode, it is biased to judge the entire mini-series based solely on the first episode.
After watching the first episode of ‘The Pacific’ there existed a feeling that something was missing, in short, the core idea. In ‘Band of Brothers,’ each episode had a core idea, and each episode even had a different protagonist, making the story thread of the series very condensed, with narrative pace and emphasis highlighted. However, when it came to ‘The Pacific,’ the first episode lacked the cohesion of a core idea, which resulted in the content feeling somewhat scattered and the pace somewhat unbalanced.
The first episode of ‘The Pacific’ can be divided into three parts: the daily life before departure, the adaptation rhythm just after landing on Guadalcanal, and the thrilling aftermath of the first battle. The emphasis of these three parts is different, especially the three main characters in the first part, of whom only one is left in the latter two parts, causing the audience to wonder if the story is incomplete. Additionally, the theme sublimation centered around Robert Leckie also failed to give a decisive blow.
It can be seen that ‘The Pacific’ wants to highlight the psychological contrast – the warmth of family before entering the battlefield, the brutal and bloody reality after entering the war, and the killing game before the end, which not only shook Robert Leckie but also every audience member in front of the television. The distortion of human nature caused by war is truly chilling.
From this perspective, this series has the potential to be as good as its predecessor. Unfortunately, on the one hand, the portrayal techniques were superficial, and on the other hand, the content of the first episode is already quite crowded, making the character images not yet full enough, and trying to achieve too much in the first episode is indeed too difficult.”
“Band of Brothers” excels at showcasing different aspects of war in each episode, examining every aspect of the battlefield from different perspectives. The show constructs a powerful and awe-inspiring portrayal of the war by building together a cast of flesh-and-blood characters. Now, it can only be speculated that “The Pacific” intends to focus on three main characters – though this idea still needs to be proven by future episodes. The disadvantage of this approach is that it weakens the group concept, but the advantage is that each of the main characters will become more fleshed out and vivid.
Personally, I am full of expectations for “The Pacific”. If “Band of Brothers” depicts the reality and brutality of war, then can “The Pacific” show the impact of war on each individual? Otherwise, the portrayal of family life seems unnecessary. If successful, “The Pacific” will have the qualifications to be on par with “Band of Brothers”!
Therefore, it is premature to conclude the quality of the show at this point. “Band of Brothers” was deeply impressive, and “The Pacific” at least deserves more time and opportunity, as a ten-episode mini-series, this is not too difficult, right?
It is worth mentioning that of the three main characters introduced so far, the most impressive was not Robert Leckie, who leads the main plot of the first episode, nor John Basilone, the well-known American war hero, but rather the young man from the wealthy family. Is there anyone else who shares my opinion?
When he appeared, the sunshine and time seemed to stand still for him, and the regrets, anger, struggles, bitterness, and longings left in his bright eyes easily outlined his character! It is hard to believe that I am now looking forward to what will happen to him when he steps onto the battlefield! He shouldn’t become cannon fodder, right? He looks like one of the three main characters!”
This lengthy response sparked a heated discussion, with some people agreeing, some refuting, some sneering, some cursing, some writing rational analysis, some observing, and some had sudden realizations. However, one thing most people agreed on was that this is a mini-series that needs to be watched in its entirety before making a comprehensive judgment.
Only a small group of fanatical viewers believed that the poor quality of the first episode had already ruined the entire series, which was unforgivable as its predecessor was a series like “Band of Brothers.” They even passionately called on netizens to give “The Pacific” a one-star rating on IMDb. However, judging by the current IMDb ratings, there were not many viewers willing to respond to this call.
After reading this reply, William suddenly became enlightened. “So that’s it!” His eyes brightened again. “Obviously, this time Spielberg and his team have greater ambitions and want to explore more profound themes because they can’t just repeat the formula of ‘Band of Brothers.’ In terms of comradery and friendship, no other work can surpass ‘Band of Brothers.’ So, the first episode is just the beginning!”
William couldn’t help but clench his fists, his emotions soaring once again. Due to his excessively high expectations, he was too eager, almost hoping that the first episode would be so brilliant that it would take his breath away. But in reality, this was impossible because “The Pacific” is a mini-series, not a movie. Even “Band of Brothers,” with its brilliance and classic moments, become truly great after all ten episodes were aired.
“No wonder!” Graham also suddenly realized, “I told you, when I watched it, it was thrilling and exciting, but after it was over, I felt like something was missing.” Graham nudged William’s shoulder and exclaimed excitedly, “That last scene was really well filmed. I think it’s even better than ‘Band of Brothers,’ and it reminds me of the scene where Winters shoots the lone German soldier!”(T/N – Richard D. Winters, character that was played by Damian Lewis in “Band of Brothers”.)
“The most memorable part for me was, like that netizen …” William leaned in to take a closer look at the screen, the registered account was named “Brando Fanatic,” so it seemed to be a fan of Marlon Brando. “It’s the rich guy’s son.” Then William chuckled, “Because he’s the only unlucky one in the first episode. He actually failed to join the military.”
Graham couldn’t help but roll his eyes in exasperation. “If you put it that way, the girl that Robert Leckie wanted to write to is the most impressive for me, she was really pretty.”
“You see, it’s not just me who thinks that way.” William scrolled through the posts and pulled Graham along to continue reading.
“‘Brando Fanatic’, I agree with you, that rich boy was really outstanding, his performance seems to have a natural halo, making it impossible for people to look away!”
“Don’t people think that the rich boy was really handsome? Oh my god, his figure flying in the wind on a bicycle, his eyes revealing a broken heart full of despair, I’m about to melt for him.”
“That rich boy was really outstanding, Robert Leckie has a lot of inner drama in his performance, but it always felt a bit off, while that boy appeared for less than three minutes and effortlessly molded into the character. To be honest, I can’t wait to see him on the battlefield!”
“What do you mean a rich boy, his name is Eugene! Eugene! They’ve said it many times in the TV drama, how ignorant.”
“Does anyone know who plays that rich boy?”
As they were having a discussion, it seems like they were starting to go off-topic.
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