Chapter 51 – Rising to Prominence
The three-minute video quickly came to an end. William sat in his chair, his thoughts slowly settling down. The excitement, restlessness, confusion, and anxiety from just now all seemed to have dissipated.
A strange emotion surged within his chest—there was some loss, some loneliness, some regret. “But I was late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life. And when I die alone, when I die alone, when I die, I’ll be on time.” These poetic words lightly tapped on his heart like a drumbeat but transformed into a deafening echo that reverberated deep within his soul. The bittersweet taste of suffocation slowly spread.
We are all Cleopatras, wearing costumes in the script written by God, playing the roles that others see us as, becoming supporting characters in someone else’s story. We gradually lose ourselves and forget the true nature of our souls. As a result, we miss out on our dreams, freedom, and true love, standing in place in a daze, allowing regret and remorse to gnaw away at our hearts. We try to make a change, clenching our fists, but ultimately we let go. We miss out on our own lives, but when death comes, we will not miss out again.
Unknowingly, his eyes began to moisten, but the corners of his mouth formed a slight arc. This pathetic appearance of him crying and laughing at the same time seemed absurd, yet so real.
Before his brain could react, William clicked the play button again, then leaned back in his chair quietly, watching the computer screen in silence, enjoying this performance quietly. His fingertips seemed to touch the fleeting images of time flowing, grand and magnificent, yet delicate and graceful. The dancing music notes fluttered and landed lightly on his shoulders, afraid to disturb the touch of melancholy in his thoughts.
The video ended again, but William still sat quietly in his chair. On the screen, Renly was holding a guitar, with a faint smile on his face, his fingers still on the strings. The lazy orange light seemed to fall down warmly and softly, so that even time had become real.
“You think…” came Graham’s whispered voice, hesitating for a moment, “you think this is like that rich boy talking about his inner thoughts?”
William was stunned for a moment, then suddenly smiled, feeling that Graham had accurately captured that elusive charm. But his smile faded as quickly as it had appeared, and he shook his head firmly. “Not really. It should be said that Renly does show the shadow of that rich boy, but it’s far more than that. His temperament…” William tried to find the appropriate words to describe it but found that language was so pale and could only stop there. “It’s different.”
Originally, William only wanted to look up some information about Renly, but unexpectedly he gained something more. He couldn’t distinguish whether he liked the song he just heard because of Renly or if he liked Renly even more because of the song. However, what he could be sure of was that the “The Pacific” tonight brought him exciting new discoveries.
“Who is the original singer of that song we listened to?” William curiously asked. That song had a kind of power to move the heart that made people unable to resist being immersed in it, carefully savoring every note and every word.
Graham shrugged, “Isn’t there a name of the song written here? Just search for it.” Seeing William opening Google to search, Graham stopped him, “Cleopatra is the name of the Egyptian queen, you can’t find it by searching the name directly. Try searching on Amazon or iTunes.”
As William started to search, Graham thought of something else, “No wonder this video has no views, it’s actually a folk song.”
In 2010, the market for even country songs was shrinking, let alone jazz, soul, blues, and folk music. Looking at the Billboard charts, country music still dominated the top 100, with fifteen to twenty country songs, but their highest ranking was usually only around twenty. Getting the top spot was almost impossible.
Therefore, currently there is simply no market for folk songs. When Renly uploaded this video on YouTube, it was quickly buried by other videos, how could anyone find it?
“Found it!” William exclaimed in surprise, “It’s actually Renly’s own creation!” William pointed to the single on iTunes, which clearly stated, “Lyrics and composition by Renly Hall; arrangement, vacant.” This was obviously a single recorded by an independent musician without an arranger.
Without any hesitation, William directly paid $0.99 to download the song, he was so excited that he couldn’t help rubbing his palms together, but it was still not enough to express his inner excitement, “I want to share it, share it with other people in the forum.”
Quickly returning to the Yahoo community post, the number of replies was still over eight hundred, but within a short period of time, it had surpassed two thousand. The rate of increase was truly alarming, which also showed the discussion fever that “The Pacific” had caused after its premiere tonight.
William first created a new post, “‘The Pacific’ Rich Boy: Renly Hall”, then briefly mentioned his discovery and attached the YouTube video link. After posting the thread, he immediately returned to the previous post, copying and pasting his reply, feeling satisfied.
Unexpectedly, someone joined the discussion just as the post was published.
“I was just searching for information on this rich boy, but I didn’t expect to find it here!”
“So, this is the rich boy who couldn’t join the army because of his heart murmur? His eyes are so beautiful, every expression and smile of his were like his performance, that is too rare!”
“Oh my god, finally found him!”
“He can even sing? What the hell? Is he a singer or an actor?”
“There’s no information about this newcomer on the internet, where did he come from?”
“Does he have any background? Yesterday at the premiere, both Hanks and Spielberg praised him. Is he a relative of some celebrity?”
“Who? Who are you talking about? What rich boy? Why do I have no impression at all of him? Are you talking about John Basilone?”
The discussion quickly spread, and on the night of the “The Pacific”, it was just beginning to ferment.
After the first episode of “The Pacific” aired, it became the hottest topic of discussion for the next 72 hours without any suspense. The popular posts on Yahoo Community received more than 100,000 replies during this period.
Yahoo had to block the most popular threads to avoid affecting the speed of opening the posts, and then opened a second discussion thread.
Even the discussion thread about Renly received more than 10,000 replies within three days, and the popularity of the post remained high.
However, the audience still felt reserved about the start of “The Pacific,” and the criticism of slow pace, fragmented clues, and vague themes was incessant, especially considering the reputation of “Band of Brothers,” people’s harshness reached its peak after the first episode aired.
The real-time rating on IMDb was the best reflection. With nearly 6,000 ratings, the score for “The Pacific” temporarily stands at 7.7. Not to mention comparing it with “Band of Brothers” which scored 9.5, it hasn’t even reached the rating of 8. This was definitely a Waterloo, and it can be seen that the audience’s high expectations have not been met.
Of course, this is only based on the first episode. If the series doesn’t meet their expectations from the start many people often impulsively give a lower evaluation than it is expected. As the series progresses, this score is bound to change.
In contrast to the audience’s opinion, of professional film critics were full of praise. The comprehensive evaluation of 32 media outlets was as high as 86 points, not only equaling the score of 86 points achieved by “Band of Brothers” in the past, but also it was slightly ahead in the subdivided rating. 27 media outlets gave positive reviews, and 5 media outlets gave mixed reviews. There were no negative reviews, which is two fewer than “Band of Brothers.”
Time magazine gave it a full score of 100 points, “This is a work that is cruel enough and at the same time delicate enough. The series shows incredible depth in character shaping. It is different from ‘Band of Brothers’ in its perception of the fate of the masses and the cruelty of war. ‘The Pacific’ will make the audience deeply immersed in the fate of every soldier: what should they do after they return from the battlefield? Provided that they can come back.”
The New York Times gave it a rating of 90 points, “This is not a perfect work, but it ambitiously, tightly, and delicately displays the blueprint of war: the war is not only about life and death, but also about the torment of every soul. Spielberg and Hanks’ collaboration once again reveals their thinking on different sides of war.”
It is worth mentioning that Entertainment Weekly focused on the actors.
“Clearly, this is a work about soldiers, and the selection of the three main characters was carefully considered. In the first episode, Robert Leckie’s psychological shock was displayed, making people curious about where he will go next. What will John Basilone and Eugene Sledge experience? Among the three actors’ initial appearances, Renly Hall, who had no acting experience, brought an amazing performance, making people have higher expectations for the follow-up.”
“Entertainment Weekly” gave an 86-point rating.
It can be seen that the opinions of the audience and the media have subtle differences, which also attracted more attention to “The Pacific”. People began to wonder how the subsequent trend of this work would be. Will the opinions of the audience and the media change? Will the three main actors bring surprises?
Among them, the name of “Renly Hall” benefited from Tom and Steven’s emphasis at the premiere night and made him successfully stood out. Although his role was very limited in the first episode and his initial impact was not obvious, as time went on, the frequency of his name being mentioned became higher and higher. Things are deviating from the original track, and even Tom, who strongly supported the use of Renly, did not anticipate this.
The impact has arrived!
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