Chapter 54 – Mysterious Identity
The broadcast of the ninth episode of “The Pacific,” caused a sensation.
This episode was about the famous Battle of Iwo Jima, but the movies “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Flags of Our Fathers” had already tackled this war from different perspectives. “The Pacific” avoided the battle itself and instead reexamined this arduous and remarkable battle from different angles.
While inspecting the war ruins, Eugene unexpectedly discovered a family who had died tragically in a house by the roadside, with only a crying baby left behind. Before leaving, Eugene also found a dying woman. Through his experiences during the war, Eugene went from being cautious to cold-blooded, but in the end, he came close to the woman, embraced her and waited for her to take her last breath.
The subtle contrast between numbness and indifference towards the baby and tenderness and emotion towards the dying woman sparked a heated discussion among everyone. Not only did audiences leave messages online, but professional film critics and general audiences also expressed their enthusiasm for the show.
As Kyle Smith said in The Wall Street Journal, the delicacy and depth exhibited by Eugene in this scene are not only stunning, but it also sublimated the entire series. It was not until this moment that the intention of the entire series was fully revealed, bringing a storm of reflection to every viewer.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, after experiencing controversy at the beginning, “The Pacific” showed astonishing depth of thought, questioning humanity, war’s pain, and the return of thought, once again achieving a rare classic status.
Vanity Fair on the other hand said, “Starting low and ending high, ‘The Pacific’ has experienced an exciting roller coaster journey. Just like the excitement of the entire process, the climax near the end bombed the audience, unreservedly presenting the pain of war to every viewer. Renly’s performance touched the soul of every viewer!”
The New York Times commented that “This is a work that makes people re-examine themselves and re-examine veterans. We see the cruelty and horror of war but not the soldiers’ scars. When Eugene, played by Renly Hall, tenderly embraced the dying woman, the integration and opposition of life and death made the audience feel for the first time that living on is such a difficult thing.”
The authoritative media and the Yahoo community’s users walked on the same track for the first time. Although most of the media still refuse to put all the credit on Renly’s shoulders like “The Wall Street Journal” did, as they insist that the success of the series still lies in its overall strength, especially the sublimation of ideological weight. However, they still unanimously admitted that Renly’s performance has become an unmissable highlight in the latter half of the series. This 20-year-old newcomer shined like a comet on.
IMDb’s rating soared to 8.5, and the media’s overall evaluation miraculously increased to 87 points, slightly ahead of “Band of Brothers”. When there was only one episode left before “The Pacific” ended, HBO finally breathed a sigh of relief, not only because professional critics and netizens reached a consensus and praised the series, but also because the satisfaction of subscribers returned to normal levels, even exceeded expectations.
According to HBO’s official survey, the satisfaction of subscribers with “The Pacific” has successfully surpassed “Band of Brothers”. Even if the unfavorable situation at the beginning is ignored, this result was unexpected by people.
As previously mentioned in a Yahoo community discussion thread, “The Pacific” is a mini-series, not a movie, and cannot be judged simply by one episode. It should be viewed as a whole. Similarly, “The Pacific” focuses on three independent individuals. As long as the audience can establish a connection with the three characters, the influence of this series on the audience is likely to surpass that of “Band of Brothers”.
When “The Pacific” was aired in its entirety, the enthusiasm of netizens finally completely erupted. At the end of the story, Eugene sits lonely under the camphor tree at the door of his home, looking lost at the gradually reddening horizon in the distance. Although he survived, he is only left with a broken soul, and the Sledge couple’s son, who was once an enthusiastic, full of vitality, sensitive, determined, and hopeful young man, will forever stay on that blood-stained battlefield.
The surging reaction wave completely ignited the Yahoo community, and the number of replies to the discussion thread hit a new high. Netizens were eager to express their views and share their opinions on the “The Pacific”, the war itself, and Eugene Sledge, and then find like-minded people to discuss with. The discussion heat of this reaction far exceeded that of “Band of Brothers.”
If “Band of Brothers” made people’s blood boil, then “The Pacific” made people’s minds wander.
The number of IMDb ratings for “The Pacific” surpassed 100,000 with a solid score of 8.6, successfully ranking in the top 70 on the list of top 250 classic TV shows.
If compared with the excellent score of 9.5 for the great drama that is “Band of Brothers,” this achievement is nothing worth boasting about, but for “The Pacific” that had a rough beginning, such a result is already commendable. Moreover, it remains to be seen what direction the rating will go after more viewers watch the show on DVD. It took “Band of Brothers” nine years to build its throne as the IMDb’s number one TV show, so the road ahead of “The Pacific” is still very long.
In 2001, “Band of Brothers” set off a wave of war themed works, and people were constantly discussing this wonderful and extraordinary series. When the DVD was released later, it even broke the sales record for the sales of DVDs. This record lasted for a full nine years, and no one has been able to break it, which shows the profound influence of this series.
However, the true success of “Band of Brothers” lied in the fame of the golden duo Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, as that drama had that many achievements because of the quality of the entire work and not because of the ability of a single individual. As time passed, people discovered that many well-known actors gathered in this series, including Damian Lewis, Kirk Acevedo, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Simon Pegg, James McAvoy, and so on.
Years later, if you revisit the “Band of Brothers”, you will find out that it was a star factory, and every familiar face would bring surprise. But in fact, for a long time after 2001, these actors did not benefit from “Band of Brothers” – they did not become instantly famous, did not receive a flood of invitations, and their careers did not take off.
In 2010, “The Pacific” once again awakened people’s enthusiasm for war genre, with the discussion heat on Yahoo Community remaining high from the first episode. The development curve of ups and downs challenged the nerves of countless viewers, and finally successfully “The Pacific” created its own “masterpiece” reputation. Although there was still a lot of talk about whether this work can be called a classic, it cannot be denied that the cooperation between Tom and Steven once again delivered a wonderful show.
However, “The Pacific” has made one actor stand out. “Eugene Sledgehammer Sledge”, a character who supported two-thirds of the drama series, touching the hearts of countless viewers. Especially in that moving scene of the ninth episode, making the audience shed tears. After the end of the series, the discussions that were focused on Eugene even exceeded that of the drama itself.
At one point, people began to inquire: Who played Eugene Sledge? Who is the actor that brought such a calm and elegant performance?
Yes, his name is Renly Hall. He is a new actor and the core soul of “The Pacific”… This information has been widely known since the premiere, through Tom Hanks’ introduction. With a casual search, you can find it on various news. At first, there were controversies about this new actor, and many people expressed concerns about whether it was the right decision to hand over such an important role to a newcomer with no acting experience.
Now it seems that Steven and Tom’s risky gamble has achieved the glory for the “The Pacific.” That bold decision has also become a wise choice, because they were able to recognize a talent.
But what about other information?
Searching the entire web, there was little information about Renly. It seems that this actor really sprang out of a rock, with no personal history, no bio, or even without anyone knowing when his birthday is – Wait, does anyone know how old Renly is this year?
This kind of chaos was filled with a mysterious feeling. You see, in today’s society where social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are widely popular, anyone can become a source of news. Not to mention embarrassing moments from elementary school, which can all be dug up. As long as any of Renly’s elementary school classmates or close friends that saw the trend on the Internet, came forward and reveal some information, that would be enough. A glimpse of the iceberg could become a breakthrough, and then reveal the entire blueprint.
However, there was nothing. Even during the two and a half months that “The Pacific” aired, with online discussions rampant and noisy, no one came forward to reveal information about Renly.
That is strange, that is really too strange. Could it be that Renly lived in a backward rural area before? The people there are simple and honest, not fond of gossip, not keen on the Internet, and the information they get is backward and isolated. Therefore, they didn’t even notice the trend? This is currently the only logical explanation.
Online discussions have not encountered any setbacks at all, but instead have become even more intense. All signs show that the biggest winner of “The Pacific” is Renly. Renly was the biggest strength of this work, and this work also helped Renly on another level.
However, how long can this kind of heat last? Netizens are always forgetful. Trends come and go quickly. What kind of benefits can this heat bring to Renly? The enthusiasm of online discussions has limited influence on the movie industry in real life, especially if it is because of a mini-series like “The Pacific” with no box office pressure, no reputation burden, and no awards season involved.
Does all of this have any meaning for Hollywood?
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