Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This is Mrs. Amanda's Opinion on THE PACIFIC: Episode 1

I have only seen two episodes of Band of Brothers – the one where that guy goes into a building too early and gets his face blown off, and the one where they take over the concentration camp – but my husband, father and sister have watched every episode about a bazillion times and know all the lines by heart and can recognize every actor on the spot and make a little inside comments about them and are superduper Americans. I, on the other hand, have a hard time motivating to watch 10 or so episodes where people get their faces blown off and millions of Jews die in a holocaust. That’s just me.

But Kyle and my dad and my sister were all super amped at the mere mention of The Pacific, and so I thought I’d give the first few shows a try. Kyle liked it – you can read his review here

I, however, didn’t care for the first episode one bit…but not because of anything sad or gruesome (although I’m pretty sure I saw some faces blown off). Here are the things I didn’t like it: 

The characters were generic and stereotypical. Check out this crew: 
  • The Italian kid with a big family
  • The Hispanic kid who is proud to be an American 
  • The softy rich kid who just wants to serve his country 
  • The curly-haired writer/poet/scholar/philosopher whose dad doesn’t show emotion even at the thought of his precious progeny never coming back (DAD: “Goodbye, Son.” SON: “…” Deep.) 
  • The handsome, capable southern kid
  • The brash and eager-to-fight (and probably Midwestern) kid

I can appreciate that it’s a first episode and it’s meant to be used for an introduction, but no one was made interesting enough to want to see again next week. They could knock off every one of these guys and bring in a whole new bunch in the next episode and I wouldn’t care (or notice) in the slightest. You know that Italian kid and his Hispanic buddy? I didn’t realize that they weren’t actually with the main group on the island until they showed up with their own company at the end. That is not creating memorable characters.

Oh, and the softy rich kid? His parents won’t let him enlist because he has a heart murmur. Hey HBO: If you’re going to set up a big cliffhanger of a storyline about this fella, don’t show him in uniform in every single preview for the show. It gives it away that he actually goes to war. 

The dialogue was either non-existent or predictable. HBO has a pretty firm grip on the online version of this show and so I couldn’t take any screenshots, but if I could, they would all be of the characters walking around with their jaws agape and nothing coming out. I have never seen so much mouth-breathing and blank stares on television. When they did say something, it was just reinforcing said stereotypes in the characters.

And the big long dialogue was this big long speech from the Colonel about why they were fighting? It was the kind of speech that should have made your heart swell, made you want to go enlist yourself. But, nope. It was just big and long (that’s what she said). And it wasn’t the delivery that made it unmemorable, it was the writing (the Colonel was played by the very awesome William Sadler, who did the best he could with nothing).

The editing was all over the place. One moment, they are kissing their families goodbye, the next they are cavorting on a sweaty boat with memorable lines like, “I’m gonna kill all those Japs!” Womp womp. This bunch of sweaty, brown-haired white boys all look the same. Don’t make us stretch even farther to identify them with choppy editing.

So there’s my bitchfest on The Pacific. I told Kyle I would stick around for two more episodes so who knows? Maybe I’ll eat my words. Or maybe I’ll just sit down and watch Band of Brothers, which is starting to sound good...or at least better than this.