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The Pacific



As a sister production to "Band of Brothers," "The Pacific" doesn't quite live up to the epic success of HBO's first miniseries on "The Greatest Generation." But it comes damn close.

The similarities are obvious. "Band of Brothers" writer Bruce McKenna spearheaded the 10-part companion series with Stephen Ambrose's son, Hugh Ambrose, serving as project consultant. "The Pacific," which had a budget of more than $150 million, is also co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Eugene Sledge's "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa" and Robert Leckie's "Helmet for My Pillow" memoirs serve as the primary source material for the series.

What's the biggest difference in the two? "Band of Brothers" chronicled a single Army infantry company while "The Pacific" tells the story of three Marines "? Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone (Jon Seda, TV's "Homicide: Life on the Street"), Sledge (Joseph Mazzello, "The Social Network") and Leckie (James Badge Dale, TV's "Rubicon") "? covering different battles against the relentless Japanese opposition in Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Cape Gloucester, Okinawa and Iwo Jima. "The Pacific" shows a darker, less glorious side of World War II than the more highly publicized European theater.

HBO's Blu-ray presentation includes a picture-in-picture-enhanced viewing experience, a field guide and profiles to provide historical context. While it's not as consistently stellar as "Band of Brothers," "The Pacific" does boast bone-rattling 5.1 audio and pristine, 1080p resolution in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. "The Pacific" may begin more slowly and flash back to stateside developments more frequently, but its production values allow it to reach higher highs to contrast the lower psychological lows faced by soldiers in the topographical quagmire. "?Rob Collins

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