Executive producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman, who brought us Band of Brothers
, deliver another WWII masterpiece about the battles in the Pacific. The 10-part miniseries follows the true-life stories of Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), John Basilone (Joe Mazello), and Eugene Sledge (Jon Seda) as they fight their way across the Pacific Theater from 1941 to 1945. It all starts with the horrific conflict of Guadalcanal, continues to Cape Gloucester and Peleliu, then to the famous combat at Iwo Jima, the terror of Okinawa, and finally their return home after V-J Day and how the mental scars of battle aren't easily forgotten.
Given its massive budget (estimated to be $195 million), I expected the battle scenes to rival those in Saving Private Ryanwhich they do in their scope and visceral impactbut it's the psychological struggles of our three heroes that kept me riveted. Not only do they have to fight a relentless enemy in the Japanese, but they must cope with the elementssuffocating heat, malaria, tropical rainstormsand somehow keep a grasp on their own humanity. If they're fortunate enough to survive and return home, how will they acclimate to the civilized world after spending four years in hell?