Young men make wars, and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men. Courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace. And the vices of peace are the vices of old men. Mistrust and caution. It must be so.
Back in 2006, when Blu-ray players and discs first appeared in stores, Sony distributed a demo reel for stores to play showing how fan-damn-tacular movies looked in the new format. This included scenes from Lawrence of Arabia, a Sony property via Columbia Pictures, implying the film would be among the first released. For the next six years, film buffs waited with increasing impatience for Sony to make good on that promise.
I, for one, am tickled that they waited so long. The Blu-ray edition released in November, based on a meticulous 4K restoration, is simply amazing. The last time the movie looked this good to my eyes was back in 1989, and I was watching it projected in 70mm at the old Cinedome theaters in Orange, CA.
The invasion of Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942, launched the Solomon Islands Campaign, what you could consider the middle stage or second act of the Second World War in the Pacific. The fight in the Solomons was, in many ways, the real war in the Pacific Theater of Operations. This was the period in which the two sides were closely matched and the outcome of the war was actually at stake. After this campaign, the remainder of the war largely consisted of a Japanese holding action against the United States’ inexorable march west toward the Home Islands.
This adaptation of war correspondent Richard Tregaskis’ non-fiction book about the early stages of the battle is reverential, faithful to the facts but clichéd and lacking in realistic drama. The Marines in this movie seem more like a Cub Scout troop in an episode of Father Knows Best than a real military unit. Even the level of interpersonal conflict found in Sands of Iwo Jima would have vastly improved this film.