The new Apple TV+ series “Masters of the Air” sees Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks revive their iconic brand of prestige TV set during World War II in the streaming era. The series, which is executive produced by both men and concludes a loose trilogy that began with “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific,” follows 10 young Air Force pilots who operate a bomber outnumbered by German planes during the darkest days of the war.
The series is defined — like the shows before it — by its mix of patriotism and brutality, honoring America's veterans without sugarcoating what they endured. It's a formula Hanks and Spielberg have been perfecting since the release of Saving Private Ryan in 1998. When it came time to start filming, Hanks shared some wisdom with his team about producing effective war dramas.
In a new interview with New York PostAnthony Boyle, star of “Masters of the Air,” recalled the advice Hanks gave him after joining the project.
“I remember before we started filming, I sat down with Tom and he said, ‘Don’t get too sentimental or serious – these were boys who were just trying to do what was right.’ They didn’t walk around thinking they were war heroes, which they were,” Boyle said. “They were just trying to save the world – and they did.”
While “Masters of the Air” initially generated buzz due to its acclaimed predecessors and high-profile cast, its critical reception fell short of the standards set by “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.”
“'Band of Brothers' came about from Hanks and Spielberg's collaboration on 'Saving Private Ryan.'” Even after producing a three-hour war movie with an expanded cast and a large scope, they (supposedly) realized that there was still a lot of story that wasn't “Television gives plenty of time to honor those stories, as 'Band of Brothers,' 'The Pacific,' and 'Masters of the Air' intend to do,” IndieWire's Ben Travers wrote in his review of “Masters of the Air.” Through her lyricism of profound respect for American heroism. But the third part of the trilogy overinvests in recreating what we've seen before, and underinvests in what made that previous series so impactful. It's not the carnage or the spectacle. It's men. And the men in “Masters of the Air” never come down to earth.
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