DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Forrest Gump - DVD Review


Without exaggerating, I must have watched Rocky at least twice a year for about ten years, even replacing worn out VHS cassettes in the process. Then something happened in 1994: I saw Forrest Gump, and Rocky suddenly became a close second on my list of favorite movies. Although both these movies are totally different in genre, budget, plot and even levels of acting, their common ground in my opinion is they are both underdog stories. But why Forrest Gump is my favorite movie of all time is way beyond its underdog factor. It is the nature of the film, with an overwhelming message of innocence of heart and purity of soul that I still find an unfathomable experience every time I watch this movie. I have watched it many, many times, and each time I am deeply moved by its simple yet profound inner meaning.

As a reviewer, it is my moral obligation to give you a brief synopsis of the plot, but in not wanting to spoil even a minute of what you will experience, I will have to be very brief.

As Alan Silvestri's soul stirring original score plays through the opening credits, a single white feather twists, turns and drifts through the air, ultimately landing near the protagonist's dirty running shoes. Waiting at a bus stop, Forrest Gump picks up the feather and places it in a bedtime story book he's had since a kid. As another patron sits besides him waiting for a bus, Forrest narrates his epic yet unbelievable story. And what a story it is! In flash backs it narrates how as a child he was an outcast in society only because his IQ is below average and acceptable levels. But as Forrest continues his story, the one person who believes he is no different from anyone else is his mother, and through her can-do attitude, how he got to be where he is: A decorated Vietnam War hero commended by the US President, an international sports icon commended by another US President, how he influenced pop culture, and how he got to be recognized by Fortune magazine as a multi-millionaire.

Forrest GumpThe very few cynical critics who also enjoyed this movie, feel Gump's fortune from impossible twists of fate are implausible coincidences any real person may never encounter however lucky that person may be, more so with below average intelligence. Maybe so. But how can you explain a common man theorizing rocket science without passing his high school board exam. Yes, Albert Einstein dropped out of school and also failed his first college entrance examination, but years later became know as â"the man of the century" by Time magazine. Coming back to Gump, you have to see him to believe that honesty and loyalty are virtues very few people possess, but for the ones that do, achieving greatness will seem like miracles from heaven.

And now for the people who made it all happen. Collecting his second Oscar for best actor in two consecutive years (first Oscar as Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, 1993), Tom Hanks as Gump is absolutely outstanding and will redefine the way you pronounce the word ‘chocolate'. Easily the most memorable role of his career thus far, Hanks will make you laugh, cry, and fall off your seat doing both. To this day, John Travolta regrets having turned down the role, and for good reason, as I can't think of anyone else who could have done it the way Hanks did. Playing Gump's only friend, mentor and commanding officer having lost both legs in Vietnam is Gary Sinise as Lt. Dan in his first and only Oscar nominated supporting role. Another exceptional feat here and together with Hanks forms some of the best parts in the movie. Hanks and Sinise would appear again just a year later in the dual Oscar winning Apollo 13. Playing the women influencing Gump's life is Sally Field as his â"mama" and Robin Wright as his one true love building on a life long relationship since childhood. Both Field and Wright's characters are played flawlessly in a way where Gump's method of reasoning comes from his mother while the inspiration behind his adventures comes from Wright's character as Jenny. Also worth mentioning is Michael Conner Humphreys as young Forrest, who reportedly influenced Hanks' southern Alabama accent and the introduction of Haley Joel Osment as Gump's adorable son. Yes, the same kid who saw dead people in Sixth Sense.

Finally, kudos to director Robert Zemeckis for this brilliant achievement in contemporary film making. Adapted for the screen by Eric Roth (another Oscar) from Winston Groom's novel of the same name, Forrest Gump is to Zemeckis what the Mona Lisa is to Leonardo da Vinci. Besides the six Oscars generated including â"Best Director" and â"Best Picture", the true mettle of his work lies in integrating the various components of this film into one history altering, ground breaking, block-buster. What we have here is one movie with multiple genres of war, comedy, romance, drama and tragedy all rolled into one unforgettable classic. With friends like Steven Spielberg and Josh Lucas, visual effects and CGI are incredible to say the least. And to think this film was made more than a decade before Celine Dion's duet with Elvis Presley. If I explain that last line, I'll be letting out some of the best treats of the film. The only way Zemeckis can undo himself now is if he makes a sequel.

For those who think Forrest Gump is too much of a dim-wit to make it in this real and fierce world, then these are the people to watch out for, because they are predators who can screw you over without so much as batting an eye lid. And for those who think Forrest is a character in a modern fairy tale, then stop for a second and reflect on what a fairy tale really is. It may be nothing but a fable, but it is always a fictitious story with a moral message. Whether this fable has a happy ending doesn't really matter, as long as the moral of the story is understood loud and clear. And so I can go on and on as to why you should watch this movie, or buy it and frame it and buy another copy just to watch it every other month; but I can never emphasize enough that each time you watch this movie, it will be like reading a chapter from Chicken Soup for the Soul.


Component Grades
Movie
 
DVD
5 Stars
 
5 Stars
     
DVD Experience
5 Stars

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese.

Language and Sound: Closed Captioned; English: DTS 5.1 HD French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; audio commentary by director Robert Zemeckis, producer Steve Starkey and production designer Rick Carter.

Supplements:

Commentary

  • Feature-length commentary track with director Robert Zemeckis, producer Steve Starkey and production designer Rick Carter.
  • Feature-length commentary track with producer Wendy Finerman.

Featurettes

  • Through The Ears Of Forrest Gump
  • Through The Eyes Of Forrest Gump
  • Screen Tests
  • Building The World Of Forrest Gump
  • Seeing Is Believing: Visual Effects
  • Magic Of Make-up:

Photo Galleries

Previews - trailer and re-release trailer.

Number of Discs: 2 with Keepcase Packaging

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