A recent classic gets the best Blu-ray has to offer.
The packaging is a bit much. I like the feel, but overall, where the heck am I supposed to put this thing?On the outside, Forrest Gump tional look at the title character's life during America's highest and low points in the 20th Century. If this movie was simply that, a look at the world via this character's eyes, that would have been more than enough for one of Director Robert Zemeckis' greatest creations. However, throughout all of these tales we are taken into the life of this character and it is here that this movie's true heart and soul reside. What we see is a man who has never been able to get over his childhood love of a girl named Jenny (Robin Wright Penn), his devotion and knowledge gleaned at his mother's knee, and his ability to never forget those people who care about him. Tom Hanks is so perfect in this film that we can forget everything else he has ever done, and simply revel in a movie star not turning in a star making performance. Even though it is a movie star in the role.
This is the kind of movie that deserves to be on Blu-ray disc. While I thought that the packaging was a bit ho-hum (I don't know that this release needed 2 discs), I do think that everything that is great about this film is captured in this release. Good work, Paramount.
Director Robert Zemeckis, Producer Steve Starkey, and Production Designer Rick Carter sit back and basically discuss the lore of this film. (There is a second track by producer Wendy Finerman but I didn't really listen to that due to time issues).
I was happy that they talked about the floating feather, what that represented in the film, and how it also sort of tied in with the characters and the narrative. They also discuss the casting process and how important that was to a movie like this, considering that it's both a fairy tale and a historical piece. They talk about working with the cast, the logistics of pulling off certain scenes and basically give fans of the film, movie geeks, and anybody else a lot of reasons to listen to this track.
Musical Signposts to History
This is a pretty standard making of piece with the main difference being that it is done from the POV of someone standing off the sidelines watching the film being made. We see how this movie was put together, how they made certain scenes come across, and we also get cast and crew interviews. All in all this wasn't that incredible. It seemed to cover a lot of the ground that is broached in the commentary track. I don't think that this piece detracts from the DVD but all in all I don't know how much it is really needed.
The Art of Screenplay Adaptation
Getting Past the Impossible: Forrest Gump and the Visual Effects Revolution
Now this featurette is worth the price of admission alone! I have always wanted to know how in the world they got Forrest Gump to have a conversation with John F. Kennedy. I remember loving that this movie basically made this film a historical character even though he was complete work of fiction. I consider myself a tech person and even after watching how this process was done, I still don't know that I 100% get it. I recall there being TV specials on regular television that showed how this effect was achieved, and I was always bothered that I never saw them. Now, I at least have it documented on Blu-ray D and I can watch it forever.
An Evening with Forrest Gump
I loved this piece and I again take my hat off to Paramount for doing a really a fine job of making this release comprehensive in HD extra features. There are a bunch of standard ones on this release but for the purposes of this review the studio has stepped it up. This featurette shows us young Forrest himself and how he impacted how Tom Hanks played this role. The actor's name is Michael Conner Humphreys and we get see him today. While he hasn't had an amazing career since this film, it was cool to see that the makers of this Blu-ray disc didn't feel that he was merely a footnote.
Video codec - MPEG-4 AVC. Video resolution - 1080p. Aspect ratio - 2.35:1. Original aspect ratio - 2.39:1. I will say this right up front... Paramount has done an extraordinary job transferring this film to Blu-ray. It has been awhile since I have seen this movie and it looks as great as I recall it ever looking. There is a crispness to the image that never dissipates, however, since this movie was moving through different time periods it seems like Zemeckis and his cinematographer Don Burgess have tried to replicate that without giving a wholly disparate look to each of those portions of the film. There are a myriad of colors in this movie with white being highly predominant in many scenes. None of this ever looked overly baked on my screen and as a result this 142 minute film really holds up over the entire viewing experience.
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitled in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. While I have always found the actual soundtrack to this film to be fairly pedestrian, I do think that there is a enough of a cool music soundtrack (songs from the time that are showcased in the film), that it helps Forrest Gump rise above being the puffy film that the regular soundtrack seems to want it to be. I also think that there are times when there is enough spareness employed that it makes this film work really nicely on home video. I never felt blown away by the audio, but I think that might have to do with not having surround sound (and having no hearing in one ear!).
The icon image of Gump sitting on the park bench in this "Box of Chocolates" edition of the flick is great. My only grip is that for 1 movie in my collection, this thing is taking up valuable space. Don't get me wrong, I love the thought of getting Forrest Gump in a box of chocolates, but at the end of the day, I could really do without.
I remember my theatrical screening of this movie like it was yesterday. I went into it not knowing what I should be expecting (just like when I saw Pulp Fiction) and (like that film) it was incredible. This is a movie that no matter when I watch it I end up getting lost in the story. The most interesting thing for me is that other than watching it on Blu-ray and in the theater, I have only seen this film on VHS.
Yes, you have read that last line correctly.
I would love to say that seeing this movie in the next generation format made it the awesome experience that it was. While that was certainly great to see, this movie is truly an example of the story, the direction, the acting and the script trumping all. I have loved Forrest Gump in all of its formats that I have watched it in. Yes, the whole "life is like a box of chocolates" is played out, as is the whole "Run Forrest, run!" quote that still creeps up from characters in, usually, gritty movies. Still this film has the redeeming, magical quality that it has always had every time that I have screened it.
Paramount Home Entertainment has done an amazing job with this release. Yes, I down the company a lot for how they only release syndicated versions of TV on DVD releases, but I have to give them credit for doing the right thing with this Forrest Gump two disc Blu-ray offering.