Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Forrest Gump: Special Collector's
Edition" at amazon.com
review by Zach B.
Special Collector's Edition
Running Time: 142 minutes
Starring Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti
Williamson and Sally Field
Screenplay by Eric Roth
Based on the novel by Eric Roth
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Retail Price: $29.99
Disc 1 - Audio Commentary with Director Robert Zemeckis,
Producer Steve Starkey and Production Designer Rick Carter,
Audio Commentary with Producer Wendy Finerman
Disc 2 - Through The Eyes Of Forrest Gump documentary,
The Magic Of Makeup, Through The Ears Of Forrest Gump,
Building The World Of Gump, Seeing Is Believing - 11 Visual
Effects, Photo Gallery, Screen Tests, Theatrical Trailer,
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital
English 5.1, French Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions,
English Subtitles, Scene Selection (19 Scenes), Two-Disc
Released: August 28th, 2001
"Run Forrest, run!"
Like so many good movies, I really have no clue where to
begin when talking about them and reviewing them. I suppose
I'll start with the popularity of "Forrest Gump", which has
been a highly regarded film ever since it's debut in July
1994. I remember that summer well... I saw the movie in
theaters twice. Of course the movie was a critics darling,
won all sorts of awards (including the Oscar® for Best
Picture and Hanks' second Best Actor Oscar® in a row)
and was a giant box office success. The film was based on
Winston Groom's popular novel, and the movie also worked its
way into pop culture with the irreverent "Gumpisms" -
"Stupid is as stupid does" and everybody's favorite one
"Life is a like a box of chocolates... you never know what
you're gonna get"
For those unfamiliar with the movie, the premise is
utterly simple and magical in a sense. Forrest Gump, a
simpleton man from Alabama, recounts his life to those who
sit by him on a bench while waiting for a bus. Forrest
recalls his days growing up, his love interest Jenny who he
always happens to run into, his experiences in Vietnam,
playing ping-pong, starting a successful shrimp company
(which leads back to Vietnam in a few ways, mainly with the
characters Lieutenant Dan and his late "best good friend"
Bubba), and a whole lot more with a lot of his life
experiences. This movie, essentially, is a look at American
history and how Forrest touches and inspires people
throughout some key decades and how he goes through certain
events... and how certain events pass right by him.
I've seen "Forrest Gump" time and time again thanks to
the power of VHS, cable TV and network TV. When I first saw
this movie I really loved it. I thought it was great and
really enjoyable. It was one of the best movies I'd seen in
a bit upon the 1994 release. There was just so much to it,
and experiencing it with audiences in a theater made it more
worthwhile as people could act and remember the past and
relate to it in some ways. After all the viewings though, I
still find it a really entertaining film, though it is a
little bit boring after seeing it so many times because
there's not much else to experience. Still, it's finely
crafted and I think perfect the film is perfect in its
essence. Whenever I see "Forrest Gump" I just get sucked
into watching it and the time flies right by. I don't like
it any less than the first time I saw it, it just feels a
little old since I've seen it over and over again. It's kind
of lost it's luster to me, and doesn't feel as magical as
the first few times I saw it. However, I still love the
movie and it'll always be a great movie to me no matter
what. As I said, it still entertains me and it's really well
Now onto the actual movie itself. Eric Roth took a crack
at adapting Winston Groom's novel after others tried, and I
think he gets it perfectly. He was even awarded an
Oscar® for the screenplay. He really gets it down
perfectly creating great dialogue, developing the characters
really well and making the whole nature of it realistic and
believable. The screenplay does cover a good deal of
American history and events, and it's nice how the script
does intertwine things, just like in the original Winston
Groom novel. He develops all of the film nicely, giving
everything enough time to grow and to expand. It's just very
even and by the end, you feel like you know all the
characters like good friends. Roth knows where to go with
the book and how much to focus on exactly, which is
something not easy to do when writers set to adapt books.
Thankfully, it all works here and as I mentioned, a whole
slew of American events is countered.
Robert Zemeckis won an Academy Award® for his
direction, and man, what a job he does. Using Roth's
incredible screenplay, he sets the movie at over two hours.
However, as I earlier mentioned, it all flies right by.
Zemeckis sets a very good pace for the movie as it all goes
so quick. Zemeckis also uses some pretty incredible camera
shots that I liked. How the feather is presented is really
nice, not to mention the good and fast movements of the
camera in the Vietnam sequence. Zemeckis knows when to use
good establishing shots, good wide shots and good close-ups.
He makes the movie feel tight, warm and natural. That is not
an easy task.
Despite Zemeckis' lean direction and the worthy Roth
adaption, perhaps what makes the film all the more
believable is the acting. I mentioned Hanks winning his
second Academy Award® in a row for Best Actor (which was
only accomplished once before), and man, it was an award
well deserved. Sure Hanks has done a number of great roles,
but to me, and I'm sure to a lot of people, this one is one
of the best. Hanks has quite an amazing range as we've come
to see through his career, but he really takes the character
of Forrest and runs with. Complete with his accent, Hanks
perfectly makes Forrest humane and innocent. He truly
embodies the character with his emotions, mannerisms and
feelings. It's just one fine performance everyone should
witness. Supporting players in this movie also stand out.
Gary Sinise as the emotional and fragile Lieutenant Dan is
really a highlight of his career, as we can feel his pain.
Sally Field and Mykelti Williamson are very good in their
smaller roles, while Robin Wright (now Robin Wright Penn) is
excellent as Jenny. We can see her insecurities come alive
as she goes through a few eras. Wright plays off Hanks
nicely, and there is chemistry there.
"Forrest Gump" succeeds on technical levels as well. The
film is sharply edited so we see all that we should and we
do very skillfully. Alan Silvestri's memorable and downright
touching score is pretty breathtaking and compliments the
film. Finally, upon the original release, the movie also got
attention for its special effects created by the wizards at
Industrial Light and Magic. They accomplish something that
was never seen before. Taking real footage of real people
and blending them with actors and manipulating them to make
them say and do what they wanted. The big Kennedy scene got
a lot of attention as I recall, and now seven years later as
of writing this, it's amazing how far we've come with
special effects and technology.
Despite that I have grown a little tired of the movie
from an incredible amount of viewings, "Forrest Gump" is a
true masterpiece and I think it is perfection. It is a bit
lengthy, but it all goes by so fast. Zemeckis' direction is
perfect, the adaptation is wonderful and the acting as well
as other elements are tremendous. It's like a puzzle that
all fits together perfectly. Everything is well established
and developed in this movie. It all works really well. A lot
have you have seen the movie by now, but if you haven't, sit
back, relax and enjoy the journey of Forrest Gump.
"Forrest Gump" is presented in its original theatrical
aspect ratio, that being 2.35:1 and is enhanced for
widescreen televisions. The result is very good, though I
was slightly disappointed since it's one of Paramount's best
movies and it's not up to their usual caliber of transfers.
However, for a movie that's a few years old, it still looks
really good and fans of the film will not be disappointed.
The picture has some grain that I found to be a bit annoying
at times, not to mention the image can change from somewhat
sharp to soft throughout the movie. Contrast can be a bit
high at times, and in some scenes there is shimmering as
well as noise. The "halo" effect also pops up at times which
I always find annoying. Colors are pretty well saturated and
hues and colors seem to be on the mark. Black levels are
good and detail is also good. Blemishes and pieces of dirt
do pop up on the print. Yet what I disliked though is how at
times the movie looked a bit underwhelming and murky where
it really didn't need to be. It just don't look or feel
right within the context sometimes. I suppose I was
expecting a much sharper image. Still, it comes off to show
the true majesty and wonder "Forrest Gump" brings.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for "Forrest Gump" perfectly
captures the variety and wondrous sounds the movie has to
offer. Sometimes elements can roar and other times they can
be quiet. The film reflects a lot of changes and events, not
to mention feelings and moods, and the 5.1 track captures
that in the best ways possible. The beautiful and
mesmerizing Alan Silvestri score sounds beautiful and
encompasses all the channels very nicely. The same goes for
the variety of classic songs that play throughout the movie,
even if some are just part of the background. Smaller sounds
such as doors opening, trees waving back and forth and
running are well mixed. The far more intense sounds do bring
a lot of life to the track. Crowds cheering at the football
games, when Forrest speaks in Washington D.C., when Gump
faces a storm when hunting for shrimp and of course, when
Forrest heads off to Vietnam. The gunshots, rain and
explosions in the sequence are incredible and really puts
you right in the action. Forrest playing ping-pong sounds
good as well. The 5.1 mix features good transparency and
good bass extension thanks to the .1 LFE. Dialogue is clear
and easy to hear, it's not distorted or muffled and nothing
gets in its way. Overall, a very nice track that is sure to
please. A French Dolby Surround track is also included, as
well as English closed captions and English subtitles
through the disc.
There's been a little bit of hype about "Forrest Gump"
coming to DVD. Forget the fact it's a movie so many have
loved, but it is Paramount's first major special edition (a
little more major than "Mission: Impossible 2" I suppose),
not to mention their first two-disc set (well, that's not
true. "The Ten Commandments", anyone?). Okay, first two-disc
set with the second disc devoted to supplements. That's
better. Thankfully, this is a worthy set that does not
disappoint at all.
The first disc contains two different audio commentaries.
The first Audio Commentary with Director Robert Zemeckis,
Producer Steve Starkey and Production Designer Rick
Carter is pretty good. Not the best I've heard, but
there's a very good amount of information to get out of this
track. It's very serious and pretty technical, and I think
casual fans of the movie may be bored with. Still, the
die-hard film geeks will eat this up. The track is obviously
edited, with a few pauses, but each of the men give their
input about the movie and talk a lot about how things are
accomplished. Zemeckis came off a little arrogant and cocky
to me, but there's no doubt that he's honest and did enjoy
the challenges of the film. He talks about creating
narration, the visual effects, some of the story and
characters the editing, songs and a whole other things.
Carter and Starkey seem to be recorded together as at times
they respond to one another at times. The two talk more
about the story and the characters, it's a focus there, but
they also offer some pretty interesting production stories
that I really enjoyed. There's also some things on
locations, the actual history and how things went down. All
in all, fans of the movie will be pleased and there
certainly is a whole lot of information to enjoy and get
out. It's not always specific to the screen, but that's
The other Audio Commentary with Producer Wendy
Finerman is also a good track. I was glad to see this on
the disc, because I was not expecting this track. Anyway,
Finerman is pretty enthusiastic about the movie and offers a
load of praise for the cast and crew. She does get a bit
wrapped up in the movie and pauses a bit, sometimes for
pretty long times which I found annoying. She does offer
detailed information as she talks about the acting, where
the movie was shot, casting and some visual effects related
things at times. Still, some of her comments are a bit
obvious and repetitive. All in all though, fans of the movie
will want to listen to this and despite the pauses, it's
worth hearing. This track is more well-rounded and
entertaining. Still, both of them are good listens and as I
said, fans of the movie should listen to them.
The second disc now... Through The Eyes Of Forrest
Gump is a half-hour documentary that is really well
worth the watch. I remember reading somewhere that this
documentary is the best-selling or most rented documentary
about the film. It was directed by Peyton Reed, who some of
you may be familiar with as he directed the popular comedy
On. It is a bit promotional, but it's so well made you
may not even notice. There are clips from the movie, a lot
of behind-the-scenes footage and quite a few on the set
interviews. Zemeckis, Hanks, Field, Finerman and a few
others talk about the story and the characters. Some of the
stuff here can be found on the commentary, such as the kid
who played the young Forrest being a good fit with Hanks.
There's also a good portion on making the visual effects. In
the end, it adds up to a very good watch.
Next up are a few production featurettes. Building The
World Of Gump focuses on the production design. Rick
Carter talks about the movie and what it meant to him.
Carter also discusses the locations, making the Gump house,
shooting scenes in Washington D.C. making Vietnam. There are
clips from the movie and behind-the-scenes footage in it as
well. It's a little over seven minutes and is pretty good,
though I'd stick with Carter's comments on the commentary.
The Magic Of Makeup has make up artist Dan
Striepeke talking about the film's makeup in much detail. He
talks about the colors, how he aged the characters and how
they made them look different for different scenes. Clips
from the movie accompany Striepeke's comments sometimes too.
It lasts eight minutes.
Seeing Is Believing: The Visual Effects Of Forrest
Gump is broken down into a eleven sections, each dealing
with a specific visual effect: "Birth Of A Nation", "Run
Forrest, Run", "Martin Luther King, Jr.", "George Wallace",
"Vietnam", "Ping Pong with George Bush", "Lyndon B.
Johnson", "Enhancing Reality", "John Lennon with Dick
Cavett", "Lt. Dan's Legs" and finally, "Richard Nixon" tops
them off. Shots from the movie, behind-the-scenes-footage
and interviews with visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston
are shown in each of these. Ralston talks about the visual
effects and in a few there is another interview or two, but
the focus is basically on him. The George Bush and Martin
Luther King Jr. sequences were never used, but the Bush
scene is shown pretty much complete while the Martin Luther
King Jr. shows shots of the actual scene being filmed. Each
of these last a few short minutes, though some are bit
longer. Overall, these are really interesting and they are a
great thing to have as they are pretty short, sweet and talk
about the scenes and how they were ultimately accomplished.
Through The Ears Of Forrest Gump focuses on the
sound design for "The Bike", "Crowds", "Vietnam", "Rain" and
"Ping Pong" Like the visual effects, there are other worthy
editions to the set that last a few minutes each (though
these are a bit shorter).Sound designer Randy Thom talks
about each of these and how he helped achieved them. He
talks about making the sounds, how they fit into the movie
and how it all worked out in general. Clips from the movie
as well as behind-the-scenes footage are shown here. Very
nice and some interesting tidbits here.
Screen Tests is a very nice section. There are
three different sections: one for Hanna R. Hall and Michael
Conner Humphrey (young Jenny and young Forrest, three tests
there), one for Robin Wright (two for her) and finally,
Forrest Jr., Haley Joel Osment himself (two tests there).
Man, how young he was! It's a bit eerie, and he plays off of
Hanks nicely at such a young age, including an enlightening
conversation about "Darkwing Duck"... hehe.
A Photo Gallery is included with some nice stills
from the movie and on the set, as well as two trailers, each
in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound. The
Theatrical Trailer lasts nearly four minutes (oy) and
the Remember Trailer is a re-release trailer that
lasts a much shorter one minute and ten seconds.
On another note, the menus here are nicely animated with
the film's score. Very classy and very well done. Also, a
big kudos to Paramount as once again they provide English
captions for all the featurettes.
I'm personally thrilled to finally have "Forrest Gump" in
my DVD collection (scratch out another big title off the
list!). Paramount has delivered a terrific presentation for
the movie and a good amount of great supplements. Hopefully,
we can look forward to more packed DVDs from Paramount.
Simply put though: this is one for the collection. Let the
big fall buying season begin (though as of writing this it
is still August)!
(5/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)