WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A simple minded young man (Hanks) grows up to live an extraordinary life, complete with a decorated military career, successful business ventures and millions of dollars in wealth. He has countless brushes with greatness, only to become a household name himself. Not bad for someone scraping by with an IQ of 75.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Every time I see this movie, I always find myself reaching for the ol’ Kleenex box ..it gets me every single time. I don’t really know what it is about this quirky flick that does it to me but in spite of its countless lighthearted and funny scenes, it’s the more touching moments that stay in my mind. Whether it be the movie’s story about human goodness and purity or Forrest’s troubled relationship with his beloved Jenny, the unconventional nature of the plot and story really drive home its emotions. There’s no real “development” or “bad guy” per se, we’re just taken along for this fantastic journey which transports us into the life of a simple minded man who managed to rise above his IQ level and achieve success because of the size of his heart and goodwill.
It’s a tough movie to summarize and dissect, but it is filled with plenty of fantastic performances, a feel good story, powerful glimpses into our history’s past, an incredible soundtrack and countless special effects shots (which you might never notice because they’re so damn good). Maybe I’m a sucker for sentimental journeys but Forrest Gump is a touching and heartwarming little flick which is definitely worth a second look (Although I’m still a little miffed that it beat out PULP FICTION for Best Picture in 1994…but that’s another story altogether!) .
Kicking off the double disc special edition is “Through The Eyes of Forrest Gump”, a 30-minute documentary that splices film footage with your usual mix of interviews and behind the scenes stuff. It’s a little on the fluffy side, in that it presents us with information and visuals we’ve already seen but it’s still worth a look. “Screen Tests” highlights 7 separate “tests”, including those with Michael Connor Humphrey and Hanna R. Hall (young Forrest and Jenny respectively), Robin Wright and young Haley Joel Osment reading for the part of Forrest Jr. Each one runs around one or two minutes. Next up is “Building the World of Gump: Production Design”, a 7-minute look at the art direction and production design of key elements of the movie such as Forrest’s childhood home and the difficulties in transforming Alabama into Vietnam. My favorite extra on the DVD would have to be “Seeing is Believing: The Visual Effects of Forrest Gump” which outlines 11 separate key FX sequences, running anywhere between 3 and 8 minutes per selection. It was extremely cool to finally check out how they managed to “remove” Lieutenant Dan’s legs and place Forrest in front of all the old presidents. There are also two shots which had never been seen before, including a scene with Martin Luther King Jr. and another with Forrest whacking George Bush in the nuts with a ping pong ball. Funny stuff.
“Through the Ears of Forrest Gump: Sound Design” is split into five little sections, chronicling such “noises” as a bike, crowds, Vietnam, rain and ping pong for a total of about 15 minutes. Before having checked out this section, I would’ve never have imagined that so much work actually goes into making a movie sound so convincing, especially for such minute little things. Be sure to give this one a look. “The Magic of Make Up” is an 8-minute glance at how the producers managed to create aging effects in all the characters as they pass through time in the movie. The movie’s original theatrical trailer and a new one called “Remember” are also included on the DVD. Finally, a gallery of 29 production stills from filming finish up the added bonuses. Menus for both discs are animated and feature Alan Silvestri’s great score.
My only real beef with the DVD was the visual quality of the flick (which could’ve been just a notch higher in my books) and the somewhat lackluster commentary tracks. Still, when you factor in the documentaries and excellent behind the scenes stuff, Forrest Gump is definitely worthy of a your hard earned dollars. Recommended.