Blu-ray
Must Own
5 stars
List Price
$29.99
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$27.95 (7%)
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Overall Grade
5 stars

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The Movie Itself
5 Stars
HD Video Quality
4.5 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4.5 Stars
Supplements
4 Stars
High-Def Extras
4.5 Stars
Bottom Line
Must Own

Forrest Gump

Street Date:
November 3rd, 2009
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
November 20th, 2009
Movie Release Year:
1994
Studio:
Paramount Home Entertainment
Length:
142 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Rated PG-13
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

‘Forrest Gump’ is the touching tale of a man from Alabama who possesses an IQ of 75, but still winds up in the middle of every major American event from the 1950s to the 1980s -- from the Vietnam War to becoming one of the first investors in Apple.

Forrest is a man born without cynicism, who harbors no ill-will about anyone or anything. He takes everything at face value, and does exactly what he says he’ll do. If Forrest says he wants to become a shrimp boat captain, he does it. His simplistic demeanor paves the way for his life. Everything will work out for the best if you just have a positive outlook on life.

Forrest comes from humble beginnings in the Deep South. His mother, played immaculately by Sally Fields, does everything she can to give her son a good life. The school wants to put him in the “special” school, so she does what she has to in order to keep her son in the public school.

One person treats Forrest with respect and dignity, his childhood sweetheart, Jenny (Robin Wright). A key scene in the movie really lets us in on how simply Forrest sees things, when as an adult he says about Jenny’s father, “He was a really loving man. He was always hugging, kissing, and touching her and her sisters.” Forrest is enamored with Jenny, but can never seem to wrangle her in. Even when Jenny, the person he loves most in the entire world, constantly leaves him, he still has nothing but love for her.

Watching Forrest live his life carefree is like a dream. How can someone be that happy, and that lucky throughout their entire life? Forrest seemed to always be in the right place at the right time, but again, it appears to be that way in part because of his infinitely rosy outlook on life.

Director Robert Zemeckis ('Cast Away')handles this film perfectly. Long stretches of dramatic scenes are infused with clever and witty humor. He has craftily recreated historical events that were originally caught on tape and seemlessly inserted Forrest right into the middle of history.

Tom Hanks is the perfect man for the role. It just couldn’t have been played by anyone else. He imbues Forrest with the perfect mix of innocence and naivety. He has perfect comedic timing, but knows exactly when and how to touch your heart.

If only we could all be like Forrest. If instead of muddling up our lives with complications and reason, we could just live with the freedom that we know we’re treating people well. Forrest might be slow when it comes to book smarts, but he’s far ahead of the game when it comes to life.

With its Best Picture Oscar win in 1994 and its place at number 74 on the AFI list of America’s Greatest Movies, ‘Forrest Gump’ stands as one of the great modern films of all time.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

‘Forrest Gump’ bursts onto the high definition scene with a stellar 1080p AVC-encoded transfer. For a film shot in 1994, the visuals here are fantastically reproduced in high-def. Keeping the cinematic grain from its original debut, ‘Forrest Gump’s transfer is as film-like as you can get. The detail is ramped up from the previous DVD releases. From brickwork to lush foliage, everything is richly handled. Colors are perfectly rendered, giving the greens of Alabama and Vietnam a fine stage to shine on. Digital artifacts like blocking or aliasing are nowhere to be found. Black levels are handled to perfection, with delineation in the darker scenes being wonderfully defined. Unfortunately, the high definition has a habit of pointing out some of the green screen work done by Zemeckis, when cartoonish mouths move on Lyndon B. Johnson or John F. Kennedy, they almost give the appearance of Conan O’Brien’s famous skits involving superimposed lips moving over a celebrity photograph.

Beginning at about the point when Forrest comes back to visit his mother after she becomes ill, original source noise begins to pop up rather frequently. The blips and specks that pop up now and then are the only thing keeping this transfer back from absolute perfection.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track from ‘Forrest Gump’ is fairly front-heavy, because of its dialogue centric story. The voices are presented clearly through the center channel, with directionality from the front channels working well. When people are talking to Forrest on the bus bench their voices are perfectly placed within the soundfield regarding their position on screen. The film does offer up some pretty intense action scenes, with sound effects bleeding into the surround speakers. At first the surrounds seem a tad soft, turning them up a little may be in order. The sound effects, however, like bullets whizzing by, are clearly defined and engulfing to listen to. Another moment of surround sound excitement can be found during the hurricane while Forrest and Captain Dan are at sea. Overall, this is a solid audio presentation for such a classic film, although it isn’t as memorable as the other Sapphire release by Paramount, ‘Braveheart.’

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Audio Commentaries - There are two audio commentaries featured here. One with director Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey the producer, and Rick Carter the production designer. This track is far more entertaining, because Zemeckis always so excited about everything he does. One of his favorite things to talk about is the use of the archival footage and how he had to manipulate it. While at times it seems self-congratulatory, it is nonetheless entertaining and informative. The other commentary has Wendy Finerman another producer on the film. Why she couldn’t have sat down with the other three and talked about the movie is something I just don’t understand. If anyone should’ve got an alone commentary, it should have been Zemeckis.
  • The Make-up of 'Forrest Gump' (SD, Disc 2, 8 min) - This featurette is self-explanatory as it focuses on the make up used for the film.
  • Through the Ears of 'Forrest Gump:' Sound Design (SD, Disc 2, 15 min) - The sound of the film is given a once over with a few featurettes focusing on different parts of the film. These parts include the crowds of the film, the bike scene, the rain, the Vietnam scene, and Ping Pong.
  • Production Design (SD, Disc 2, 7 min) - Just a short featurette that gives an idea of the locations of the movie, and the set designs that were used throughout.
  • Seeing is Believing: The Visual Effects of 'Forrest Gump' (SD, Disc 2, 23 min) - Like the sound design portion this feature is also broken up into a number of segments, ten to be exact. Those sections are: Run Forrest Run, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Wallace, Vietnam, Ping Pong with George Bush, Lyndon B. Johnson, Enhancing Reality, Dick Cavett and John Lennon, and Richard Nixon.
  • Screen Tests (SD, Disc 2) - Just a couple short screen tests for Haley Joel Osment, Michael Conner Humphreys, Hanna R. Hall, and Robin Wright.
  • Trailers (HD, Disc 2, 5 min) - Two trailers are provided, one is the theatrical, and the other is entitled “Remember.”

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

  • Musical Signposts to History (HD, Disc 1, 4 min) - Zemeckis and supervisor of music Joel Hill discuss the film’s soundtrack and the songs they used throughout the movie to complement the period of time Forrest was living in. After the short discussion you can choose how you would like to view the film with Musical Signposts. “Manual,” “Auto,” and “Selective” are the options given. When this feature is activated people involved with the music on the movie will pop up periodically and give a short description of the song playing at that time and its relation to what’s happening on screen.
  • Greenbow Diary (HD, Disc 2, 26 min) - This is a great little making of feature that gives us an on-set view of how the movie was made. A few interviews are interspersed throughout.
  • The Art of Screenplay Adaptation (HD, Disc 2, 27 min) - I always forget that ‘Forrest Gump’ was taken from a novel written by Winston Groom (In which Forrest was not rail thin, but obese!) . This feature shows what it was like adapting the story for the big screen, and what it takes to make a novel into a film. Groom’s insights on seeing his book put to film are very interesting to hear. This is a must watch on the special features list.
  • Getting Past the Impossible: 'Forrest Gump' and the Visual Effects Revolution (HD, Disc 2, 27 min) - This is another great feature that chronicles the use of visual effects in the film, from the archival footage to making Gary Sinise’s legs disappear.
  • Little Forrest (HD, Disc 2, 15 min) - This featurette shows how they cast the part of young Forrest. Giving the part to Michael Conner Humphreys was the best thing they could have done. The kid had the part down cold, and was as good at being young Forrest as Hanks was at being the older version.
  • An Evening with 'Forrest Gump' (HD, Disc 2, 55 min) - This is possibly the greatest feature on this set, with a fantastic round table with Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Eric Roth, and Robert Zemeckis talking about the film.

Final Thoughts

Paramount’s Sapphire series continues with an American classic that inspires us all to make life simpler and live it to the fullest. ‘Forrest Gump’ is an American classic in every way, and is a perfect addition to any Blu-ray collection. With its stunning audio and video presentations, and its complete host of extras, Paramount has put together a Blu-ray release that is a must own for anyone.

Technical Specs

  • 2-Disc Set
  • Sapphire Series

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 2.35:1

Audio Formats

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound

Subtitles/Captions

  • TBA

Supplements

  • Commentary with Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Rick Carter
  • Greenbow Diary
  • Commentary by Wendy Finerman
  • The Art of Screenplay Adaptation
  • Getting Past Impossible - Forrest Gump and The Visual Effects Revolution
  • Musical Signposts to History - Music as "Chronological Set Design" for the Times of Forrest Gump
  • Introduction by Ben Fong-Torres
  • Little Forrest
  • An Evening with Forrest Gump
  • Easter Eggs - Groom on Gump
  • Archival Special Features

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List Price
$29.99
Amazon
$27.95 (7%)
3rd Party
$6.97
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»

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