‘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.
‘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 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.’
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.