Forrest Gump

DVD Rating: *****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump

When filmmakers of this quality talk about what they do, it is humbling for a critic. The sincerity and seriousness of their approach demands respect.

The extras in this two disc DVD are informative, educational and put a whole new perspective onto your appreciation of the film. The commentaries are crammed with personal anecdotes and throw-away lines - all fascinating. Tom Hanks took his accent from the boy who played young Forrest. "I borrowed the narrative technique from Amadeus," Zemeckis admits. People thought they had cast a legless man and put fake legs on him in the earlier scenes. That's how clever the effects guys were with Gary Sinise's character. You see how it's done later.

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The Vietnam scenes were shot from Forrest's POV. You never set eyes on the enemy. These scenes were filmed in South Carolina. A soldier who fought in the war said it was the most realistic reconstruction in any movie. When Forrest is carrying Bubba away from the danger zone, a wire from a huge crane is taking the weight off Hanks.

Zemeckis storyboards everything where special effects are involved. Also, he doesn't like improvisation from actors once the cameras are running. "I don't have fun making a movie," he says. "It's too much hard work. The fun part is in the editing room. Making the movie is just surviving, getting enough in the can that you can do something with later." Afterwards, there is a feeling of loss. "What do you do with this emptiness when it's over? I went through a year's depression."

When the production designer, make-up artist, sound engineer and computer graphics designer start spilling the beans, it is a revelation. Their professional approach to difficult situations makes everything seem possible.

A final gem in this diamond-studded disc is a very young Haley Joel Osment giving a screen test with Tom Hanks. At one point Hanks asks, "What am I supposed to say?", as if he has forgotten his lines, and Haley leans over and whispers something in Tom's ear. It's perfect. Hanks, during the two tests with Osment, is amazing. All he's thinking about is how to make it easier for the boy.

Reviewed on: 14 Nov 2001
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Tom Hanks is a simple Southern boy who achieves fame and fortune by being himself.
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Product Code: PHE 8124

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Audio Commentary by director Robert Zemeckis, producer Steve Starkey, production designer Rick Carter; Audio Commentary by producer Wendy Finerman; Behind The Magic documentary; Building The World Of Gump; Visual Effects; Sound Design; The Magic Of Make Up; Screen Tests; Photo Gallery; Trailers

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