Viewed – 23 June 2010 Blu-ray
Probably one of the most acclaimed movies of the past twenty years, this multi-Oscar winning movie shows us several decades of American history through the eyes of a simple-minded innocent. At its heart it is a meaningful love story and love letter to America, with Forrest representing a simpler more honest view of life, and although he is surrounded by both tragedy and success, he never changes from the good natured man he’s always been. Robert Zemeckis’s film is both informative, feel good and tear-jerking, bathed with beautiful cinematography showcasing many American land marks and stunning backdrops, and an eye for detail and pop culture that he also showed off wonderfully in the Back To The Future trilogy. In many ways he’s the Spielberg that never was, and I still don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. I must also say this is probably Tom Hank’s crowning performance, again nabbing him Best Actor, as his role of the seemingly stupid (but actually quite clever) Gump is played just right, most aptly shown in one scene where long time love interest Jenny (Robin Wright Penn) tries to seduce him, and he comes over all panicky and embarrassed. It’s a stunning role for a very talented actor – and I can’t think of anyone else who could have played the part any better.
Some may knock the movie for its sentimentality, it’s over use of voice-over, slightly rose-tinted view of American history, and yes these are all valid points but for me, this works wonderfully as both an absorbing story with many incredible moments, aided by solid support from the likes of Gary Sinise and Sally Field, and epic movie making skill from Zemeckis, with ground-breaking special effects that still amaze to this day.
One of the few Oscar winners to be really worth every one of those gold statues.
The Blu-ray, part of Paramount’s Sapphire Series boasts a detailed image that although suffering from mild edge-enhancement, retains a fine level of grain and overall looks very pleasing and film-like. I did find the picture a little fuzzy in places and it has a few speckles showing up here and there, with a mild shimmer evident throughout – but this isn’t always noticeable. The sound in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio thunders (especially in the Vietnam scenes) and the iconic 60s / 70s soundtrack sounds fantastic. Extras consist of two commentaries, and several in-depth featurettes, behind the scenes and interviews, with detailed segments showing how they achieved some of the amazing effects work with key historical figures.
Overall a quality treatment for one of the best movies ever made.
Verdict: 5 /5