Paramount Home Video
Cast: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Featurettes, Trailers, Screen Tests, Still Gallery, Production Notes
Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) generously bestows his story from a park bench, imparting his beliefs and experiences upon anyone who takes a seat next to him. He is a simple man – one might call him a simpleton considering his I.Q. of 75 and "slow" manner – who would appear to exist as nothing more than the local town idiot if not for the unshakable foundation of faith his mother (Sally Field) has in him, in his abilities, and in his God-given right to the same education and opportunities as everyone else. But as fate (or is it destiny?) would have it, Forrest’s life would be one overflowing with opportunity and good fortune as evidenced through his becoming a college football hero, a decorated Vietnam veteran, a world Ping-Pong champion, and a millionaire businessman. Along the way, he has brushes with the likes of Elvis Presley, George Wallace, Abbie Hoffman, John Lennon, and three United States Presidents. Of course, the only acquaintance that deeply moves and motivates Forrest through his life is that of his childhood sweetheart, Jenny (Robin Wright).
Perhaps more poignant is Forrest’s impact on his Vietnam commander, Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise), who seeks a different destiny: dying a war hero like his forefathers. Yet, in the horror of battle, Forrest boldly saves Lt. Dan against his commander’s wishes and remains devoted to him as he copes with life as a cripple and in perpetual conflict with society and with God. And while both Jenny and Lt. Dan feel cheated and betrayed in the lives they lead, both ultimately come back to Forrest, acknowledging his unfailing resolve and elementary wisdom that has somehow pulled them all through Hell and back.
Paramount presents "Forrest Gump" in a pleasing <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen> transfer that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The source print curiously exhibits a bit more flecks and scratches than I might expect from such a "new" film but never to the point of becoming distracting. The colors are rich and true with flesh tones looking very natural though you should expect to see a bit of shifting in color temperature to reflect the wide range of time periods covered throughout the film. Blacks are deep, providing wonderful shadows without becoming overly dark or obscure. Detail is excellent throughout the presentation though there are a few brief moments when edge enhancement is apparent. All in all, a very nice and visually satisfying presentation.
Paramount really comes through in the area of extras. To start, you’ll find two running commentaries, one featuring assembled comments from Director Robert Zemeckis, Producer Steve Starkey, and Production Designer Rick Carter. The information they provide is truly interesting and revealing. The second commentary, interesting though a bit sparse, comes from Producer Wendy Finerman. But it’s Disc 2 that really delivers, packed with over two hours of documentaries, featurettes, screen tests, trailers, still galleries and production notes. While all content on this disc is definitely worthwhile, I’d especially recommend the production featurettes, which generously explain and demonstrate the key digital effects and makeup design. The featured documentary, "Through the Eyes of Forrest Gump," is a promotional piece developed at the time of the film’s theatrical release, which, though it belies a certain amount of pitch, is informative and enjoyable. Overall, be prepared to spend quite a bit of time with this second disc as its nearly as compelling as the film. As a final note, I’m equally impressed with the option to view the extras with English or French subtitles – a nice consideration by Paramount.