If you read the label on a box of chocolates you'll know exactly what you're gonna get. Life isn't like that in Forrest Gump
, however, which is one of the reasons why this movie divided appreciative audiences from hard-hearted critics like few others before it. Audiences responded to the Frank Capra-style sentimentality of this warm-hearted tale of a good ol' American boy making his way in the world without ever losing his pure and simple innocence. Critics, however, were made uneasy by the apparently reactionary subtext to the parallel lives of Forrest and his girlfriend Jenny. Her fate, contrasted with his, suggests a triumph for plain ol' American values over dangerous freethinking hippies and liberals. Whether the movie is just unadulterated sentiment or right-wing propaganda, one thing at least was acknowledged by all: that Forrest Gump
displays all the craftsmanship of one of Hollywood's most inventive directors and features a central performance from an actor renowned for his total commitment to every role. Thanks to Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks, even the most cynical critic will find it hard not to shed at least one tear by the end of this undeniably engrossing movie. The soundtrack
is great, too.
On the DVD: another good two-disc set gives fans of Gump and budding filmmakers alike plenty to enjoy. The anamorphic picture and Dolby Surround on Disc 1 do full justice to Zemeckis' vision, which is accompanied by two commentaries: one from the director, producer Steve Starkey and production designer Rick Carter, and another one from producer Wendy Finerman. Disc 2 has the usual making of documentary (30 mins), plus some neat featurettes on the production and sound design and the many special effects shots (including how they made Gary Sinise lose his legs). In addition there are some screen tests of Robin Wright and a very young Haley Joel (The Sixth Sense) Osment, plus trailers and a photo gallery. All in all this is a worthwhile package. --Mark Walker
DVD Paramount Pictures, 5014437812438, 1994 Region 2 PAL Special Collector's Edition