Forrest Gump: 25th Anniversary Edition - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Forrest Gump: 25th Anniversary Edition


14483
Movie: :4.5stars:
4K Video: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4.5stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

It’s only been a year since Paramount released Forrest Gump on 4K UHD with a VERY controversial transfer and problematic HDR applied to it. I was actually really hoping that with the release of this 25th Anniversary edition that Paramount would go back and remaster or re encode the 4K disc, but sadly it looks like we’re left with the same release recycled once more. The only thing is, the Blu-ray is remastered this time instead of using the old Sapphire Edition release from a decade ago (which seems to have been struck from the same master than the 4K disc was struck from, just without the oddities funky HDR and seeming DNR). It’s not a total win, but at least brings something new to the arena, but still a bit disappointing.

There are very few movies out there that can be considered pure “movie magic”. Star Wars: A New Hope is one of those films, but Forrest Gump has become an American classic that very few other films can rival in terms of scope, complexity, and depth. Tom Hanks became a superstar from this film over night, and American audiences were captivated with the film in an instant (as it did garner in 6 academy awards that year, including Best Picture). I sadly was a bit too young to see it in its original theatrical run (12 year olds were more interested in things that go “pew pew” rather than dramatic epics), but I gained a new appreciation for the movie in college film class and have been a huge fan ever since. It’s another one of those movies that I have owned on DVD, Blu-ray, and now 4K UHD, and still love digging in and watching it with a nice cup whiskey on a Friday evening. The 4K UHD disc DOES suffer from a very problematic video encode, but Paramount has been kind enough to upgrade the audio mix to full on Atmos, and port over all of the fantastic extras from the 2 disc Blu-ray to make for a pretty good package.

Forrest Gump is a tale about a fictional man who grows up in a time of great upheaval in the 2nd half of the 20th century. Young Forrest Gump (Michael Connor Humphreys) is the disenfranchised son of a single mother (Sally Field) in Greenbow Alabama. Forrest was cursed with a horribly low IQ (we’d technically put him under mental retardation) and a twisted spine that forced the young boy to walk about with full leg braces for his younger years. Abused by the people round him, Forrest’s only friend comes in the form of Jenny (Hanna Hall). However, fate would change when he is able to shed his leg braces and Forrest learns that he can run. And by run, I mean REALLY run. From there he goes on to college, enters the Army during the start of the Vietnam War, makes friends with his Lieutenant (Gary Sinise), Starts a shrimp company from a small $25,000 sum, and meets the President, and do the one thing in life that he’s always wanted to do. Rekindle his friendship with Jenny (now played by Robin Wright).

Forrest Gump manages to work on SOO many different levels, telling a heart wrenching, totally sweet, lighthearted (even when it shouldn’t be) and totally relatable winding epic about a young man enjoying the best parts of America during that time period. Forrest’s integration into famous points of history never feels forced or cliched, but flows effortlessly from time period to time period. Each one just as believable and entrancing as the next. It’s a classic tale of rags to riches, but it’s so much more than that too. The audience truly CARES for Forrest, and we get to watch his simplistic outlook on life guide him through a time that was anything BUT simplistic. The painful aspects of growing up seem less severe the childlike mind, and his lovingly sweet outlook on people, and their foibles, is something we should all strive to imitate in a world where bitterness, and jaded emotions reign supreme.
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Tom Hanks had been a bankable star before Gump, with films like Turner & Hooch, The Burbs, and The Money Pit giving his comedic legs a chance to roam. However, Forrest Gump put the man on the map in a big way, and his dramatic career took off literally overnight. Quite literally EVERYONE wanted Hanks after this film and It’s not hard to see why. He plays Forrest with a such a genuine mix of innocence, charm and depth that you can’t help but love him on screen. This film defined his later career so heavily that you can almost go back to this time in his life to see when his cinematic direction took a shift and he was landed squarely in the middle of an upward line.

That’s not to say that the rest of the cast is any worse than Hanks. Robin Wright excels at Jenny, the “run of the mill” girl of Forrest’s dream, and Gary Sinise is incredibly lovable as Lt. Dan (and many a veteran can relate to the bitter state that Lt. Dan goes into after losing his legs and coming home to a country that was booing him as a baby killer). The Oscar worthy performances in Gump are almost too many to count, and for a 142 minute film, Zemeckis keeps it flying along at an incredibly smooth pace. 2 hours and 22 minutes feel like an hour and a half, and by the time you’re done, you want to go back and watch it yet again.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for drug content, some sensuality and war violence




4K Video: :3stars: Video: :4.5stars:
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Well, this 25th Anniversary edition is the EXACT same disc as was released back in 2018, and thus will have the same weak release as well. Is it better than the Blu-ray? Yeah it is, but not by a whole lot and it introduces some new issues as well into the image. The one GOOD thing about this new set is that it includes the newly remastered Blu-ray (which is actually just a 1080p encode of the master used for this 4K UHD disc, but still looks better than the old Sapphire edition Blu-ray that is on the 2018 4K UHD, or released separately a decade ago), and it's a decent boost over the old Blu-ray. But if you already got the 4K UHD release from last year and aren't interested in the new Blu-ray master, than I would pass as it's the same identical 4K UHD disc that we got last year.

With all of the great looking catalog titles on 4K being released over the last month I was REALLY excited for the 4K release of Forrest Gump last year. It’s one of those seminal titles that just screamed quality when Paramount put it out on their Sapphire Series Blu-ray sets (along with Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator) when Blu-ray was still in its infancy. However, the gravy train has to come to an end sometime and we’re left with a mediocre 4K transfer that is good in some scenes, but grossly inferior to the Blu-ray even in others. The main thing seems to be that the 4K master has been slathered in DNR (it’s not wildly thick and waxy like Face/Off, but still very very noticeable even in motion) and the use of HDR and 12 Bit Dolby Vision really change the look of the film (and not for the better). There are times in the film where the imagery in 4K is just STUNNING, with bright green grasses, soldiers crawling through the jungle, and close up shots that are incredibly revealing. It’s just that these scenes are interspersed with a lot of scenes that barely look any better than the Blu-ray in terms of details and textures. Then there are others that actually go BACKWARDS in quality, with obvious noise reduction giving the film a washed out look with smeared details and a very unfilmic look that just appears at odds with some of the better scenes in the movie Black levels are also rather problematic, with some shots being deep and inky, while others get washed out or even crushed. As such it’s an extremely frustrating release that wanders up and down the quality spectrum seemingly at whim.

I actually pulled up my buddy’s P607 to test out the Dolby Vision vs. the HDR, as I hard heard some interesting complaints about the Dolby Vision by some of my other reviewer friends. Those little quirks turned out to be correct, as the Dolby Vision actually looks rather overdone on the disc. The colors and brightness are at garish levels, with blooming and wasted darkness levels obvious to the eye. At first glance it doesn’t look that bad (and some of the green army uniforms actually look REALLY nice), but the Blu-ray offers a much more neutral look to the film, with textures looking better and fine details not disappearing into the washed out blacks, or the crushed blacks (there’s a scene at Forrest’s home that absolutely loses all sorts of shadow detail due to the crush). This is an OOOOK release, with some great scenes, but overall I can’t really recommend it over the Blu-ray as a result a of a very inconsistent transfer that is plagued with digital noise reduction.








Audio: :4stars:
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Once again, Paramount has deigned to upgrade the old 5.1 track with a nice sounding Dolby Atmos track that really does expand the sound stage to a richer and fuller experience. It's the exact same Atmos track found on the 2018 release, and well worth listening to if you have the equipment. The first half of the movie isn’t really one that will push an Atmos mix toe the max, but it does do a good job with the dialog centric hour, and Alan Silvestri’s score flows effortlessly through the channels. The college football game is one of the first points in the movie where the track picks up a little steam, opening up the mix with a loud and uproarious audience participation that fills out the back channels and low end quite nicely.

It’s not until the Vietnam War scenes that the Atmos mix truly gets engaged, with helo rotors thudding overhead and the screaming sounds of battle coming from all directions. Mortar shells and rockets blast all around Forrest and Sgt. Dan, while the thudding of the low end really does shake the room. The scene with Forrest addressing a mall over the loud speaker comes through with great vocal clarity, and the final scenes of the movie soften up a bit to bring it back to the forward heavy mix that the first hour was privy to.






Extras: :4.5stars:
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4K UHD
• Audio Commentary with Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Rick Carter
• Audio Commentary with Wendy Finerman

Blu-ray
• Audio Commentary with Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Rick Carter
• Audio Commentary with Wendy Finerman
• Musical Signposts to History
• Greenbow Diary
• The Art of Screenplay Adaptation
• Getting Past Impossible – Forrest Gump And The Visual Effects Revolution
• Little Forrest
• An Evening With Forrest Gump
• The Magic of Makeup
• Through The Ears of Forrest Gump – Sound Design
• Building The World Of Gump-Production Design
• Seeing Is Believing – The Visual Effects Of Forrest Gump
• Screen Tests




Final Score: :4stars:


Forrest Gump is one of those timeless American classics that gets better with age. I was barely 12 years old when the film came out so I missed its theatrical run (I wasn’t exactly into dramas back then), but has fast become a favorite of mine once I got into more diverse genres in college. It’s a movie that defies genres, and is exquisitely acted to boot. Tom Hanks was already a great actor, but this film launched into super stardom almost overnight, and for good reason. As for this 25th Anniversary 4K UHD disc? Well, it's the same 4K UHD disc that we got back in 2018, just with the Blu-ray part of the combo pack replaced with the newly mastered Blu-ray and given new cover art. If you're getting it to upgrade the 4K UHD that was already released, well then I would pass. But if you're looking to get the newly remastered Blu-ray then this or the single release is the one to get as it's definitely an improvement over the old Sapphire edition Blu-ray.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Written by: Eric Roth (Screenplay), Winston Groom (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English, German, Spanish, Spanish (Latin), French, Italian DD 5.1, Japanese, Portuguese DD 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 142 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 7th, 2019
14484





Recommendation: Great Movie, STILL a Frustrating Release

 

Todd Anderson

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CLASSIC

Kind of an odd release. I'm surprised they didn't just wait for the 4K treatment at the 25.
 

Michael Scott

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yeah, it was strange release the same 4K release a year apart. The only thing that really changes is that they re-did the blu-ray from the same master that the 4K UHD disc was sourced from and replaced it in the combo pack. *shrug
 

Sonnie

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Love the movie... but can't justify the 4K.
 
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