Forrest Gump

Reviewed By PyThomas
Posted 08/20/98 23:54:41

"(Insert box-of-chocolates joke here.)"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

If you've seen Forrest Gump the movie and later read the book it's based on, you'll find that Robert Zemeckis and Eric Roth have taken Winston Groom's bestselling novel and mutilated it almost beyond recognition.

This film is a first-class example of how Hollywood screenwriters will take a critically-acclaimed literary work and totally plunder it, just so they can gain a few more points in focus groups and test screenings, not to mention meet their quota of sex scenes and explosions.

Not to say that Forrest Gump is a bad movie. It takes a plethora of pop-culture icons from the fifties to the eighties and skews them to fit seamlessly into Forrest's life. According to the film, Mr. Gump (Tom Hanks) was responsible for a lot of things... Elvis's hip grinding, the yellow smiley face, the "Shit Happens" catchphrase, and so on. All from a slow-witted and humble point of view.

Throughout all this, Forrest's heart beat only for his childhood sweetheart, Jenny (Robin Wright). Even when she was off shagging hippies, singing naked, leading anti-war protests, or contemplating suicide to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Forrest loved her and no one else, and thought of her often.

Zemeckis, who was previously best known for his Back To The Future trilogy, does a remarkable job here. Tom Hanks deserved his Oscar for his three-dimensional portrayal of a dimwit. The rest of the performances - Wright, Sally Field as his influential mom, Gary Sinise as Gump's Army boss/business partner - are stellar. The special effects - no big explosions here, just the splicing of Gump into old newsreels and the erasing of Gary's legs - are subtle yet compelling.

Just don't be fooled... this ain't Winston Groom's Forrest Gump. It's the Hollywood machine molding a lowly book character into a mid-nineties baby boomer icon, big enough for Weird Al Yankovic to sing about.

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.