He may seem merely a feebleminded wanderer who bumbles through history, but in truth, Forrest Gump is the angel of death. Everyone around him is either shot, maimed, wounded, or stricken: his longtime love, Jenny (Robin Wright), his best friend, Bubba (Mykelti Williamson), his buddy, Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise), not to mention JFK and John Lennon. ”Gump”’s darkness is betrayed by lighter moments and a pop-familiar soundtrack. It’s manipulative entertainment at its seductive best, anchored by a stellar performance from Tom Hanks, but anyone who tells you that it’s a heartwarming fable just hasn’t looked closely enough.
Fans of the saccharine-silly ”Gump” will be thrilled with this two-disc special edition, as it’s filled with some pretty sweet stuff: commentaries by director Robert Zemeckis and producer Wendy Finerman; a making-of doc; and a passel of featurettes, including an F/X bit that offers two deleted sequences that would have introduced Forrest to Martin Luther King Jr. and George Bush Sr. The true gems are the screen tests. Seeing how lame Hanks’ performance was before he got the speech patterns and mannerisms down only highlights how impressive the final product is. And watching a barely post-toddler Haley Joel Osment gaze eerily at Hanks evokes a giddy ”I see dumb people.”