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How has Robert Zemeckis presented and adapted Forrest Gump for the cinema

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  • Category: Gump

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‘Forrest Gump’ is a film, which I think represents hope for people everywhere. The film is about a simple-minded boy from Greenbow, Alabama. His story begins with his life as a young boy. He has an intelligence quota of only seventy five, and never seems to leave his house, unless he is with his mother. Forrest’s first real trip outside of his house results in him meeting his lifelong friend and eventual wife Jenny Curran. Forrest’s life is all about a struggle, not being accepted by society, or people in general. Forrest is bullied throughout his school years we only see this happen outside school though; we see this graphically demonstrated as bullies chase him.

We also see at this point the first real miracle that happens in Forest’s life. Forrest has had his legs in splints and this seems to be one of the reasons that he is bullied as well as his stupidity. The scene where the bullies chase Forrest is one that changes form a disturbing scene to an uplifting one, as he breaks out of his leg splints and is able to support himself. Bullying carries on through secondary school though, and we see that the bullying leads to Forrest being given a place at College as his talent at running is spotted whilst he evades his bullies.

Forrest then graduates and joins the American Armed Forces. He becomes a war hero and is awarded the congressional Medal of Honour. Whilst serving in the Army he develops his ability at ping pong and joins the All American Ping pong team. After leaving the Army he becomes the owner of the “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. ” Lieutenant Dan also joins him in his venture of becoming a shrimp boat captain. Forrest then goes through the pain of losing his mother to cancer. Almost simultaneously he becomes reunited with Jenny and marries her.

After a while Jenny dies from aids and Forrest is left with his son Forrest and we begin to see the same sort of things happen at the beginning of Forrest Juniors school life as we did at the beginning of Forrest’s, except that Forrest Junior is clever. Robert Zemeckis has done a great job with Forrest Gump as a movie. I think that his style of directing is very distinctive and is easily visible in this film. I think that this film has taken a slightly different perspective on it than some of his other films. I think that is why it is so unique.

I think that the way Robert Zemeckis has adapted the novel and made it into such a moving film speaks volumes of his directing ability. I think that the biggest theme within this film is attitude. I think that Forrest is always put in a no win situation and always seems to prosper. I think that Forrest always keeps an upbeat attitude toward life. On the other hand I feel that sometimes some of the situations that he is put in discredit the film, because the overwhelming number of situations he is put in through his life, under which most people would have cracked, Forrest always comes out on top.

Within the film the different tests that, Forrest comes up against don’t seem to phase him. I feel that his stupidity helps him to overcome the problem. He does not fully understand the problem before him and so tackles it in his own way. I also feel that a slightly lesser theme of the film is love. I think that the story could alone be based on Forrest and Jenny’s relationship. I feel that the way they first met and from then on how their relationship develops is very special. I think that Forrest always maintains his love for Jenny, but her commitment is lacking.

Jenny always seems to want to know Forrest and loves him in her own way but, Forrest’s love never wonders from Jenny. He is presented with opportunities of other women when he is with Lieutenant Dan. He makes excuses for not wanting to take things further with her. “She tasted like cigarettes Lieutenant Dan. ” Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump 1994 That is one of the most assuring parts of Forrest’s love for Jenny. Forrest goes through life and seems to only be loved by two people, his mother and Jenny. His mother is always there for him except when she can’t be – whilst he is in Vietnam.

I feel that his mother is somewhat over protective of Forrest. I think that she loves him too much to let him get hurt, but she never stands in the way of what he wants to do. The only time I think Forrest gets hurt is when Forrest goes to see Jenny sing and she tells him to leave her, and doesn’t want to see her. “Forrest you stay away from me okay, you just stay away from me please” Jenny – Forrest Gump 1994 After the above quote though we then see the loving side of Jenny and she tells Forrest what to do if he gets into trouble in Vietnam.

Don’t you try and be brave, you just run. You hear me, just run” Jenny – Forrest Gump 1994 But then we see how Jenny has hurt Forrest in the next scene. He is sat with his mother and we see him with his head rested on his mother like a baby. This I think signifies how much Forrest has been hurt by Jenny, the way that he has to retreat to his mother for comfort. A few scenes later we hear Forrest from the voice over narration telling us that he did what Jenny told him, which again refers to the quote above.

Although we have seen Forrest hurt by Jenny, we still see how Forrest loves Jenny, and has taken onboard what she said to him. Forrest rarely goes five scenes without mentioning Jenny to someone. I think that the unique relationship that Forrest and Jenny have wouldn’t happen in real life because of the way they seem to meet up no matter where they are in the country. I seem to think that it is too much of a coincidence that two people could be in the same places at the same time as many times as Forrest and Jenny are.

I think that the love theme is not just shown through Forrest and Jenny but also through Forrest and Bubba. I think that the relationship that Forrest and Bubba develop is a lot like the relationship between Forrest and Jenny. The one difference is that Bubba never seems to want to ‘not want to be there’ when Forrest needs him. Unlike Jenny, Bubba is always there for Forrest and never treats him as badly as Jenny does. Another of the big themes which is brought out by Forrest’s and Bubba’s relationship is race. Through the film we see scenes where black people aren’t accepted within American society.

The biggest thing in Forrest and Bubba’s relationship is the fact that for the time in which this part of the film is set Black people still weren’t accepted as normal people within American society. Another thing which I found quite amusing was the fact that the man Forrest was named after was actually the leader of the Klu Klux Klan, which completely went against Blacks even being thought of as equals. One of the biggest statements about Blacks not being equal is when George Wallace protests outside Forrest’s school about Blacks being admitted there.

One of the new black students drops a book and Forrest again not showing any understanding of what people want to happen, runs and gives the lady her book, whilst onlookers look in disbelief at what he has just done as well as shouting abuse at the new students. As though he accepts black’s being admitted. I think that when Wallace does this it shows how only thirty to forty years ago people in America still thought about Blacks. I think that for a Governor of the American state to have still had the same outlook on Black people then was completely wrong.

When the armed forces that have been sent to enforce the order that the two Blacks be admitted, they too have a look of disparagement about what is happening. After the war the only other scenes of racial disputes happen after Forrest has received his congressional Medal of Honour, when he is taken to a Black Panther party, who believed that the war in Vietnam was mainly about Black people being sent to war to fight for a country that hates them. “Because we the Black panthers are against the war in Vietnam, yes we are against any war where Black soldiers are sent to the front line to die for a country that hates them! Black Panther leader – Forrest Gump 1994 I think that in that sentence there is a definite emphasis on the ‘Black ‘, as though Black people were the only people who went to the front line and gave their life. As we see the film form the point of view of Forrest, we see how everything that happens to him is interoperated by him. I think that his helps us to understand his stupidity and naivety. As we see things through his life we see more and more how important small things like his mum and best friend (Jenny), are to him and how he never takes things for granted.

All the way through the film there are a wide range of presentational devices used. The narrative is the most frequently used of all the presentational devices. Almost the entire story is told in narrative. In think this works well as we start the film at present and we then explore the extraordinary past of Forrest Gump. The narrative works well around the action within the scene. As the action is taking place I think that the way Tom Hanks adapts his voice so that it matches what is happening within the film. I think the best example of this is when he is in Vietnam.

The platoon are hiking and the suddenly Lieutenant Dan tells the platoon to “get down and shut up! ” Within the film we first hear Forrest say this in almost a whisper, and then we hear Lieutenant Dan say it almost simultaneously to Forrest. This effect I think shows Forrest’s naivety and how literally he actually takes things that are said to him. Another instance of this is when Forrest is first introduced to ping pong, and he is told never to take his eye of the ball. I feel that he takes this so literally that it leads to him becoming part of the all American ping pong team.

The special effects that take place through the film are quite spectacular. I think the most impressive of all of the special effects is when Forrest meets the array of American Presidents, and other historical figures like John Lennon. I think the matting which has taken place to insert Forrest into the pieces of historical video are very well done and have given the film special qualities. I don’t think there is another film that I have seen that does this, or does it so well. Another presentational device which I think is used well is music.

I think that the music that is used in the film reflects the emotions that we are meant to feel through the film. One of the best uses of music I think appears across two scenes. This again refers to a scene already mentioned above. Jenny is sat outside his house on a log looking out over a lake and his mother comes along to comfort him, toward the end f that scene we can hear heavy rock music lightly fading in, then we cut to the next scene and we have Forrest and Bubba sat in an Army helicopter and the music competes with the helicopter for importance and recognition.

I think those two scenes are done to establish the sense of pace for the first scene cutting into the next. One of the worst presentational devices used is dubbed dialogue. This occurs mainly when Forrest meets the American Presidents, because he didn’t really meet them, they have used dubbed dialogue to make us think that he did meet those Presidents and that he was there at the time. As you watch the action, you think how clever it looks, but then the fact that the movement of the Presidents’ mouths is not in time with the dubbed dialogue.

Read also:

Back to the future
The neorealist movement
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