Forrest Gump Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews the highly anticipated Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Director Robert Zemeckis’ engaging drama which won 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

81

Details:

Studio and Year: Paramount – 1994
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 141 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright Penn, Gary Sinese, Mykelti Williamson , Michael Connor Humphreys
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Written by: Eric Roth based on the novel by Winston Groom
Region Code: A

Release Date: June 12, 2018

“The Story of a Lifetime”

My Take:

I reviewed Forrest Gump’s 2009 Blu-ray release, and have included my comments from that review here. Ratings for film, and bonus content will be the same, as they are identical to that release. New comments and ratings for the Ultra HD video and Dolby Atmos mix are below.

Tom Hanks gives an astonishing performance as Forrest, an everyman whose simple innocence comes to embody a generation. Alongside his mamma (Sally Field), his best friend Bubba (Mykelti Williamson), and his favorite girl Jenny (Robin Wright), Forrest has a ringside seat for the most memorable events of the second half of the 20th century.

“Mama always says….“ well you know. Forrest Gump is a true cinematic gem and a definitive achievement for its cast and filmmakers. It tells a complex story about a simple man whose daily life touched many but, from his point of view was looked at as just another day. Forrest Gump has learned through the love and devotion of his mother that the world is a better place because he is in it. His limitations don’t define who he is, his actions do. He is a deeply good man, the kind that god looks after. His successes in life are inspired by his innocence and ardent devotion to honesty, love and dedication to his word.

Gump is such a wonderful film. Its multifaceted story is deeply enriching and allows us first row seats to view life as seen from Forrest’s perspective. We experience a range of emotions as we laugh, cry, and feel for him as he works his way through one of the most turbulent and influential periods in our nation’s history. The film expertly and entertainingly inserts and exerts Forrest’s presence and purported influence during its various stages thanks to the digital trickery and visual effects wizardry of Ken Ralston.

Star Tom Hanks’ gripping Oscar winning performance is strongly supported by an incredible cast that truly elevated the film’s impact. Gary Sinese’s memorable portrayal of LT. Dan Taylor carried nearly as much depth as Hanks’ and as a team they provided some of the best moments. Mykelti Williamson’s small but pivotal role as “Bubba” has to be his crowning achievement. I like Robin Wright Penn but, find her to be one dimensional as an actress. Luckily the seemingly unlikable adult Jenny played to her strengths. As for Sally Field, little needs to be said, as she is one of the finest actors of her generation. Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis knows how to captivate his audience. His instincts as a storyteller and visionary are proven and this film places another “feather” in his already well featured cap. Forrest Gump is an American film classic and justly deserves that recognition.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for drug content, some sensuality, language, and war violence.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 76
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 76
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

Forrest Gump comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray Forrest Gump was finished on a 4K Digital Intermediate.

Before I went into viewing the Ultra HD rendering, I spent some time looking at select scenes from the Blu-ray release. I then watched the entire Ultra HD presentation paying attention to those same scenes from the Blu-ray version. The color timing appeared slightly different, with hues that leaned ever so slightly toward over saturation. This wasn’t always problematic but, on occasion warmed up fleshtones and primary colors to a distracting level.

During the opening sequence I did notice an uptick in sharpness and definition. Finer details were discernible, particularly in mid-level shots and clothing. Wide-angle shots didn’t appear appreciably deeper in terms of dimensionality, offering depth similar to the 1080p rendering, with perhaps a minor improvement. I found these improvements to be scene dependent. There were moments where the image quality was absolutely gorgeous and others where lacked definition, and resolvable texture.

Unfortunately, there was a decision to use digital noise reduction to “clean up” aspects of the image. The application isn’t heavy handed or pervasive, but the effects are noticeable, with some instances being subtle, while others are more on the blatant side. I have opted not to refer to specific moments, since there are many who may not notice this, and pointing it out could impact their experience. Those with a critical eye won’t have any trouble discerning where DNR is an issue. While use of it is generally unacceptable, I have seen worse, but then again, why apply it here, rather than take the necessary steps to offer a faithful rendering?

I felt that in general the presentation offered excellent to middling resolution, not in keeping what we have seen from the better offerings, especially for re-mastered catalog titles, from Paramount. The print isn’t perfect, with the occasional speckle popping up but, again, most may not notice. If I had to describe the Ultra HD presentation in one word, it would be, uneven. Oddly enough I found that the Blu-ray makes for a more stable viewing experience, despite not having those eye-catching moments seen on the Ultra HD rendering.

Looking at this Ultra HD presentation as a whole, given the status of its subject, I would say that it is disappointing. It’s not a complete misfire and does offer elements that improve upon the previous home release. However, given the potential that the format offers, I see this as a missed opportunity.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR-10 presentations for Forrest Gump, I found the application of HDR to be essentially identical. I did feel that the rendering of color in the Dolby Vision encode exacerbated the aforementioned over saturation I noticed but, seeing it was problematic for each I didn’t deduct for it.

The new Dolby Atmos mix uses the entire platform so as to broaden the soundstage via sounds emanating from both overhead and at ear level. This includes effects such as falling rain, gunshots passing close by, thunder claps, and venue replicating atmospherics that fill the listening area. The music score is mixed over the sound field, adding natural depth to its orchestrated elements while complimenting the story’s thematic details. This is done to very good effect, correlating with the onscreen events quite nicely as the most minute audio cues are fully realized.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Forrest Gump Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2 & 3: Forrest Gump Blu-ray/Bonus Features
    4K UHD
    • Commentary with Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Rick Carter
    • Commentary with Wendy Finerman
    Blu-ray
    • Commentary with Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Rick Carter
    • 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
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Forrrest Gump is a classic film that provides a bit of escapism to an imaginative yet very real world as seen through the eyes of one of cinema’s most genuine characters. Its superlative cast, creative imagery and apt direction make it supremely entertaining. It comes to Blu-ray in this highly anticipated Ultra HD Combo Pack from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring fair overall video quality, a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix and legacy supplements. I can’t help but feel letdown that Forrest Gump on Ultra HD Blu-ray didn’t live up to expectations. Fans will have to judge for themselves, but I hope to see another release that provides top notch image quality.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems