'Gandi,' 'Forrest Gump' are spectacular DVDs

Monday, September 17, 2001 at 1:00am

Gandi (Columbia) and Forrest Gump (Paramount) were Oscar-winning epic movies that both delighted critics and audiences. These DVDs contain several vital features as well as exceptional sound mastering and digital transfers. DVDs are coming increasingly close to duplicating the movie theater experience in terms of capturing the viewer's attention and challenging their imagination.

Ben Kingsley's performance as Gandi earned him the Best Actor Oscar in 1982, and was one of nine awards the film earned. But he is equally captivating on disc discussing Gandi's impact, and outlining the preparation and research it took for him to credibly portray one of the world's most important leaders. The disc offers archival newsreel footage showing Gandi visting England, making his farewell talk in Europe and beginning his death fast, a truly chilling event. Other features include a photo montage, some excerpts from Gandi speeches, various production notes, the theatrical trailer, and both animated menus and production notes.

Most importantly, Kingsley's role truly gives the viewer a heightened idea of Gandi's dignity, will and courage. Other cast members include Candice Bergen, Martin Sheen, Trevor Howard, John Mills and John Gielgud. It took over two decades for things to come together for this film to actually reach the screen. Sir Richard Attenborough's direction and John Briley's screenplay also justly earned Oscars, and Gandi deserves multiple praises and merits repeated viewings.

Tom Hanks earned his second Oscar for Forrest Gump, portraying a character with limited intelligence but a huge heart who plows his way through some of history's major events. While director Robert Zemecks copped Best Director honors, it was Hanks' aimable personage, coupled with the contributions of such actors as Robin Wright, Mykelti Williamson, Gary Sinese and Sally Field that made it a classic movie. The special edition release is a two-disc package, with the second DVD including a comprehensive making-of documentary, a feature on the great character makeup, another vignette on building the set and the sound, plus screen tests, trailers and a photo gallery.

Interestingly, the producers added some extras to the main disc as well. There are interactive menus and commentary from Zemeckis, Steve Starkey, Rick Carter and Wendy Finerman. However, Hanks' performance in the title role remains the major lure for Forrest Gump, just as Ben Kingsley dominates Gandi.

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