on June 24, 2001
If you were expecting another Robinson Crusoe then this movie is not for you. This movie deals with the human aspect of being removed from everything you know and having to deal with not having the familiar around to keep you comfortable. If you are looking for exciting fights with the natives and constructing amazing devices from coconut shells and bamboo then you may want to go watch Robinson Crusoe or Gilligans Island. This was, I believe, probably a very difficult movie to make and probably even harder to sell the idea to a studio. Like I said earlier this is not Robinson Crusoe and you aren't given a lot of action to watch but what you are given is a look at just how man deals with what he's dealt. How many times have you found yourself having a conversation with ,well yourself, when no one else is around? Now take away all that you have and all your family and friends and, for that matter everything you have, how would you deal with it? A volleyball might just become a good friend. I don't think this movie would ever have seen the light of day if it hadn't been brought forward by such box office powerhouses as Hanks and Zemeckis and I don't know anyone else who could have pulled it off better than Hanks. So I recommend that you watch this movie but don't watch it for a survivalist action adventure flick watch it for what it is, a statement on the human condition and just how one man copes with what life throws his way.
on October 12, 2001
What other actor could we spend nearly 3hrs with and never once feel the need to glance at our watch or worry that we're getting to the end of our popcorn? This is not a movie that tricks us into thinking we got our money's worth. No musclebound hero wages a one man war against injustice. Music will not swell at opportune moments coaxing our tear ducts into over-drive. We don't have to take sides and nobody gets naked. Sounds dull, huh? Well, if your interests tend toward pretty/handsome, fast, loud, manipulative and titillating, don't bother seeing this movie. On the other hand, if you prefer substance over flash then this is the movie you'll want to see. In my opinion, Tom Hanks gives a performance that, over time, will come to be known as one of the single most magnificent acting accomplishments ever. It's hard to explain, but somehow Hanks allows us to re-visit and vicariously share the feeling of the first time. His physical and emotional transformation is nothing short of miraculous. You'll want to pay particular attention to his initial reactions to sounds the island makes. I laughed and cried at how he is repeatedly tricked into thinking he is getting the hang of his predicament. Also of interest is his characters' realization that he really doesn't know what he knows. But it's a good thing because it leaves him open to possibilities and ultimate triumph.The rest of the movie and the other performances are incidental. There is just enough of it to make us understand why his not being in that world matters.Don't watch this movie with any expectaions. Erase the blackboard; let Tom Hanks fill it in!
on August 8, 2008
Disc One: CAST AWAY
Letterboxed - Anamorphic - 1.85:1
DTS 6.1 ES - English
Dolby Digital 6.1 EX - English
Dolby Surround - English
Dolby Surround - French
Additional Release Material:
Audio Commentary - 1. Robert Zemeckis - Director, Don Burgess - Director of Photography, Ken Ralston - Visual Effects Supervisor, Carey Villegas - Co-Visual Effects Supervisor, Randy Thom - Sound Designer
Disc Two: Bonus Features
Featurettes - 1. "The Making of CAST AWAY"
2. "S.T.O.P.: Surviving as a Castaway"
3. "The Island"
4. "Wilson: The Life & Death of a Hollywood Extra"
Special Effects Vignettes with Audio Commentary
Charlie Rose Interview with Tom Hanks
Trailers - 1. 2 Original Theatrical Trailers
2. 10 TV Spots
Text/ Photo Galleries:
on December 30, 2007
I own movies in both HD DVD and Blu-Ray formats so I've seen very many HD movies and am well familiar with the formats capabilities.
Being one of my favorite movies, Cast Away's release in Hi-Def got me very excited. I'm a big fan of the movie and give the movie itself 5 stars but am only reviewing the quality of this release here. The opening sequence where the FedEx truck drives up and picks up the package for delivery to Russia looks only slightly better than the standard DVD. When the truck opens up and the Russia scene starts it looks a lot better, but still more like 720p quality. Through the rest of the movie the HD quality stays about the same, decent but not great. It's certainly a step up from DVD but there are a few scenes that seem to be no better than my 2 disc DVD edition. The best looking scenes are the closeup scenes where the HD quality becomes more apparent but it still doesn't look anywhere near as good as other HD titles I own. Some of the best looking HD titles I own are: The Matrix collection, 2001, The Fifth Element, Apollo 13, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Pirates of the Caribbean, and number of others.
While watching the movie and examining the quality I came to the thought that it might not be the transfer that's the issue but possibly it was the director of photography's filming. It looks like the DP tried hard to keep a balance of focus between the actor and the background thereby not getting a truly sharp focus. I could be wrong but this is what it looked like. The 5.1 surround sound was fantastic. I didn't notice any difference between my DVD and Blu-ray versions, though I do admit I really didn't examine the audio.
Overall the movie was nice but I was let down as I was expecting better, especially from a movie with such a great environment. If you own the 2 disc DVD keep in mind the 2 disc set has all those extras and this hi-def release does not. So you may want to hold onto your set. Don't go getting Cast Away expecting the same HD quality you see in all those top notch movies that people use to showcase the format. It still looks great and certainly better than DVD just not leaps and bounds better for most of the scenes. Again, I can't say for sure but it may simply have been the way it was filmed.
Sony PS3 (latest update)
Samsung LN-T5265F 52" LCD 1080P (calibrated)
Toshiba 5.1 surround sound system
on September 8, 2003
If you watch Cast Away simply as a movie then you will lose a powerful opportunity for introspection.
The power of this movie lies in its applicability to everyone. To Hanks' character the island is far more than a hunk of rock in the South Pacific. It represents a huge hurdle for him to clear and in clearing it his coming to grips with his life and who he is.
Regardless of who you are there are times in life that relegate us to times and situations of frustrating solitude, our own islands, if you will. We, like Hanks' character, run ourselves crazy trying to work things out ourselves only to discover, as he did, "that we have power over nothing." We also learn that if we keep on breathing and living "tomorrow the sun will rise and who knows what the tide could bring."
Expertly acted by Tom Hanks, Cast Away invites us to put ourselves in his shoes and imagine what we would do.
Yes, the script is predictable but it goes well beyond the story on the screen. Watch it and apply it to your own islands, whatever they may be, and this movie will be one that you find yourself watching again and again.
on June 6, 2001
I went to see Cast Away with some trepidation. Although I enjoy Tom Hanks' acting, I wasn't at all sure that he could carry the movie given what I'd heard about it, and his promotional appearances and interviews didn't quell my misgivings. But I'm pleased to report that I was totally won over. Quite simply, this is Hollywood at its best. Although it dips rather expectedly into a bit of the sentimentality of Forest Gump in the final few minutes, all involved can be forgiven on the strength of the rest of the film. That Hanks lost the Oscar for best actor to Russell Crowe of Gladiator is only proof that the Oscars are devoid of whatever artistic integrity they might once have had. Hanks, in his role as Chuck Noland, is superb in this film. I was surprised that critics and reviewers haven't made more of what I saw to be the real core of the film--the drama of Noland's return. While watching Noland (the name can't be coincidental!) surviving through ingenuity on his island was fascinating, the story's emotional heart is played out upon his return, when he finds out he's been cast away by his fiancee. The depiction of the deeply conflicted couple trapped in a horrible situation between love and responsibility was completely convincing. Most highly recommended.
on June 20, 2008
I own the original DVD version of the film and love it; it's one of my very favorite movies. So I was pretty excited to see it out on Blu-ray and picked it up. I knew that the island scenes would be amazing with the higher resolution...
I was wrong.
I'm seeing this in other movies, too. Some films, like the Pirates of the Carribean series are so sharp they makes your eyes hurt. Cast Away looked so much like the regular DVD version I though I'd bought the old format version.
I'm convinced there must be a cheap fast way and an expensive right way to issue a blu-ray film, and I'm convinced the studio took the easy way out on this one. Since I've got both version it's easy to compare, and sad to say, the blu-ray isn't worth the money. It's an awesome story, but I expected more from the blu-ray experience. Other movies do.
on November 4, 2007
Many have written great reviews of this awesome movie. I just watched it twice again the last couple of days and have found things I missed in earlier viewings. This film definitely makes my list of films that I can watch again and again.
Its fairly easy to perfunctorily view this film as a simple plot line: that is, man crashes in airplane, survives on island, loses lots of weight, grows beard, builds raft, gets back home, but, alas, not the ending he thought it could be. To view and absorb this movie on this superficial level is a waste of the art and symbolism that it contains.
That's where the spiritual aspect of this film comes in that so many viewers have missed. There is a great deal of spiritual symbolism on a deeper level.
One reviewer thought it was weird that Tom Hanks made an imaginary friend in a Wilson Volleyball. This is not strange at all. I surmise that viewers that think along these lines have never spent great stretches of time alone without human contact. To them I say, go camping alone for a month somewhere where you will not see people and you might begin to understand how "Wilson" helped keep Hanks alive.
OK OK what is this symbolism I am speaking of??? The very last scene of the movie breaks us over the head with symbolism. Hanks is standing in the flattest of the flat parts of Texas at a crossroads. Literally, he does not know what road to take. Figuratively, metaphorically, his entire life is at a crossroads. Chuck Logan has learned something new though. He has been transformed by his experience and has learned how to listen to some voice deep inside instead of rushing around like a Fed Ex mad man. He waits, contemplates until he feels his guide, the inner man, help him on his way. This IN ESSENCE, is what this film is all about.
Whats with the whale and the spraying of the water. Some people have missed that the spraying of the water is actually THE WHALE that has followed along with Hanks on the raft and has sprayed him, that is, woken him up out of his coma, at very key moments. Some may think: WOW, that is really far fetched. Well then, I challenge you to go on a whale watch yourself if you have never done so. When a whale comes as close to you as was accurately portrayed in this movie, raises its head out of the water, and its eye looks in yours and your eyes look into its eye, you can only come to one conclusion: you are looking into the eye of an intelligent and sentient being that is quite capable of staying with Hanks. Sailors have reported these experiences with whales time and again.
No one has written about the GOLD WINGS symbol that Chuck Logan says saved his life. Yes, that symbol saved his life but also Wilson saved his life, Kelly saved his life, the watch saved his life, and Chuck Logan saved his life by recognizing his powerlessness and transforming his life.
on April 16, 2004
The key to understanding (and enjoying) this film lies in understanding one's self; sound a bit too new-agey? Well, consider this: many people have let themselves forget that movies used to be more than "naked-people-in-car-chases"; they used to teach you something, make you realize something you already knew, or rekindle the hope we have in humanity. Sadly, it seems as though this movie was watched by those who have forgotten these things (and then wrote a review;) Yes, this is not a "fun, feel good" type of film, yet these are often the most important films of all; one feels as though they are actually undergoing the ordeal with Chuck Noland (Hanks), feeling the despair, loneliness and fear right there along side him; but thanks to some seriously underrated writing, we also feel his sense of renewal at the end, when he realizes that nothing happens by accident; this element of spirituality, though never directly addressed in the film is what gives it the ability to transcend the screen and reach out to all who have ever felt profound loss and solitude. Sometimes the lessons we learn in life don't come in prettily wrapped packages; watching this movie (and learning the lessons it has to offer) may not always be a comfortable, felicitous experience, but definitely worth every minute.
on December 15, 2000
It's been a disappointing year so far for Academy Award-caliber movies and performances, but you can always depend on Mr. Reliable--Tom Hanks, who else?--to start whispers of an Oscar just before the close of 2000. I was lucky enough to see an advance screening of "Cast Away" and I'm determined to start the positive buzz about this film as quickly as possible.
If you've seen the trailer or watched the commercial, you know the plot: after a terrifying, white-knuckle scene of a plane crash (more harrowing than "The Perfect Storm"), Federal Express time management expert Chuck Noland gets marooned on a desert island. In less capable hands than this simple plot would have devolved quickly into gung-ho adventure or broad comedy, but Hanks has the subtlety and range to elicit groans of sympathetic horror at his plight as well as laughter over the ridiculous nature of his predicament. The film brilliantly becomes virtually a silent movie for an hour, largely free of spoken dialogue and without music, as Chuck's struggles to survive become exercises in failure, discovery, success, and physical pain. As years slip by and pudgy Chuck turns slim, bronzed, and an expert hunter, he slips into an apparent madness, obsessed with a blood-faced volleyball (named "Wilson") that is his only companion on the island. It's Hank's off-handed but sincere talent that makes this concept sympathetic instead of silly, and he has the acting gifts to convince us he's not only not gone crazy, he's remaining desperately sane in the only way he knows how.
It's not a perfect movie: the beginning drags (I found myself thinking, "Oh, get cast away, already!) and the inevitable bittersweet ending is much less interesting than the two centerpieces of the film, Chuck's first and last months on the island. A plot point involving an unopened FedEx package seemed unbelievable to me but inspires a nice Frank Capra-esque moment at the conclusion. But if only for the scenes on the island, Hanks deserves an Oscar nod for his acting--uncluttered by swelling music and clever dialogue--and for showing us again that he is indeed one of the most versatile and sympathetic character actors of our generation.