The Forrest Gump film has always been known as an example of a sophisticated, uncommon script. This film is impossible to analyze using the existing theories. That is why it is so important to understand how the film works and compare the movie scenario with its source – the Forrest Gump book. The book describes the life of the protagonist in much more detail to better capture the reader’s imagination, but the film gets rid of useless absurd scenes and shows Forrest as a more poetic and vulnerable character.
The Forrest Gump film is a successful adaptation of the book into a screenplay. Literary material often has a greater potential for identity, non-standard, elaborated work. It is not focused on the cinematic tendencies and categorization; it is not engaged in the pursuit of the trend. The author of the novel bears idea and collects material for years; he expresses opinion inherent only to him, shows original characters and events, which he takes from his experience. If one translates this perfect basis into the language of cinema, he gets a masterpiece.
So, how are the Forrest Gump book and the film similar and how are they different?
Let us start to answer this question with one of the main film phrases. In the film, Gump says, "Life - like a box of chocolates. You never know what you get" (Forrest Gump). Where is this phrase in the book? You will not find it in the literary work. Instead, the very first line of the novel says the opposite, "Let me say this: being an idiot is no box of chocolates"(Groom).
Why is this important? In such a way from the first moment, the theme and the mood message are presented. The book says, "Now I will tell you how uneasy my life was" (Groom). At the same time, the film tells us that life is unexpected and surprising, all events are like in a chocolate shell, and all of them are in a nice box with ribbon (Forrest Gump). At the same time, this memorable remark prepares us for the unusual structure of the film jumping on different events not connected by anything but the hero himself.
Another significant difference is the character of the protagonist, Forrest. The book shows us a rude stocky man, who always uses swear words. Those were his height and strength that allowed him to play in the American football team, fight easily, and save his platoon in Vietnam.
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On the contrary, Tom Hanks’ hero becomes more vulnerable. He runs during half of the film. He runs from bullies, he runs on the football field as well as through the jungle of Vietnam. Then, he flees home after finding out about his mother's illness and runs across America in a philosophical episode of the film. His talent is not innate; in the film, it is acquired through overcoming the weakness.
To make a movie on the book, film directors are confronted primarily with the need for substantial reductions. Robert Zemeckis excellently coped with this complicated task. He cut out a lot of absurd episodes such as a stupid scene in the world of wrestling, where Forrest in pin diapers and a jester hat plays the role of a fighter named Fool. There was also a large piece, in which Forrest is sent into space with a woman astronaut and orangutan (hereinafter, monkey often accompanies him), survives after a crash and finds himself among the cannibals of New Guinea, etc. It is difficult to imagine what movie it would be.
In conclusion, the Forrest Gump film is a brilliant adaptation of the book. The film director gets rid of all unnecessary and absurd excess in the content. As a result, the overall mood of the film is more benevolent and poetic than that of the book. The main character is more sensitive, emotional, and vulnerable that has a positive effect on moviegoers. The film evokes a bunch of emotions, it strengthens dramatic elements, increases light and sublime ones, as well as balances the events in the correct places of the plot.
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