Cast Away (DVD, 2006, Single Disc Version; Full Frame; Sensormatic) Reviews
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Cast Away (DVD, 2006, Single Disc Version; Full Frame; Sensormatic)

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Castaway and Stupidity in Hollywood

Mar 23, 2004 (Updated Jul 30, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Beautiful movie. A lot to think about when you watch it. Tom Hanks.

Cons:A little bit of a downer.

The Bottom Line: It's rare that Hollywood produces a movie of this quality. Usually, you're told what to think and how to think it. This allows you to think for yourself.


In my mind, Castaway has to be one of the best movies of the year, and possibly the decade. Also, in my mind, it's one of the most perfect movies Hollywood has put out in years. It reminds me of older movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Peter Brook's Lord of the Flies and some of Hitchcock's movies where the movie conveys so many ideas in it that you have to see it four or five times to catch them all. Then, when you do catch what you think is all of them, you have that feeling that "surely I'm reading into it too much, he couldn't have meant all that." This is the kind-of movie that Castaway is. There are tons of ideas that sprout from watching it if you look at it as more than a Hollywood fluff film.

So many people go to the movies these days for the same reason that people go to amusement parks. They go for the thrill and the excitement, they go because they want an exact feeling to be given to them, they want to be scared or excited or to feel romantic. This is what causes the extraordinary amount of clichéd characters and overdone storylines. Making the movie isn't about the art, it's about making money. Movies aren't often made because there's a burning in a person's soul to get an idea out, it's made because a person has a burning desire to become rich. The two differences have totally different consequences. If you are making something without any new ideas or inspiration you have nothing to draw from but from what has already been done. As simple as it sounds--if you aren't creating from something new you're not making something new. Really, you aren't creating, you're recycling. I really think this is why we get the same characters, the same stories and the same circumstances every year in our movies.

One interesting thing I noticed about the movie Castaway (especially, the first time I saw it) was that they used our movie knowledge against us. Every good movie-goer knows that if a person gets put in an intense situation they have always providentially been provided with something that will help them. When I first saw Castaway I was sure that his trusty pocketknife would be there to help take care of him on the island. Why else would they have it in the movie? I was sure that when he got the flashlight he would have it for the rest of the movie. And, I was sure that the pocket watch would keep ticking the whole movie to remind him of how slow time can go in contrast to how fast he thought it went. None of this happened. These things all served a purpose in the movie; it helped us feel like Tom Hanks cirumstances were even more desperate. We expect the knife to be with him, so when it's not there, we think "How is survival possible now?". When the flashlight dies out we think "How will he get by without that?".

But, back to the idea of Hollywood degrading a wonderful art form called cinema... When Hollywood has something that they think is new and fresh, what they really have is something that has just been expanded and amplified more than it has been in the past. This is not creating something new and exciting. Movies should be held to the same standard as any other art form. When you look at a painting or a picture it's the same as one frame of a movie. Paintings are looked at for hours and hours and critiqued. There are so many emotions and thoughts and ideas that can come from the colors put together in a painting. Why shouldn't movies be looked at in the same way?

Watch Castaway scene by scene and look for all the thoughts and ideas that each scene evokes. This is especially true after Tom Hanks gets on the island. Let me start off by mentioning what is probably the prettiest scene to look at in the whole movie. It's the scene where Tom Hanks gets to the top of that mountain and looks around at where he's been trapped. He sees water and waves everywhere. The camera pans around in a way that makes you wonder how in world they could position a camera like that.

What is this scene trying to say? At it's very base, it's showing us that he's on an island that he can't get off of. Maybe it says more than that, maybe it doesn't. It could be showing the solitariness of his person and his soul. It has to be a big, extraordinary scene, because it needs to shock us as to how alone he is. It could be showing us that although his confinement is shocking and hard to grasp, but it will end up being the most beautiful thing to ever happen to him. The shock of it would be expressed through the use of the sharp cliffs and how sudden the camera reveals everything to us, it might even be dramatized more by the camera rising up and up until you can't quite take everything in. The fact that it will end up being a great experience could be shown by the beauty of the island from up there; you have the perfect blue water with the waves crashing along the coast and the sand, even the rocky side looks good from up there.

Okay, so maybe I'm reading into the scene, but like I said, maybe I'm not. Maybe all those people you see at the art gallery staring at still life are reading into things too much. I don't know, who is to decide?

There are so many other things that are said in this movie. Thoughts on loneliness, art, company, friendship, purpose, mental activity, love, possessions, control and lifestyle, culture. I can give scenes and reasons for why I mention all of those things. There aren't many movies that can have something to say about so many things. There are even fewer movies that can be so suddle about it. There also are not many movies that have the potential to bite off this big of a task. You need a big budget which takes a big star, but usually, the big budget means feeding society more of what they already have. This is why Castaway is such a rare and beautiful thing. Movies like this do not come around very often.


Recommend this product? Yes

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