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Rice's Crash Ticker
(Since 2-7-01):

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3-20-03

CAST AWAY
Starring: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, & "Wilson"
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox

Date: 12/24/2000
By: Rice

    Interesting fact you may not know about Cast Away: Director Robert Zemeckis took a break from filming this movie for one year to allow Tom Hanks to slim down 40 pounds for the 2nd half of the island part. During that one year, he cranked out What Lies Beneath w/ Harrison Ford. Now that's called time management, eh?

    All digression aside, Cast Away is essentially a one man film. If you're going to do a one man film, that man better be Tom Hanks, or else you're movie is going to tank. Thank goodness he was signed on for the leading role instead of, say, Bruce Willis. Nicolas Cage might do OK too, but Hanks... he was born for roles like this.

Tom Hanks in a brilliant portrayal of a castaway.

    What initially angered me about Cast Away was the surprising amount of info the trailer gave away. Heck, it wasn't a trailer... it was a complete synopsis of the movie in 3 minutes. Hanks' character, Chuck Noland, goes down in a plane crash and gets stranded on a deserted island. He then decides he doesn't wanna die on that island, so he tries to sail off into the sea in search for land or help. It's all fine and dandy, except then they show him back home, recovered from his journey! What's up with that??

    I think what Cast Away was trying to do was to reach in deeper and be more complex, using the deserted island scenario as a backdrop and supplement. It tried to teach a moral story (take a wild guess). However, it instead makes the movie seem fuzzy, because the frame of mind we as an audience are in is that this is gonna be like the Swiss Robinson Family sans the family part.

Survival island tactics 101: Be resourceful!

    We're treated to an awesomely directed sequence in the beginning when the plane nosedives into the Pacific, then an admirable and even hilarious hour or so of Noland trying to survive the island. Once he gets off the island, though, we're stuck in a limbo because now it seems as if the movie's wrapping up, except it just drags and drags and drags. A lot of strings seems to be left untied in the end, and nothing really sort of makes much sense beyond the obvious.

    Ultimately Cast Away is saved by the acting of an Oscar veteran. Even Helen Hunt, who's screen time was limited, was excellent in playing her role. And Wilson... man, don't even get me started... best supporting actor nomination! Heh heh. In addition, although this film seems to deal with a grim subject, there were lots of spontaneously funny moments, and one liners that wouldn't work anywhere else. It all adds up to a good movie, but not a great one, which is more disappointing than usual because of the stellar efforts from every other aspect except the screenplay.

How many of you can start a fire with just sticks?

Grade: B+
-- Dazzling individual performance by Hanks. Movie itself feels disjointed.

Babe-o-meter: D
-- Helen Hunt ain't exactly hot. Plus she was in it for about 10 minutes total.

The aforementioned "ending" given away in the trailer.

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