Plot: What’s it about?
Josh Baskin should be enjoying his childhood, after all, youth is fleeting for us all. He has a doting mother, a great best friend, and his future looks quite bright. But like most kids, he longs for the things adulthood brings and at a carnival, he makes a wish to a Zoltar machine. Of course, even Josh assumes the wish made to the fortune telling robot is just for a lark, but the next morning he discovers the truth. His wish has been granted and now Josh (Tom Hanks) is a grown man, but the world around him remains the same. In other words, his mother wonders who the strange man in her house is, his best friend is creeped out by the adult hanging out, and Josh soon finds himself all alone. But when a chance encounter leads to a job and a real adult lifestyle, will Josh relish being grown up or wish he was a kid again?
Sometimes even predictable, schmaltzy movies can be good, as proven by Big. This film is as predictable as can be, with ample schmaltz, but it works. I think the film’s success rides a lot on Tom Hanks, who was well known before Big, but this was the movie that pushed him into true stardom. Hanks carries the movie well, bringing the youthful energy needed, but also some dramatic skill that shines through. If he wasn’t able to bring out his inner child so well, Big would have fallen apart, but instead Hanks excels and he drives the entire picture. The rest of the cast is solid and the writing is passable, as it is indeed predictable, but as I said, it gets the job done. I still wouldn’t call Big a great movie, but it is a fun one to watch and Hanks’ performance has held up well. So if you’re a fan or seeing it for the first time, Big is well recommended.
Video: How does it look?
Big is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I have to admit that I was a little let down here, but the visuals still look decent. I’ve seen some impressive catalog releases of late, so I hoped to see that kind of treatment for Big, but instead we have a passable presentation. I’d rather watch this than the DVD of course, but the gap between the two isn’t as wide as I’d like. Even so, you’ll notice a clearer picture right off the bat, with detail that is solid, if a little soft by high definition standards. The colors seem muted to an extent and contrast is stable, but a little off at times. So while Big looks decent, it isn’t great and doesn’t offer a big improvement over the DVD.
Audio: How does it sound?
This DTS HD 5.1 option is adequate, but never rises above average. Then again, you can’t fault the soundtrack, as this movie just isn’t an audio powerhouse. The music has good life and the few scenes that need a boost are handled, but the front channels run this one from start to finish. The dialogue is clear and never suffers from harshness or volume issues, which is great news. Overall, a solid all around soundtrack. This disc also includes a stereo option, French, Spanish, and Portuguese language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Portuguese.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to both the theatrical and extended versions of the movie, we have audio comments from writers Anne Spielberg and Gary Ross. This is available for the theatrical cut and while some interesting tidbits emerge, this is pretty much a dull affair. I wouldn’t call it the worst session I’ve heard, but it is hard to stay awake through. Almost an hour’s worth of promotional featurettes are next, but AMC Backstory’s episode on Big puts them all to shame. If you’ve watched the show before, you know it is a fun, informative look behind the scenes. This disc also includes some deleted scenes and the film’s theatrical trailer.