Retro Review: Cast Away

This could be one of the most anticipated films of 2000. The re-teaming of Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis should equal magic or does it?

Tom Hanks stars as a Fed-Ex executive who is trying to complete one last trans-pacific errand before Christmas. Leaving his fiancé (Helen Hunt), Hanks decides he can finish that one last journey before the holidays begin.

While the plane is on the way back and Hanks is dreaming of “sugar plums and old St. Nick” a shocker occurs. The plane dive-bombs into the Pacific.

Hanks awakens on a beach where he is surrounded by Fed-Ex packages and doesn’t really know where he is. He decides he can survive until help arrives. How will he do that? How long will it take?

And exactly how can one man overcome these tremendous odds and get back to the people that love him?

I loved the airplane crash in this film. It was quite gripping and shocking. It had a presence like the airplane crash in the film “Alive”.

I liked how the crash brought out the survival instinct deep inside the Hanks character.

The film then moves on to Hanks’ slowly going out of his mind on the island which is a real treat to watch. Hanks is still amazing.

I have made fire!
I have made fire!

The structure of the film interrupts Hanks’ brilliant performance and for me ruined the last half. Castaway tries way to hard to live up to the majestic tone of the trailers and the reputation of its cast and crew. Eventually falling apart as it wears out its welcome.

What’s strange about this whole structural flaw is there is the exact moment when you know that the film is boring and toying with you.

It all occurs with the dreaded “….years later…” text that flashes across the film. I mean the film before that text seems like a completely different film then the one after. The film doesn’t explode right at that moment. I mean it’s ok until Hanks gets back to the mainland and when he arrives it’s like the film has an identity crisis.

I mean there are at least 4-5 separate endings to this film and with this we have a film that drags on and on. I mean 3-4 of those endings belonged on the DVD not in multiplexes.

What is really the killer about all these endings is that the “theatrical” trailer tells you the whole movie so none of them is really shocking just trying.

When I finished seeing this film I was told that the film’s primary focus was about a Fed-Ex package and its journey not that of Hanks. Am I the only one who thinks that’s stupid? I guess you can debate, who’s the castaway the package or the man. Ugh!

3.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

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