If only Tom Hanks had owned a copy of the two-disc release of "Cast Away" on DVD, then he'd have had plenty to keep him occupied.
Disc one contains the movie, and as you'd expect from such a big release, the picture quality is excellent. Proof of the pudding is evident in the rain-lashed storm scenes where only bolts of lightning or the moon illuminates the nighttime drama. Such under-lit flashes offer ample opportunity for grain and poor resolution, but the image stays pin sharp throughout.
Buckle-up for a tremendous 5.1 sound mix that offers ferocious subwoofer action, especially for the plane crash. It's equally good at the subtle effects too as the rears fill with creepy rustlings and mysterious thuds.
There's also a commentary with director Robert Zemeckis and various other crewmembers. As with his audio accompaniment to the "What Lies Beneath" DVD, Zemeckis concentrates on the technical issues, as do most of the other contributors for what was clearly a difficult film to shoot.
Just how tough the movie was to make is covered in detail on disc two. The 'HBO First Look' documentary offers a good overview of what the rest of the special features cover in greater depth. Of greatest interest is how screenwriter William Broyles spent a week living on a desolate beach and incorporated his experiences into the movie, including meeting and befriending 'Wilson' the volleyball.
Wilson even gets his own 12-minute featurette on the DVD, where we learn that there was in fact more than just one ball playing the part. Once you've got over that shock revelation, there's also an excellent 12-minute technical effects featurette that reveals some real surprises in terms of scenes that were in fact process shots.
As you'll see from the list below, there's plenty more extra features to indulge in including a 47-minute in-depth interview with Hanks on his career that fans will not want to miss. Only thing is, with all this material, you might just need a desert island of your own to find enough time to get through it all.
Region: 2 and 4
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Extra Features: Disc One:
- Scene selection
- Audio commentary with director Robert Zemeckis
- Multiple languages and subtitles, and English for the hearing impaired
- 'HBO First Look' making of documentary
- 'The Charlie Rose Show' Tom Hanks interview (47mins)
- 'Surviving as a Castaway' documentary
- 'Wilson: The Life and Death of a Hollywood Extra' featurette
- location featurette, technical effects featurette
- Video and stills galleries including storyboard-to-film comparisons and conceptual artwork, and two trailers.