DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Tom Hanks as JOSH
    Elizabeth Perkins as SUSAN
    Robert Loggia as MACMILLAN
    John Heard as PAUL
    Jared Rushton as BILLY

    Rated PG
    Studio: 20th Century Fox

    Directed by: Penny Marshall
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As movies are coming faster and faster to the DVD market, and as retail prices of classic DVDs are dropping to record levels (I just saw a brand-new copy of “Jumanji” at WalMart for only $5.50), the studios are dumping more and more into consumers’ laps.

A similar thing happened when retail VHS tapes went from $90 to $10 apiece. However, with this happening on DVD now, the extra bonus is that the DVDs contain assorted special features. The latest of these is the classic fish-out-of-water comedy “Big.”

Fox has released an extended edition of the film, which contains 25 minutes of edited footage re-inserted into the film. Of course, if you prefer the original theatrical cut, you can choose to watch the film without the new footage.

“Big” tells the story of a 13-year-old kid named Josh Baskin who uses an arcade game to wish he were big. When he wakes up the next morning, he realizes his wish has come true, and he is now a 30-year-old man, played by Tom Hanks.

Josh tries to talk to his mother, but she freaks out, thinking this strange man kidnapped him. The only person he can confide in is his best friend, who helps him get an apartment and a job at a toy company in New York City. Josh soon impresses the president of the company (played by Robert Loggia) with his intimate knowledge of toys.

As Josh waits to find the Zoltar arcade game that originally granted his wish, he learns to live as an adult. He starts a relationship with a woman in the company and is also quickly promoted to a vice president position. Soon, though, his lost childhood comes to haunt him, and Josh realizes that he just wants to go home.

I was just becoming an adult myself when I first saw this film in 1988. It touched me because I was the right age. I was facing my life ahead, ready to become a grown up in a couple years. I no longer played with toys, but I remembered that well.

Now, watching the film again, I felt the longing to be a child. After watching it, I saw my sons playing with their toys, and it took me back to my childhood. I’m usually one of the first people to play with my kids’ Christmas and birthday gifts, and my wife constantly accuses me of being a child, so it’s no wonder why this story touches me even today.

“Big” was released in the wake of two other films with similar themes. However, the star power and acting prowess of Tom Hanks buried Kirk Cameron and Fred Savage’s films at the box office. Penny Marshall, who was in her sophomore directing effort, put together a masterful film. It’s too bad she either lost her touch or just gave up on directing. She could have been one of the greats.

The two-disc DVD set includes both the theatrical cut of the film and the extended version with 25 minutes of new footage. There’s also an “audio documentary” which includes archive recording of writers Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg while they were brainstorming the story.

Additional features include broken-out deleted scenes with introductions by Penny Marshall, several retrospective featurettes, trailers and TV spots.

Specifications: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1) – enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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