Big 25th Anniversary review (Blu-ray)

After all this time, it's still Big and it's still clever. Many people claim that Splash was the film that made Hanks a big star, but nah, it was Big, for sure.

After all this time, it's still Big and it's still clever. Many people claim that Splash was the film that made Hanks a big star, but nah, it was Big, for sure.

It's the story of 12-year-old Josh Baskin who is sick of being short and so one night wishes to be bigger and when he wakes the next day, he's not only taller, but a lot older – and in the body of a 30-year-old Hanks.

Amid a glut of 1980s body-swap movies, Big stodd head and shoulders abover the crowd primarily due to a career-making performance from Hanks and simply wonderful direction from Marshall. Tom Hanks doesn't just simply act like a 12-year-old boy, he becomes a 12-year-old boy. His performance is child-like without being childish, imbuing Josh with a reality that you cannot help but believe.

It helps that he's working from a wonderful script, and is surrounded by a crack cast. And it also helps that director Marshall pulls off what is probably her most nuanced work. Big was popular with critics, huge at the box office, and Hanks rightly scored a Best Actor Oscar nomination – and, as we all know, went on to become one of the biggest stars in the world today. But what happened to Marshall? She's a great director, yet she has not helmed a film since 2001's Riding in Cars with Boys. Why is that?

Big is just wonderful – deservedly famous for that FAO Schwartz "foot piano" scene, yes, but mostly beloved for its nostalgic view of childhood and its simple sweetness.

EXTRAS ★★★★ You get two cuts off the film here - the original Theatrical Version (1:44:12) and the Extended Version (2:10:25), which adds quite a bit of character development; rather than an audio commentary, there is Big Brainstorming - An Audio Documentary by Gary Ross and Annie Spielberg (only accessible on the Theatrical Version) which features archival recordings of the writers batting around ideas as they shape the screenplay; eight deleted scenes (13:30), with optional intros from director Marshall; the featurette Big Beginnings (16:29), which talks to the writers about how they came up with the ideas for the film; Chemistry of a Classic (23:47), wich looks at the film's casting; the featurette The Work of Play (9:54), which looks at the toys that are featured in the film; the featurette Hollywood Backstory: Big (21:16), which looks at the film's genesis and shoot; the featurette Carnival Party Newswrap (1:33); and Trailers and TV Spots.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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