Top ten performances of Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks BigI’m somewhat regretting starting this – I mean, TOM HANKS! The consistently high standard of films in which he’s starred, where do I start?

In terms of cinematic living legends he has to be in the top ten right? It’s worth noting that – as of 2012 – his films have grossed over $4.2bn in the US and $8.5bn worldwide, making him the highest-grossing box office star of all time.

Furthermore, with 73 films on his CV to date, this list is going to be a challenge to whittle down. Let’s get started!

  • Big (1988)
    His whimsical dance up and down the piano left a lasting impression for many and represented Hanks at his frivolous and comedic best, during his rise to stardom in the 80s.
  • Forrest Gump (1994)
    hanks forrest gumpQuestion is, did he seek out Downey Jr for advice on not going full retard? If so, it paid off, resulting in an epic performance which won him a second Oscar.
  • Apollo 13 (1995)
    Hailed as both a critical and commercial success, this film was a high point for director Ron Howard. Hanks delivered a stand-out, yet understated performance as astronaut Commander Jim Lovell.
  • Toy Story (1995)
    As puppet cowboys go, Hanks convinces on every level, with an outstanding performance. Following a string of dramatic roles, this represented a triumphant return to comedy.
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998)
    hanks saving private ryanHaving successfully carved a career as the titular everyman, here he gives a masterclass in a subtle performance, as a normal guy dealing with the horrors of war as best he can.
  • The Green Mile (1999)
    Another film elevated by an unerringly good Hanks performance. Here he plays death row prison officer Paul Edgecomb. The dynamic between Edgecomb and the late Michael Clarke Duncan’s John Coffey was the heart-wrenching soul of the movie.
  • Castaway (2000)
    Can I just shout ‘Wiiillsonn!’? Does that mean enough? For those of us that have watched a blood-stained volleyball float agonisingly further away, it means a lot. Hanks deserves huge credit for building our sympathies with his fight for survival.
  • Road to Perdition (2002)
    hanks road to perditionPlaying a little against type as Irish mob enforcer, Michael Sullivanan anti-hero of sorts – Hanks teams up with director Sam Mendes and screen legend Paul Newman, to deliver a moody, sobering gangster flick.
  • Catch Me If You Can (2002)
    Hanks and Spielberg – has there been a more profitable partnership in modern cinema? Throw in DiCaprio and you get an enormously enjoyable cat-and-mouse tale of FBI man Hanratty chasing elusive fraudster Abagnale. 
  • The Terminal (2004)
    Aaah, fictitious Krakozhia. A bit of a leftfield offering with Hanks playing an Eastern European, trapped in the airport terminal. The touch of naivety and optimism in his portrayal of the character was masterful and surprised many.

So what’s next?
By his own standards he’s been fairly quiet in the last few years. However, he’s back soon with the forthcoming Cloud Atlas. A massively ambitious tale, taken from a complex yet popular book by David Mitchell. Featuring multiple plots across six different time periods, the theme being how actions of individuals have great impact across the world and throughout the past, present and future. Here’s the trailer:

Can Disney save Star Wars?

Upon hearing the news that Disney have recently acquired Lucasfilm I asked myself this question. Good old George, the 68-year-old filmmaker sold Lucasfilm for $4.05bn (£2.5bn), my initial reaction was not exactly excitement, more tentative hope.

Lucas is more or less a pensioner and his heart went out of making these films a long time ago. In some ways I’m amazed he managed to get the latest trilogy off the ground at all. Selling to Disney at this point was perfect timing and great business sense. How many other pensioners do you know that increase their fortunes by $4bn a couple of years before they turn 70? No wonder he looks smug.

He has said he wants to pass the franchise on to a new generation of filmmakers, with episode 7 being set for release in 2015. Episodes 8 and 9 will naturally follow, completing a 9-film trilogy spanning decades. Quite a legacy.

The force is strong in this one
Some die-hard fans have been moaning that Disney without Lucas means the corporation will be butchering the beloved world Lucas has created. I think that’s unfair.

Disney has moved on in the last 10 years. It’s worth pointing out they have a savvy – albeit slightly bullish – track record of acquisitions, with Pixar in 2006 ($7.4bn), Marvel in 2009 ($4.2bn) and now Lucasfilm in 2012 ($4bn).

With Marvel and Pixar, Disney have – to their credit – allowed these studios to approach their films, characters and stories in a way that stays true to their philosophy.

For Marvel, they’ve also chosen wisely in terms of Directors: Kenneth Branagh (Thor), Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Joss Whedon (Avengers). When Disney and Pixar merged in 2006, it was explicitly laid out that Pixar would maintain its identity and creative control, allowing this has meant their philosophy of filmmaking has continued and given us films such as: Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Brave (2012).

I see no reason why Disney won’t continue in a similar fashion with new Star Wars films. This cinematic franchise has been around a hell of a lot longer than Marvel or Pixar films, with an incredibly devoted fan base to match.

I don’t believe it. That is why you fail
Make no mistake episode 7 is going to be a massive challenge for whichever Director Disney put in charge. It will be a continuation of Luke, Leia and Han’s story, so it’s completely new territory. There has been brief – probably comical – mention of the original actors returning, but they’re all pensioners now and it’s not worth entertaining the thought.

I’m not going to start dictating the best way Disney should approach these films, I genuinely have faith they’ll treat the brand with respect – and hopefully take it back towards the look and feel of the original films.  Either way, Lucas remains a ‘consultant’ for the next trilogy, so his reign of terror is largely over. Onwards and upwards!