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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "Tuck Everlasting" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 16, 2003.

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Tuck Everlasting





    Studio: Walt Disney
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 90 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English, French and Spanish




    A secret is about to be discovered.
    An adventure is about to begin


    [​IMG]

    If you could choose to live forever, would you?
    Most people would answer that question with a
    resounding "yes" -- after all, no-one wants
    to die. But think about this question a little
    longer...is it truly a blessing have immortality
    or is it a curse? Imagine staying the age you are
    right now -- never having the ability to grow old
    with your loved one. In essence, The peace
    associated with death will forever be forbidden.

    These are the issues explored in Disney's Tuck
    Everlasting
    , a story about a family of immortals
    and a girl who discovers their secret. The film is
    based on the award-winning novel by Natalie Babbitt.

    [​IMG]

    It's the Summer of 1914 in a rural little American
    village called Treegap. A young girl named Winnie
    Foster (Alexis Bledel) lives in a huge house that
    borders the majestic woods. Winnie is an unhappy
    girl, living a sheltered life thanks to her rich
    but isolated parents who are threatening to send
    her away to a private school. One day, in a fit of
    minor rebellion, she ventures into the woods outside
    her home and happens upon Jesse Tuck (Jonathan
    Jackson), who she sees drinking from a local stream.
    Winnie tries to get a drink of water from the stream,
    but the stream turns out to be the Tucks' family
    secret, and since Winnie is now in on it, she is
    quietly kidnapped by Jesse's older and stern brother,
    Miles (Scott Bairstow).

    [​IMG]

    She is taken back to the Tucker cabin nested deep
    within the woods where she meets the boys' parents,
    Angus (Willaim Hurt) and Mae (Sissy Spacek). She
    eventually learns that the spring from which Jesse
    was drinking has caused the entire family to be
    immortal and permanently stuck at the age from their
    first drink.

    [​IMG]

    This brings us to the mysterious Man in the yellow
    suit (Ben Kingsley) who's trailed the brothers back
    to their beloved woods. As he attempts to find them
    and their source of immortality, and Winnie's parents
    call out the forces to find her, the teen must decide
    whether to join the Tucks as they try to maintain
    their secrecy and unique lifestyle.

    On the surface, Disney has a real gem of a film here
    with well-drawn characters, a solid story and some
    absolutely gorgeous cinematography. I also really
    appreciated the fact that the film explored some
    real philosophical issues without using any gimmicks
    to examine them. You also can't help but to be drawn
    to this first-rate cast that includes veterans
    William Hurt and Sissy Spacek. The only slight
    problems I found with the film was that it becomes
    a little long-winded at times, and I felt so much
    more could have been done with Ben Kingsley's "man
    in the yellow-suit," a character that comes off as
    being poorly written here.

    As fine a film I thought Tuck Everlasting was,
    I was concerned about who would enjoy this type of
    film the most. The movie is mostly geared towards
    female teens and young teens. Children will no doubt
    turn their noses up at the film's theme since they
    won't understand the issue at hand. Adults may find
    the film a little on the sappy side, but overall,
    I think most will find this a very pleasing viewing
    experience.


    How is the transfer?


    It's very difficult to say anything about a
    nearly-perfect transfer, and that is exactly what
    we have here. Tuck Everlasting is an overly
    pleasing visual experience thanks to its striking
    color palette that is well represented here. This
    is a very warm looking film with its beautiful
    green grass and forests as well as breathtaking
    red sunsets that are all wonderfully rendered.
    Images are just a tad soft, but very well detailed
    and there is not a spec of background film noise
    or grain to be seen anywhere.

    [​IMG]

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is nothing to
    be excited about -- but the music itself is! Most
    of the sound is entirely front-heavy, boldly
    bringing out Composer William Ross's enchanting
    score with its light charming touches and solo
    whistling. The score is often sweet, invoking so
    many emotions along the way. Audio is always
    well detailed and pleasing to the ears with just
    enough LFE support to give it some added punch.
    Unfortunately, the rears never seem to rise above
    the front channels, only providing the sounds of
    crickets and croaking frogs that dwell in the
    majestic forest.


    Special Features

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    There are two separate audio commentaries on
    this DVD. The first is with Director Jay Russell
    and cast members Jonathan Jackson, Alexis Bledel
    and Scott Bairstow. The second is with Jay
    Russell and screenwriter James Hart.

    I decided to listen to a bit of the Russell/Hart
    commentary, as I thought it would prove to be more
    serious fare. What I really liked here was the fact
    that this commentary is geared towards its audience.
    In other words, Russell and Hart talk on a level
    that teen audiences will find easy to digest.
    Screenwriter Hart talks about the idea of this film
    coming from his 9 year-old son who brought the book
    home one day. Hart was so impressed not only by the
    book, but the fact that his son was readily grasping
    its themes and ideas that it made sense to make it
    into a film. Russell and Hart talk about the
    difficulties of adapting a book to screen and the
    reasons why many changes have to be made in the
    process. What the two set out to do was capture
    the "spirit" of the book rather than copy it word
    for word. Hart has adapted many films to the
    screen (Contact, Hook & Bram Stoker's Dracula),
    but this proved to be the most difficult for him,
    and you'll find out why. Russell talks about
    his casting choices and being most surprised by
    actress Alexis Bledel, who he immediately placed
    in the role that he thought would take forever to
    cast. This is a very lively and entertaining
    commentary that focuses more on the themes of the
    film rather than taking us by the hand and telling
    us what goes on in scene after scene -- and you know
    what? -- that's a good thing!

    [​IMG]

    I think that this will make for a very interesting
    family viewing experience....Lessons of Tuck
    is a viewing mode that lets you watch the film with
    moments of brief interruptions from actor Jonathan
    Jackson who explores some of the themes being
    discussed in the film at that very moment. For
    example, at the end of a scene where Winnie Foster
    has a heavy decision on her mind, the film is
    interrupted with some advice by author Natalie
    Babbitt as well as other cast members and regular
    kids who share their own life experiences. I think
    this feature works very well in a family-orientated
    film like this as it helps teens connect with some
    of the very issues they may be facing in their life.

    A visit with Natalie Babbitt brings us
    up close to the author of Tuck Everlasting,
    who says she writes books about "ideas" rather
    than about the characters themselves. Born in
    Ohio in the 1930s, Natalie was addicted to books
    at an early age. It was the book Alice in
    Wonderland
    that made her realize that she
    wanted to become an author one day. This is the
    story of her life and her writings, presented in
    a manner that should inspire the young audiences
    who watch it.
    (length: approx. 9 minutes)


    Final Thoughts

    [​IMG]

    Everlasting Tuck is perhaps the finest
    live-action film to come out of the Disney camp
    to date. It's almost a piece of art, full of
    mystical pleasures that are often rewarding. It's
    the kind of film that begs to be enjoyed by the
    entire family, and this DVD certainly promotes
    that sort of viewing experience thanks to its
    thought-provoking supplements.

    I am placing this on my HIGHLY RECOMMENDED list
    because of its family value!


    Release Date: February 25, 2003


    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
     
  2. Gary_O

    Gary_O Well-Known Member

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    Nice Review Ron.

    I'm pleasantly surprised that this wasn't given a full-frame only release as Disney as been know to do this in the past to their family geared films.

    I may use the $2 off coupon inside "Sweet Home Alabama" and pick this one up.
     
  3. Rain

    Rain Well-Known Member

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    I was planning on giving this one a rental. Nice to know it's a nice transfer. [​IMG]

    On a related note, does anyone know who owns the rights to the 1981 independent film of Tuck Everlasting?
     
  4. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Well-Known Member

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    I love the book and the film, and regard it as one of the best films to come from Disney's live-action department in quite a while. While there are a few differences with the book, the movie is on the whole very faithful to the original novel version and delivers a very enjoyable moviewatching experience. Some of the finest acting seen on the silver screen in 2002, a truly beautiful and haunting score, an intelligent script, and very beautiful shots of the locations. This one is a really great picture, and I cannot wait to finally own it come 2/25.
     
  5. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Well-Known Member

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  6. Jeffrey Bane

    Jeffrey Bane Active Member

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    It seems to me that the studios would be well-served if they took advantage of some of your reviews when promoting their DVD's on television. I'm sure someone has suggested it before, but with the growing popularity of the format, it seems more people would benefit from knowing the quality of the disc's presentation.
     
  7. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Well-Known Member

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    Nice review Ron. I took my 10 & 8 year old daughters and we all really liked it. I left wanting a little more...which is sometimes a good thing. Looking forward to the dvd.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Is this one of fastest releases (from theatrical release to DVD release)? It doesn't seem like more than 3 months have passed since it was in the theaters.
     
  9. Mark Rapp

    Mark Rapp Active Member

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    Rain said:
    > On a related note, does anyone know who owns the rights to the 1981 independent film of Tuck Everlasting?

    I, too, was thinking about this release. Anyone know if it's available anywhere (any region)?
     
  10. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Well-Known Member

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  11. Ron-P

    Ron-P Well-Known Member

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    I had no intention of even renting this, but thank's to your review Ron I've added it to my purchase list. Thanks!


    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     
  12. JosephMoore

    JosephMoore Well-Known Member

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  13. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Ah...I think this film opened in December in Atlanta, so I wasn't even aware it was out way back in October.
     
  14. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Well-Known Member

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    JosephMoore
     
  15. JosephMoore

    JosephMoore Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen the Disney version yet, but I really liked the 1981 version. The soundtrack is quite unique, and I always prefer good "unknown" actors versus big name stars (it's easier to suspend disbelief.) I couldn't hazzard a guess as to which one you'd prefer ... my guess is it depends on whether your tastes run more indie or more mainstream. The trailer for the Disney version always looked a little too "Dawson's Creek" meets "The Swiss Family Robinson" for my taste.
     
  16. ace peterson

    ace peterson Well-Known Member

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    Nice review. I think a trip to Blockbuster is in order on this one. The wife wants to see it, too, which is a bonus.

    Ace
     
  17. Rain

    Rain Well-Known Member

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  18. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like another "sight unseen" purchase based Ron not only providing an excellent review...but also introducing me to a film that would have passed me by.

    dave [​IMG]
     
  19. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Thanks for the review. I always loved the old Disney live action periode films, and this seems to harken back to those days. Ron pretty much verified my suspicion, so I can't wait to pick it up!

    Hopefully Disney well continue in this vein!
     
  20. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    After reading Ron's review, I rented this DVD last night and we LOVED it! Terrific movie, wonderful transfer, stunning cinematography!

    Nice to see that Disney didn't hack half of it off and release it as a Full/Pan&Scan either!
     

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