Studio: Walt Disney
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
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.
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).
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
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
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.
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
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!
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)
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
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