Tuck Everlasting (2002)

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Released 29-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-Inspector Gadget 2; George Of The Jungle 2; The Rookie
Menu Animation & Audio
Seamless Branching-Lessons of Tuck
Audio Commentary-director and screenwriter
Audio Commentary-director and cast members
Featurette-A Visit With Natalie Babbitt
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 86:39
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jay Russell
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Alexis Bledel
Jonathan Jackson
Ben Kingsley
Sissy Spacek
William Hurt
Amy Irving
Victor Garber
Scott Bairstow
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music William Ross


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish
Turkish
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Icelandic
Arabic
Estonian
Spanish Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Spanish Titling
Turkish Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Tuck Everlasting was released as a children's book in 1975. That's a little after I stopped reading children's books. OK, it's a little after I mostly stopped reading children's books. And it's American, so I'm not surprised I haven't read it — my late wife read a lot of children's literature (she was an English teacher), but she specialised in Australian authors. Still, I don't feel bad, because none of the people associated with this film had read the book either (they admit as much in the extras). However, it has been in print continuously since release, so apparently it's rather popular, as well as winning awards. This movie is not a faithful rendition of the book, so don't come to it expecting that, if you've read it.

    All that said, this is an interesting and worthwhile film. It poses an interesting question, and provides plenty of context in which to consider it. The question is a simple one: (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) do you want to live forever? One of the best aspects is that this film gives a balanced argument, and gives you plenty to think about. If you are a parent, you might well want to watch this with your children. Older children, that is — there is a bit of violence that might be upsetting for children under, say, ten.

    The performances are impressive, as you might expect, with actors like Ben Kingsley, William Hurt, and Sissy Spacek. All of these are in supporting roles, though; the film is carried (superbly) by Alexis Bledel (best known from Gilmore Girls) and Jonathan Jackson. These two young actors help make this movie special.

    Although the film opens in the present day, it quickly drops back to the summer of 1914. Poor Winifred Foster (Alexis Bledel) feels stifled by her life, stuck behind an iron fence at her parents' home, and behind what is "proper" in her parents' minds. She rebels, and wanders into the woods adjoining their house. There she sees a youth, Jesse (Jonathan Jackson), refreshing himself from a small spring at the foot of a great oak tree. She confronts him, and is a little startled by his behaviour, especially his insistence that she not drink from the spring. She will learn more about that...

    Part of the joy of this film is approaching it without too much foreknowledge. Trust me that this is a sweet and interesting story, and not one you will forget quickly.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this film is close to perfect.

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which is the intended ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is sharp and clear, with excellent shadow detail, no film grain, and no low level noise.

    Colour is superbly rendered. Production design for a film set chiefly in 1914 means that there are some muted colours, but there are excellent greens in the woods, blues in the sky, and rich browns and yellow — there are no colour-related artefacts. There are no film artefacts. This film was only made last year, but this is pleasing nonetheless.

    There is no aliasing and no moiré. Depending on your equipment, you may get some shimmer every so often. It is the only flaw in this transfer, so it is a shame that it can be fairly obvious when it occurs. On my main system, there is no shimmer at all; it only appeared on a television with a fairly basic DVD player.

    There are subtitles in ten languages, including English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched these last — they are clear, easily read, well-timed to the dialogue, and more than usually accurate. There are subtitles in five languages for both the audio commentaries, but unfortunately English is not among the five.

    The disc is single-sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 53:43, in the middle of a scene change. On the players I tried this disc on it is invisible when watching the movie, and only noticeable during the commentaries because it introduces a pause in the audio.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This disc has five audio tracks, of which the first three are the film's soundtrack in English, Spanish, and Turkish (an interesting choice of languages), all Dolby Digital 5.1. The last two are English audio commentaries (more on those later). I listened to all three English audio tracks.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible, even with the slightly affected accents of the 1914 setting. There are no audio sync problems. Oh, if you think the narrator's voice sounds familiar, that's because it's Elisabeth Shue.

    The score, from William Ross, is pleasant stuff, doing a good job of supporting the on-screen action.

    The surrounds get little in the way of directional effects, but they do an excellent job of deepening the soundstage, and making the sound immersive. The sub comes into play a little more than you might expect in a dialogue-driven movie, but you won't notice it because it's well-integrated into the sound.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are only four extras, but they are all worthwhile.

Menu

    The menu is animated, with music. It's easy to navigate.

Audio Commentary — director and screen-writer

    This is a decent commentary, although not screen-specific — these two have a lot to say, and they hardly repeat themselves at all. There is plenty of discussion of how this film differs from the book, and why — their reasons sound convincing. The biggest difference is that Winnie Foster in the book is ten years old, but in the film she is fifteen / sixteen.

Audio Commentary — director and cast members

    This commentary is led by the director, who is a bit annoying. This is compensated for by the interesting comments from Alexis Bledel, Jonathan Jackson, and Scott Bairstow. There is some, limited, overlap of content with the first commentary, but it isn't enough to become annoying.

Interleaved Discussion — Lessons of Tuck

    This is an unusual concept, and one which is fairly well realised. When you enable this feature, the movie stops at ten points during the film, and Jonathan Jackson poses a question related to the events on-screen — the first question, for example, concerns whether one should choose adventure or conformance, while the second asks what it means to "grow up". He doesn't provide an answer, but we hear from six to eight other people on the subject. Half these other people are associated with the film (the director, screen-writer, author, some of the actors), while the others are young people (16 to 18 years old). The answers they give aren't profound — sometimes they are even facile — but they sound like fairly honest answers, and leave scope for you to agree or disagree. These segments are each only a couple of minutes long, so they aren't hugely disruptive to the flow of the film.

    A teacher might use this as a starting point for discussions when watching this film with a class. That may well be an intended use for the feature.

Featurette — A Visit with Natalie Babbitt (9:27)

    This is the most conventional of the extras. It is an introduction to the author of the book, and the story of how she came to write this book, and many others. Well worth watching.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of this DVD was released earlier this year. As far as I can tell, the two are close to identical — same contents, same cover — but we get more languages in both audio and subtitles. The R1 is reportedly a single layered disc, which might mean that it's a little more compressed than would be ideal, but I don't see any reports of that. I know the quality of the R4 disc, and I can see no way that the R1 might surpass it (unless the R1 doesn't shimmer on basic DVD players). If you can play PAL DVDs, I suggest you get the R4.

Summary

    Tuck Everlasting is a sweet story in the form of a brilliantly acted film presented really well on DVD.

    The video quality is excellent if your system doesn't shimmer, but only rather good if it does.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are high in quality rather than in quantity.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, August 02, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
fine little film - wolfgirv