In the early years of the 20th Century, Winnie Foster (Alexis Bledel) is in the full throes ofadolescence and feeling extremely repressed by her domineering mother. Wandering off into thewoods next to her home, she stumbles upon the Tucks, a family of immortals. She falls in lovewith Jesse (Jonathan Jackson), who is 17, going on 104. Meanwhile, a supremely sinister BenKingsley is tracking the Tucks, hoping to make a mint with their fountain of youth. Kingsley isso dark, his…dialogue so choice, that he almost single-handedly saves the film from the treaclethat afflicts so many family films. Highly enjoyable.
Pretty damn close to a completely immersive experience. The music and sound effects bothhave terrific surround presence, and the left-right separation is equally impressive. The dialoguenever gets drowned out, however, and is free of distortion.
An excellent match to the soundtrack. The colours are brilliant, with all the variants of greenbeautifully coming through in the forest. This film pretty much defines the word “lush,” and thetransfer does the picture full justice. There are no edge halos, the blacks are deep, and even thelayer transition is carefully placed within a blackout.
There are two commentaries, both featuring director Jay Russell. On one he is accompaniedby cast members Jackson, Bledel and Scott Bairstow, and they discuss the experience of makingthe film. On the other track, Russell is joined by co-writer James V. Hart, and here the focus isthe process of adapting a novel into film. Neither track is really scene specific, which, as onecomment by Russell makes clear, is a deliberate choice. “Lessons of Tuck” is aimed at youngerviewers, and is an option that interrupts the film at select moments to allow various people(author, cast and so on) to discuss the issues raised by the story. Finally, there is a brief featuretteon Natalie Babbitt, author of the novel. The menu’s main page and intro are scored and animated,while the other pages are scored.
If you’re into lavish musicals, here’s a good example of that ilk, and this is also as it wasoriginally meant to be seen.
Special Features List
- 2 Audio Commentaries
- “Lessons of Tuck” Viewing Option
- “A Visit with Natalie Babbitt” Featurette