The Disney film "Tuck Everlasting" is adapted from the 1975 Natalie Babbitt novel of the same name, and is also a remake of a 1980 film derived from the same material. Had anyone bothered to look at that little-seen movie (helmed by noted television director
Fredrick King Keller), they might have conceived of the remake differently. The two movies are almost exactly the same in tone and style, both fairly faithful to the novel. Except for the bookends, both films are set around the turn of the century and tell the story of 15-year-old Winnie Foster and her encounter with the everlasting Tuck family and the Man with the Yellow Coat. The Tucks drank from a magic-imbued stream over a hundred years ago and they do not age or die. Winnie (here played by Alexis Bledel of TV's "Gilmore Girls") learns their secret--a secret that a mysterious and amoral Man in a Yellow Coat ("Sexy Beast's" Ben Kingsley) will do anything to have. As she falls in love with the forever 17-year-old Jesse Tuck ("Insomnia's" Jonathan Jackson), and the Man in the Yellow coat closes in, Winnie must make a decision that will affect the rest of what could be a very long life.
"Tuck Everlasting" is basically a love story and a parable about the circle of life and what perils exist when you try to take more than what's prescribed. It's wrong, which is especially obvious in a post-modern world that includes genetic manipulation and cloning. Though the film is well-intentioned, one could rent the original and get the same love story and parable.
Starring Alexis Bledel, William Hurt, Sissy Spacek, Jonathan Jackson, Scott Bairstow, Ben Kingsley, Amy Irving and Victory Garber. Directed by Jay Russell. Written by James V. Hart. Produced by Jane Startz and Marc Abraham. A Buena Vista release. Drama. Rated PG for some violence. Running time: 90 min