Before J.J. Abrams was making a name for himself with Alias, LOST, Fringe, Super 8, and Star Trek/Wars, he was young screenwriter "Jeffrey Abrams" writing the screenplay for this Mel Gibson vehicle. While the film as a whole is only decent, it is fascinating to get a glimpse into the early film musings of Abrams.
For a basic plot summary, "Forever Young" tells the story of Captain Daniel McCormick (Gibson), a military test pilot in 1939 who sees his fiancée Helen (Isabel Glasser) involved in an accident and rendered comatose. Overcome with grief, Daniel persuades inventor friend Harry Finley (George Wendt) to enroll him in an experimental freezing process (to last a year) so he doesn't have to watch the love of his life slowly die. Daniel is indeed frozen...but wakes up in 1992 instead of 1940. Taken in by single mother Claire (Jamie Lee Curtis) and son Nat (Elijah Wood), Daniel must assimilate back into culture while at the same time untangle those missing years.
There are unique elements to this script that I see Abrams' handprints all over. It's a mix of science fiction, romance, drama, and adventure, and all those elements work well together. The premise is interesting, the acting is quite good, and there really are some great scenes featuring Gibson and Wood (their chemistry almost steals the show at times). The film doesn't really do anything flashy or have any special effects at all, but it is able to create some great character moments and tug at the emotions.
The problem with "Forever Young", however, is that the climax isn't nearly as interesting or well- executed as the setup. In the final third of the movie, I kept waiting for a big, emotional character moment, or some kind of interesting plot twist, but neither were in the offing. Instead, it unfortunately just kind of plays out rather predictably and loses much of its steam.
Overall, I consider "Forever Young" to be a rather average film, but potentially more interesting when considering the legacy that J.J. Abrams might leave on the film industry when all is said and done. I can easily see the Abrams-ness of the movie, but it just isn't as polished or interesting as his subsequent works. This is a flick that can be enjoyed by the entire family (really no questionable material besides a few curse words), however, so it still retains a decent amount of value.