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Cocoon (1985) - Blu-ray Review [U.K. Steelbook]

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Cocoon - Blu-ray Review

4 stars

The 80s just pumped out classic after classic. They took risks back then. They gave us some of the most memorable genre pictures in cinematic history. This was the decade of new horror icons galore, of Indiana Jones, and E.T. This was also the decade where Richie Cunningham from Happy Days proved himself a formidable A-List director.

Based very loosely on the novel by David Saperstein, Cocoon tells the story of a group of senior citizens in Florida, facing the tail end of their lives and battling the ravages of father time. When three of them stumble upon a pool filled with mysterious giant cocoons, their health begins to improve dramatically. They meet the owners of those cocoons, aliens visiting to retrieve some long lost friends, and decide to help them. What they receive in return is the chance to see life in a completely different way.

This is a giant ensemble cast, including Steve Guttenberg in his 2nd of 3 successful franchises, Brian Dennehy and a slew of stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, including Don Ameche, Jessica Tandy, and Hume Cronyn.

The challenges of a script like this are to introduce a dozen characters, make them all connect with you emotionally, and tell a coherent story that satisfies. If you’ve ever attempted to write a screenplay, that is no small task. How many films fall flat from over-choking their narratives with so many people you never get enough time with them to connect? Cocoon’s screenwriter, Tom Benedek, deserves major recognition for pulling it off. Not only do we quickly and effortlessly get to know all the people/aliens in natural, easy to understand ways, but they’re instantly likable. The brevity in making you care for these people is top shelf work and very hard to replicate.

The performances by the cast are also of the highest calibre, with Don Ameche taking home an Oscar for his portrayal (although I personally prefer Wilford Brimley’s Ben more). If there is a weak link it is Tahnee Welch, but her odd disjointed delivery somehow aids her portrayal of an alien. These performers adeptly play with your heartstrings throughout the entire adventure.

Another revered element of this movie is the score by James Horner. The main theme is a beautiful mix of melancholy and hope, used to great effect at different tempos throughout the film. The CD of the score was so popular it sold out back in the day and became a much sought after collectable.

Howard had the likes of Nightshift and Splash under his belt already, but showed a gentler sentimental side to his work reminiscent of Spielberg here to great effect. He proved here, as he has countless times since, that no matter the tone of the material he can adjust himself according and present a layered relatable story, no matter what genre it belongs to.

This is simply a beautiful story, with beautiful flawed people and struggles we can all relate to, no matter our age. It is a simple story, bolstered by the intricacies of a group of characters crossing each other’s paths for the betterment of all. It’s impossible not to fall for its sweetness, its humour, its tragedy, and not be moved by it. This is an unmissable picture in Ron Howard’s filmography.

Cocoon (1985) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
117 mins
Director
: Ron Howard
Writer:
Tom Benedek
Cast:
Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn
Genre
: Sci-fi | fantasy
Tagline:
It is everything you've dreamed of. It is nothing you expect.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Face-eating, Jack? Is that some kind of a delicacy?"
Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 21, 1985
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 03, 2014
Synopsis: When a group of trespassing seniors swim in a pool containing alien cocoons, they find themselves energized with youthful vigour.

 

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