Saturday, May 26, 2018

Movie Review: "Cocoon" (1985)

Director: Ron Howard
Year: 1985
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes

A group of senior citizens finds themselves revitalized after sneaking onto private property and swimming in a pool where visiting aliens have stored mysterious cocoons that they retrieved from the bottom of the ocean.
"The way nature's cheating us, I don't mind cheating her a little." (Image Source)
Hollywood has a penchant for making movies featuring older people acting young. They seem to be good for a giggle. "Cocoon" is directed by Ron Howard. He had directed movies like "Splash," "Gung Ho," and "Grand Theft Auto" previous to this sci-fi drama. It is written by Tom Benedek and David Saperstein. This film was their first time writing credit, and neither would go on to do much else. The story here revolves around a group of aliens disguised as humans who commission a boat captained by a man named Jack Bonner (Steve Guttenberg, because it was a legal requirement for him to be in all 80's comedies). Jack takes them to a remote part of the ocean where they retrieve several objects that looks like giant rocks. These aliens store these rock looking objects in a swimming pool at an estate they have recently leased. What they don't know is that a group of senior citizens from the neighboring retirement home have been sneaking onto the estate to swim in the pool. Once the cocoon-like objects are added to the water, the elderly folks start to feel the vim and vigor of their youth as their bodies magically heal and all of their health ailments begin to fade away. They strike a deal with the aliens to use the pool, but when other members of their community start to see their improvement, they want the same magic-cocoon-cure-all and threaten to ruin it for everyone.
"Age isn't everything." (Image Source)
This film starred quite the ensemble cast of veteran actors including Wilford Brimley, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Maureen Stapleton, Jack Gilford, Gwen Verdon, and Don Ameche. Shockingly, Ameche took home a best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in this film back during when lighthearted family films could still gain consideration from Oscars voters.

Very early on in his career and before becoming an Oscar-winning director, many of Ron Howard's films were simple comedies. Such is the case with "Cocoon." It is a dramedy with a sci-fi fantasy twist that revolves around a group of senior citizens as its protagonists. You might compare this to how "Splash" was a simple rom-com, but with a fantasy twist. Most of this movie is about older people discovering a real-life fountain of youth, not one that makes them look younger on the outside, but one that makes them healthy and disease-free on the inside. With lots of newfound energy, these old folks hit the town and have fun in a lot of different ways. Don Ameche, or should we say his stunt double, even gets to have a break-dancing scene because, you know, the 80's. Suddenly, all of these old men feel more virile and want to have sex again. Stuff like that. As with most movies about mature adults acting youthful, "Cocoon" is very charming and fun, but has a hefty dose of 80's cheese as well. It also has some heart, though the narrative is as simple as it comes. This film also has Academy Award-winning visual effects that may be dated a little but still get the job done.
"I can't really remember the last time I took a risk." (Image Source)
Though "Cocoon" is not Ron Howard's best film, we still appreciate this simple, sweet tale and think it mostly holds up well over time.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
RT Rating: 77%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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