Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: David Saperstein, Tom Benedek
Starring: Brian Dennehy, Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton, Steve Guttenberg, Tahnee Welch, Wilford Brimley
Directed by Ron Howard
After repeatedly trespassing and sampling the delights of a privately owned but vacant mansion for its luxurious indoor swimming pool, a group of pensioners, living in a retirement village next door, are disappointed to find the property being rented out with the pool being used to store giant alien cocoons. Unperturbed by this, they decide to secretly use the pool when the occupants are away, discovering the vigour restoring properties the alien objects in offer.
Ron Howard’s 80’s sci-fi COCOON acts as a character comedy drama as we see the lives of the elderly spiced up with, what is essentially, the fountain of youth. Though they might still look like senior citizens, the energizing properties of the pool they so enjoy to bathe in gives the pensioners a new lease of life, making them feel young again. Initially, it’s three friends Art (Don Ameche), Ben (Wilford Brimley) and Joe (Hume Cronyn) who discover the properties of the pool but soon they’re roping their better halves in to reap the benefits of feeling young again. Re-energized, it’s not long before the spritely pensioners hit the local nightclubs, throwing shapes on the dancefloor, even breakdancing, whilst all the males rediscover their sexual mojo, something which they’d long lost and which the ladies in their lives are more than pleased they’ve regained. However, all good things come at a price and, whilst the properties of the pool restore their youthful vigour and even cure their life-threatening ailments, it begins to affect their relationships with others around them and also threaten the very lives of the aliens living next door.
The Oscar-winning and nominee experienced cast are the main draw of the heart-warming COCOON though the blossoming love story between struggling boat captain Mike (Steve Guttenberg) and Antarean alien Kitty (Tahnee Welch) draws the viewer in, especially with goofball Mike trying his darnest to woo the young lady. Hired to ferry Kitty and her alien associates to a particular spot in the ocean, Mike assumes they’re just scientists but is suspicious of the mysterious objects (cocoons) they’re retrieving from the sea bed. Kitty promises to reveal all to him in due course but her true identity is exposed sooner than she expects which leads to a fearful confrontation, something which is repeated with the pensioners at the pool house. Mike’s initial reaction to her natural form is over the top and exaggerated which plays well to the comedic side of the film whilst retaining an edge of realism because, let’s face facts here, we don’t expect people we’ve met that look like humans to be aliens from another planet. The almost-transparent beings from Antarea are striking with their bright blue light radiating from their spirit-like bodies. Without their human skin, they all look very much alike and seem to be asexual. The subject of how Antareans show affection opposed to the human method of sexual intercourse is explored as much of the film touches upon the importance of relationships between two people which is often the plot thread that pulls the viewer into the story.
Eureka Entertainment have released the special Cocoon Thirtieth Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray which features 5.1 and 2.0 audio along with a crisp HD transfer and a list of extras including audio commentary with Ron Howard, featurettes with the cast and on the making of the film as well as TV spots and trailers. The release also comes with a collector’s booklet featuring a new article on the film by James Oliver.
Lighthearted with a real lust for life, Cocoon offers laughs, love and the odd tear as human nature is explored in all its glory, proving that you should never give up on life even when you grow older.