Cocoon (1985)

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Cocoon (1985)

Post  BoG on Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:39 pm

A story of alien visitation: this concerns a trio of retirees (Wilford Brimley, Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn) in a retirement home who make a habit of sneaking into a deserted estate to relax in the large swimming pool over there. The property is suddenly purchased by a group (Brian Dennehy, Tahnee Welch among others) who are aliens in disguise. These aliens used to live on  Earth 10,000 years ago in the fabled Atlantis. They're here to retrieve some of their brethren, who were left behind when Atlantis sank and are incubating in alien cocoons; these cocoons are deposited to the bottom of the swimming pool and, when the old guys take their usual swim, they feel highly rejuvenated, even recharged as far as their sex drive. Even more, one of them goes into remission from his cancer. Steve Guttenberg also stars as the local loser charter boat captain who is hired by the aliens to take them out to the spots on the ocean where the cocoons are waiting.
The film is pretty lightweight, directed by Ron Howard before he got enough experience to create complicated films. The cocoons, for example, look pretty creepy and alien, and might be toxic in that swimming pool for all that the old men know, but they don't really give it another thought when they first see these things, enjoying the pool without much delay - maybe they're too old to care?  The old wives are played by Jessica Tandy and Maureen Stapleton.  Both Guttenberg and the old men quickly find out that they're dealing with aliens, but their astonishment is very short-lived - Guttenberg especially overcomes his fear quickly because he just seems too dense to fully grasp the revelations. The aliens themselves are very benign, almost absent of much personality - which was unusual for Dennehy, who is known for fierce, bulldog characters.
Overall, the film doesn't ring true and is downright ludicrous - a 4th old guy played by Jack Gilford rejects the entire notion of the rejuvenating pool and is too cantankerous to appreciate such advantages, even for his ailing wife. He ruins things by opening his mouth at the wrong time and soon all the rest home occupants barge over to the pool, draining the life force so that things go badly for the cocoons. Yet, the aliens later invite the old people to accompany them even though they caused permanent damage to Dennehy's friends. The old guys want Gilford to come along - but why would they want this stupid troublemaker to go with them? Many things don't make sense by the end and  there's some bad acting by a daughter of one old couple, as well as a grandson who also almost ruins things. I think director Howard tried to copy some of the success of E.T. (82) and in a sense he did succeed because this was a modest box office success, spawning a sequel in 1988. BoG's Score: 5 out of 10
Cocooned Trivia: the daughter of Brimley's character is played by Linda Harrison, who will always be best known for her role as Nova in the first 2 Planet of the Apes films (1968 & 1970); her son is played by Barrett Oliver, from The Never-Ending Story (84) and D.A.R.Y.L. (85); both of them also returned in the Cocoon sequel. Tahnee Welch is the daughter of famed icon Raquel Welch (One Million Years BC/1966).
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