Thursday, 14 July 2016

Cocoon (1985)

Ron Howard’s mid-1980s feel-good science fiction fantasy gets a 30th anniversary Blu-ray release courtesy of Eureka.
Friendly aliens are trying to retrieve members of their kind who came to earth “one hundred centuries ago”. To do this they employ down-on-his-luck Jack Bonner (Steve Guttenberg) to take them in his boat to the sea trench where the alien cocoons have been safely stored. Once removed, they store them in a local swimming pool, not knowing that the pool is used illegally by some naughty pensioners from the nearby retirement home.

The cocoons have the effect of revitalising the oldsters, providing them with a ‘fountain of youth’. Of course, the aliens plan to take the cocoons away with them, but will they offer the old people the chance to go with them?

COCOON could have been awful - sickly, sentimental and dull. The fact that it isn’t is down to Ron Howard’s careful direction of a group of seasoned actors, allowing them off the leash in the early stages of the film but ensuring their performances become more measured and considerate as the film goes on and the issues raised by the plot become more serious. 

There aren’t many horror or science fiction movies that are completely owned by the old people (I can think of COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES and that’s about it) but COCOON is one, and it’s actually a better treatment of its subject matter than Steven Speilberg’s similarly-themed ‘Kick the Can’ segment of TWILIGHT ZONE - THE MOVIE. There are some youngsters in it, but Steve Guttenberg and Tahnee Welch’s relationship is a bit boring and Howard quite rightly concentrates on all the fun his elderly cast is having. 

Extras on Eureka’s disc include a commentary track from Ron Howard, five featurettes including behind the scenes, a profile of the director, as well as pieces on the actors and on creating the aliens. You also get TV spots, trailers for the original, and a trailer for COCOON 2: THE RETURN, as well as a booklet with new writing on the film. 

Ron Howard's COCOON is coming out on Blu-ray from Eureka on Monday 18th July 2016

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