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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Fantasy > Elderly > Aliens > Science Fiction > Cocoon (1985/20th Century Fox Blu-ray)

Cocoon (1985/20th Century Fox Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: C     Film: C+



On the success of Night Shift and comedy hit Splash, Ron Howard continued his fight to transform himself from actor to director by taking on the “feel good” cycle of films launched by Stephen Spielberg’s success with Cocoon, a 1985 Science Fiction Comedy with some Drama and nuance about a group of elderly people in a shared living facility who one day get the chance to be young and live longer again when an alien force lands and this includes mysterious rocks in their swimming pool.  The film was a hit, thanks in part to its cast.


Though a variant of the classic Twilight Zone episode Kick The Can (remade at that time by Spielberg in the awkward feature film that did not lead to a revival series), the film is also an implied tribute to great Hollywood actors of the past who appear and some who don’t.  Don Ameche, Jessica Tandy, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronin, Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Verdon and Jack Gilford are among the residents who have a close encounter, while Brain Dennehy, Linda Harrison, Tahnee Welch and Steve Guttenberg round out the interesting cast in a film that holds up in mixed ways.  Not a big fan to begin with, I thought it took its ideas and stretched them too thin, but it is still a smoother film than many such feel-good films made later and certainly more sincere in intent.  It is worth revisiting for fans and worth a look for those interested.  Otherwise, try one of Howard’s newer films.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 19 MBPS digital High Definition image was shot on 35mm film by Director of Photography Donald Peterman, A.S.C., who has an interesting history for creating memorable-looking work in Horror (the original When A Stranger Calls, The Ripper pilot episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker) and lensed one of the first Music Video Movies in Flashdance, so he gives this film a first-rate look.  Too bad this transfer is softer than it should be, undermining his fine work throughout.  Likely, this is an older HD master.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix upgrades the Dolby magnetic 70mm blow-up 4.1 sound, but shows it to be compressed and aged somewhat, though James Horner’s score is not bad.


Extras include three TV spots, theatrical teaser, theatrical trailer, Ron Howard Profile, Howard’s feature-length audio commentary track, piece on the actors, Underwater Training featurette, Creating Antareans featurette and trailer for the ill-fated, unnecessary sequel.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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