Cocoon on Blu-ray

Sunday, 17 July 2016 23:00 Written by 

Cocoon - out now on Blu-rayDirector Ron Howard (“The Da Vinci Code”) enjoyed further success after “Splash” with this gentle sci-fi tale about the peculiar side effects of some old folks’ encounter with aliens. Most of the occupants of the Sunny Shores Villas retirement home seem resigned to their sedentary existence and declining health, but not all. Several gentlemen defiantly try to see off the Reaper by breaking into a neighbouring property’s magnificent swimming pool.

One day the OAPs discover a number of large, pod-like objects in the pool, and post-swim the men feel unusually alive and bursting with vigour. The cocoons have been placed there by a group doing some marine archaeology, but who are they and what is their intention? Regardless of the answers, the men have some hard decisions to make regarding their new-found lust for life and their futures.

“Cocoon” features a great cast of industry veterans including Don Ameche (“Trading Places”), Wilford Brimley (“The Thing”) and Hume Cronyn (“*batteries not included”) as the mature Speedo gang, Brian Dennehy (“First Blood”) as the alien leader, and Steve Guttenberg (“Short Circuit”) as captain of the boat that the explorers rent. Other quality names include Jessica Tandy (“Driving Miss Daisy”), Maureen Stapleton (“Reds”) and a young Barret Oliver (“The NeverEnding Story”).

The slightly risqué dialogue gives a slight edge to what is otherwise a sweet, family-friendly story about aging gracefully and maintaining long-running relationships. The running time is a little over-long in my view, though the generally sedate pace of the film does help to emphasise the slower pace of life lived by the retirees.

Despite its age (!), the film’s special effects still hold up remarkably well, with just the odd compositing exception. The aliens themselves are especially effective, and may cause some Doctor Who fans in the audience to question the influence of this film on the inception of certain monster race from the new era of the show!

Above all it is the strong, likeable characters that make this movie such a success and ensure it is still eminently watchable today – by young and old.

Special features on the disc include:

  • New high definition transfer of the film
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Feature-length audio commentary with Director Ron Howard
  • Five featurettes: “Behind the scenes”, “Ron Howard profile”, “Underwater training”, “Actors” and “Creating Antareans”
  • Three TV spots
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Teaser trailer
  • “Cocoon: The Return” theatrical trailer
  • Collectors' booklet featuring a new article on the film by critic James Oliver, and archival imagery

Aside from the director’s commentary track there’s not much substance to the other bonus content, but it is welcome none-the-less. The new high-def transfer is pretty good, especially in the darker underwater scenes. The swimming pool looks very inviting!

“Cocoon” (1985) is out now, courtesy of Eureka Entertainment Ltd. The main feature has a running time of 117 minutes approx, carries a ‘12’ certificate and retails for £17.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

 

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