Monday, June 1, 2009

Cocoon (1985) & Cocoon: The Return (1988)

Cocoon
Though I usually wouldn't buy a double-movie set, I did with Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return. Released in 1985 and 1988, respectively, they tell the story of a group of aliens who have returned to earth to rescue their compatriots left behind on the sunken continent of Atlantis. The stories also follow a group of elderly folk who find new life with the immortal aliens and their life giving energies. And finally, because it was the 80s, Steve Guttenberg was there as fast talking, lovable, rapscallion. A real stretch for his career.

Cocoon
The first film reveals that in the ancient past, a group of aliens (Antereans) had set a base up on Earth on what we know as Atlantis, as the mythical continent/island sank into the ocean, only a few Antereans were able to escape, the rest were placed in stasis chambers (cocoons) to be retrieved at a later date. The aliens return many centuries later and start their rescue operation. Near where they've rented a house to stage their efforts is an elderly community (it is Florida, after all). The house they rent had been used by a trio of elderly men for its swimming pool. As the cocoons appear, the men realize that they're being rejuvenated, especially sexually. Eventually things go awry and the rescue operation goes awry. The aliens, more advanced, offer to take the elderly with them to their immortal planet.

In the second film, the aliens and the main elderly return to Earth to complete the mission they were forced to abort in the first film. This film also has a great deal of time spent on the elderly who have returned reconnecting with those they left behind. It relies on a lot of the same drama in the first, with more placed on what it means to go back home again. In the end the aliens manage to retrieve all their compatriots and head home ending the series.

Cocoon: The Return
I don't know that I would have purchased Cocoon: The Return if it didn't come with Cocoon and that together they weren't fairly cheap. The first film does enough that you don't really need the sequel, though as far as sequels go it's not a total loss. In many ways the movies still work for some 80s style sci-fi and our uncomfortableness with elderly sexuality that was further explored in the great "Golden Girls" TV series. Check them out for some 80s Spielbergian science fiction.

Cocoon: The Return

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