“We won’t get any older, and we won’t ever die.”
Ron Howard delivered this nice 80s sci-fi flick about extraterrestrials (from an outer space planet called Antarea) who visit Earth on a rescue mission to collect their friends, inadvertently left behind at the bottom of the ocean – encased in life-supporting rock-like cocoons – following the sinking of Atlantis.
After retrieving the cocoons, they’re placed in the swimming pool of a rented house in Florida to energise them for their trip home.
Some trespassing elderly folk from the Sunny Shores Retirement Community involuntarily absorb the pool’s life force and are revitalised, becoming youthfully stronger.
The rejuvenated oldsters look rather ridiculous break dancing and cavorting about, and the alien portrayals come off as gimmicky.
But Hume Cronyn, Don Ameche and Wilford Brimley are excellent as codgers who have found the fountain of youth. Tahnee Welch (daughter of Raquel) also shows her butt, and Mama’s got nothin’ on her daughter . . .
Unfortunately, word gets out about the healing potential of the pool and a mass of over-enthusiastic OAP’s take a dip and unintentionally drain the water of its therapeutic power, leading to one of the film’s most potent and emotional scenes involving a dying cocooned alien.
Toward the climax, as Walter (Brian Dennehy) and his fellow Antareans are ready to return to their home planet, the ageing humans are offered the opportunity of a lifetime with an invitation to leave their families and join the aliens to live a life eternal in Antarea.
Cocoon became a sizable hit for 20th Century Fox and its famed Jaws producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown. It also clinched two Academy Awards; one for Best Supporting Actor for Don Ameche and a second for Best Visual Effects.
Cocoon Returns reunited the entire cast three years later, including a brief appearance by Brian Dennehy during the climax. The sequel was not successful.
Rose ‘Rosie’ Lefkowitz
Tyrone Power Jr.