DVD
Cocoon

Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn and Brian Dennehy
Twentieth Century Fox
RRP 15.99
01476DVD
Certificate: PG
Available now

 


Members of a retirement community realise that their health is being restored by their regular visits to a nearby - and privately owned - swimming pool. Little do they realise that the healing powers are being bestowed by alien cocoons resting at the bottom of the pool...

The sci-fi aspects of Cocoon amount to little that hasn't been seen before, even back in the 1980s. Aliens in skin suits, albeit less friendly ones than we have here, had at the time been seen recently in the TV series V, while the spaceship seen at the end of the movie is a less elaborate version of the one that appeared in Close Encounters.

However, the success of this picture lies with the exquisite performances of the elderly members of the cast, principally Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Maureen Stapleton and Jessica Tandy. It is both amusing and refreshing to see these OAPs engaged in frank discussions about their various bodily functions. The sexual awakening that forms part of their rejuvenation is handled in a thoroughly charming and inoffensive way by director Ron Howard.

Among the younger cast members, Steve Guttenberg - who was never one of Hollywood's greatest actors - more than serves his purpose as an average Joe, Jack Bonner, who unwittingly rents his boat to aliens. Meanwhile Tahnee Welch provides sex appeal by the bucket-load as his love interest, Kitty.

Perhaps appropriately, given the average age of the cast, the pace of this movie is decidedly sedate. You might even describe it as sluggish towards the end, as the narrative slips gear into full "weepie" mode.

The only extra on this DVD is the film's original theatrical trailer. However, the very reasonable asking price is comparable to that of a widescreen VHS purchase, so I can't really grumble (or else I might begin to sound like a pensioner myself).

Richard McGinlay

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