Cocoon (1985) Poster

(1985)

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9/10
Another under-appreciated gem
TVholic1 April 2001
"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light." - Dylan Thomas

The senior characters of this modern day fable took this poem to heart.

When we first meet the motley group, they are as many of us dread one day becoming. Kept in a nursing home, days filled with vapid activities like shuffleboard or mah-jongg, whiling away hours floating in a deserted swimming pool, watching people your own age drop like flies. When that changes through the magic of alien technology, they become, if not the picture of reckless youth, at least a semblance of the people they were once upon a time, proving the old cliché: you ARE only as old as you feel. In that, it's a good lesson for people heading into their golden years or even those of us just having midlife crises. We can't help but grow old. But it's up to us whether we want to BE old or merely mature.

For a science fiction movie, it would appear to have few special effects. This is an illusion. There are quite a few effects shots, although the variety of effects is rather limited. The glowing aliens are quite good except for the all too familiar hand movements by Caprice Rothe, who first did the job for "E.T." Still, by and large the effects are impressive and convincing even when compared against the latest films of the 21st century. Even more impressive was the poolhouse, which was hastily constructed purely as a setpiece for the movie. It looks absolutely real, as if it had sat there among the Florida palms for decades.

Tahnee Welch, daughter of the seemingly ageless Raquel, was wholesomely fetching here. Whether she was a limited actress or merely underplaying the role is for others to decide. Ron Howard wisely kept Steve Guttenberg's role limited, focusing mainly on the older characters. A little Guttenberg goofiness goes a long way. Also present are the standard Howard family repertory, with brother Clint as the nursing home attendant and father Rance making a brief appearance as a detective. Much as already been said about the excellent performances of the older cast members. This was, after all, the role that finally won an Oscar for Don Ameche. But they're slowly slipping away from us, one by one. First Jack Gilford, then Ameche, then Jessica Tandy and recently Gwen Verdon. At least we'll have this movie to remember them by. Maybe they weren't at the peaks of their careers, but quite possibly the roles they fit most comfortably.

Two attempts to cash in on this movie failed. Both 1987's "*batteries Not Included," starring Tandy and Cronyn, and the 1988 sequel "Cocoon: The Return" flopped. Neither had the genuine warmth of this original. Ron Howard showed good judgement in turning down the chance to direct the sequel.

As for the musical score, it's one of James Horner's better works, mixing symphonic grandeur with childlike wonderment. Alas, he does fall into old habits and reuse some bars and measures from his "Wolfen" and "Star Trek II" scores.

It's a shame this movie never found the audience it deserved. I first saw this in a shopping mall four-plex a couple of weeks after its release. There couldn't have been more than 20 people in the entire theater. The whole movie holds up remarkably well in the 16 years since, except for the break dancing. My god, has it been 16 years already? Where can I find some Antarean life force?
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9/10
Much more than just another alien film
Lets_talk_about_that20 February 2005
This is one of my all-time favorite movies, for a variety of reasons: A) It treats the theme of aging with such tenderness and doesn't reduce the older characters to props, B) It evokes questions about the supernatural/the possibility of life "out there," and C) The location (Florida) looks so pleasant and inviting. I have loved this film since I was a child in the 80s, and it is still one that I watch over and over (and I still cry at the same spots every time). I have to also say that--in my opinion at least--the characteristic feature of every great movie is a great score/theme melody. Cocoon definitely has it, yet without feeling "epic" and overpowering; the same plucked melody chimes in quietly at all the right moments in the film, lending a profound and quiet connection with each character (even the extra-terrestrial ones). There are moments in this film where, if you don't shed a tear, there must be something wrong with you. Highly recommended film :-)
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7/10
A different breed of science fiction, with the warm touch.
emm8 May 1999
COCOON is not at all similar to every other science fiction movie (the ending is a pure exception), but this uses fantasy and magic as a way to express a heartwarmth feeling. What happens when the good elderly citizens of a retirement community discover the "fountain of youth"? It's movies like this going away from the perilous trap and concentrates deeply on our human characteristics. A large cast of older stars, including the late couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, contribute to the warmth and amusement of a non-violent "sci-fi" picture that is a breed apart from the rest. They act as if they're "young again" with incredible energy, and the moments offer the kind and gentle possibilities that wouldn't redeem this as science fiction, but it is. Ron "Ritchie" Howard gives this a whole new acclaim for internally giving us the human spirit that lies within an outside force. For those who crave hard on science fiction, COCOON is a slight misunderstanding due to the light-hearted story it has to offer. What's more entertaining than seeing old folks push over the limits of their acting potential? As Wilford Brimley once said in Quaker Oats commercials, "It's the right thing to do.". Which also means COCOON is the right movie for showing off a different dimension of our feelings inside. And different is right!
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Charming fable that's still fresh
FilmFlaneur28 August 2002
Cocoon is a charming science fiction fable by the underrated Ron Howard. Howard is an amiable, frequently baseball-capped figure who, in the 70's, became a familiar face through his 6 year stint as Richie in TV's Happy Days. Cocoon followed immediately after Splash! (1984), another successful fantasy. It exchanges the Tom Hanks figure featured in that film with a similar one played by Steve Guttenberg, another romantic innocent. But whereas in the earlier film Hanks had a central role, here Jack Bonner (Guttenberg) has far less prominence. This is perhaps because of Guttenberg's modest acting abilities, but principally so the narrative can focus more securely on the characters that matter – the community of senior citizens facing their twilight years at the Sunny Shores Retirement Center.

Cocoon's achievement as a film is all the more remarkable when one reflects upon the scarcity of active, old people in American cinema, let alone a group of them presented so positively in a state of sexual re awakening, then led to such an upbeat conclusion. Behind this apparent optimism, however, the thoughtful viewer can still reflect on some final doubts and uncertainties.

The central circle of old people, around whom events turn, together prove a fine acting ensemble. Arthur (a still svelte Don Ameche), Ben (Selwyn Wilford Brimley) Jo (Hume Cronyn), Bernie (Walter Gilford), Alma (Jessica Tandy), Bess (Gwen Verdon) and the others are a convincing unit, squabbling, relating and facing the end of their lives with cantankerous dignity which is entirely convincing. Tandy and Cronyn were married in real life. Many of film's most poignant moments of the film spring from the relationships between these people. The quiet passing of Rose for instance, and her husband's grief by her bedside. Notable too is the wooing by former song and dance man Ameche of his new lady love, a process during which he shows no lessening of time-honed screen courtesy and assurance. During the opening of the film, Arthur and Jo's witnessing of an unsuccessful resuscitation is a stark reminder of the mortality of the principals, sadly off and on screen. Cocoon was a last hurrah for many of the elderly cast (although one or two survived advancing years to appear in the terrible Cocoon 2(1988)).

The other major character group are the Antareans. Here too a refreshing leap out of the stereotypical is taken as the aliens prove reasonable, non aggressive and forgiving – perhaps characteristics inspired by Spielberg's influential and amenable ET (1982) or the religiosity of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Jack Bonner's near hysterical reaction to their initial unmasking ('If you try and eat my face off you'll be very, very sorry'), his following conversion then inevitable dalliance, are all handled with an effective lightness. Even Howard's depiction of an alien orgasm on screen as Jack romances Kitty (Tahnee Welch) without touching, in the life giving pool, is done sensitively. It is perhaps the most striking moment of its sort in Science Fiction cinema since Woody Allen's Sleeper (1973). Cocoon is a film in which sexual energy is equated closely to an amplified life force and is seen as both positive and welcome. Both young and old feel the replenishment of their passion, directly or indirectly, in connection with the cocoon tank. Here the items retrieved from the sea are settled at the bottom, somewhat ominous reminders of a life to come. The title itself is suggestive, not only of the typical dormacy of a chrysalis, but of impending rebirth such an object heralds. As the oldsters rejuvenate with the 'fountain of youth', they find new meaning and value in their lives, a belated development which even leads to the sad break up of families. The desire for life can be selfish, even when healthily expressed, and some prefer to 'stick with the hand nature has given' them.

The Antarean's recovery of their 'ground crew' is what brings them to earth. While their leader's account of them having originally lodged themselves in what was Atlantis is slightly hoary (their bases apparently having sunk during the 'first great upheaval') the film wisely seers away from too much alien hardware. Apart from the pretty device on the deck of Bonner's boat, and the splendours of the returning mother ship, very little technology is glimpsed. The Antareans are certainly strange, but lacking much hard evidence of their difference enables the audience to relate to them easily. Even their unskinning, as they emerge as their true, shining selves, is a wonderous event, a shining transfiguration with no implicit threat to humanity.

These are aliens associated with whiteness and with life, forgiving and considerate, exhibiting 'christian' values. They radiate and float like angels when emerging from human covering, and their ship takes the departing OAPs up into the light. Hollywood readily associates such light with the rewards of heaven (for other examples of the brilliance bestowed upon the departing see The Frighteners (1996) or Jacob's Ladder (1990). Substitute the pool of life for baptism, the smiling Walter (Brian Dennehy) for a prophet, and Cocoon's alien spaceship might just as easily be the Gabriel leading the faithful to paradise.

But what of the end of the film? Is it really as happy and as affirmative as it first seems? Bonner has made great play with his responsibility as a skipper in an earlier scene with Kitty. At the conclusion he might, therefore, reasonably be held to account for his loss of a cargo of elderly transportees. At least one extended family is broken up by their leaving. And Walter has to return home, his mission a failure, together with a boatload of unexpected guests. At the least the final ascension is a complex event, leaving some tensions unresolved. That Cocoon manages to hold all these elements together in a satisfying whole is one reason to seek it out. To enjoy a warm hearted family film is another.
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7/10
Interesting and thought-provoking
raymond-159 August 2004
Made 20 years ago with some former well-known actors, this film has stood the test of time very well and delivers a very interesting and thought-provoking story about the mortality of man.

A group of people in a retirement village discover a neighbouring swimming pool which is out of bounds, but they have fun in it nevertheless. There are some strange objects lying on the bottom of the pool, but even more strange is the fact that after swimming there the old folk feel transformed and the vigor of their youth returns to their bodies. This makes for some light comedy as their hormones begin to take over.

These old people have a very serious decision to make and it is not an easy one. This is probably the best part of the film. Should they accept or decline the invitation? Having made the decision there is no turning back! We ask ourselves...what would we do placed in their circumstances? We feel very much involved. Thinking it over, isn't this proposal very much like what the Christian churches are promising us?

The final memorial church service by the sea is such a fitting ending and the little grandson David gives such a knowing smile as he raises his eyes to the sky.
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Movie to make you think.
joe2m7 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Movie about some adventureous older people who discovered the fountain of youth. Of course, as with anything too good to be true, the fountain turned out to be a life support tank for aliens! The life support tank was a swimming pool which contained some mysterious energy to bring back ancient alien comrads which were contained in some large seed-like pods. The mysterious energy also had the ability to give life back to the elderly humans who stumbled on it. Of course the aliens discover that the older people are having a good time with with this scenerio. To say more would be to give away the important messages the movie is trying to present.

May not be the best movie ever made, but far better than average. It showed both the young at heart and the old, even though all of them were physically old. I'm not that old but it makes you appreciate what getting old is about. Remember that when you see an elderly person, some of them may be old but some of them are more alive then people much younger. Don't just respect them but indulge them.

Ron howard rarely disappoints.
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6/10
A rare and truthful focus on the elderly makes "Cocoon" a nice film
Movie_Muse_Reviews2 January 2010
Very few films have been made with seniors as the main characters. It seems that Hollywood producers are convinced we prefer to see younger people on the screen -- and they're probably right. "Cocoon" is a rare elderly-focused take on the fountain of youth concept, an ancient motif that's enough proof in itself that humans desire young age, whether in general or at the movies. Although science fiction, "Cocoon" is simple and mild-mannered like its lovable old protagonists. It might be light on drama but it's big on heart.

Loaded with stars from yesteryear, among them Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy and Gwen Verdon, one could say "Cocoon" was an '80s alien movie made specifically for an older crowd. And that's fair -- they deserve it. It's as if director Ron Howard was hoping to give his cast some of their youth back in letting them take prominence in the film, based on a story by David Saperstein and screenplay by Tom Benedek. It's not riveting sci-fi material but it prompts an honest conversation about aging, one that in reality someone of any age could understand and appreciate.

The film takes place in a senior living center in St. Petersburg, Florida. As part of their recreation time, three of the senior men enjoy swimming in the abandoned pool just through the woods around the center. When a strange group of people come in and buy the old house and rent a boat at the dock, the stubborn old guys still come to swim in the pool, only it appears the people are storing rocks in the water. They swim anyway and find that with the rocks in the pool (actually alien cocoons) that they feel energetic, rejuvenated -- and younger.

Howard's film is easygoing. There is not a lot of suspense or gripping conflict. Instead, you watch and get a kick out of the way these seniors and their wives behave having been affected by the water. Their sex drive, for example, reappears to comic effect and there's general misbehavior. They all come off as bigger children and each have a different reaction to this "cheating" of age. Thus the film's core conflict of whether it's right to defy nature appears and guides the rest of the film. It's a replacement for any major form of antagonism.

"Cocoon" is touching because the story is very frank in portraying these seniors as having nothing to live for but each other and whatever remaining family they have. When you're that old, a chance at prolonged life is like being granted a whole new world of opportunity whereas you're just biding time when you're old and physically and mentally unable to do the things you used to.

There have been better stories, better special effects (although this one an Oscar in 1985) and better science-fiction films, so "Cocoon" is best appreciated as a unique film about old age, something movies rarely focus entirely upon.

~Steven C

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8/10
Sweet film that probably means more today
blanche-27 January 2008
1985's Cocoon, directed by Ron Howard, asks - would you give up the emotional, mental and physical pain of growing old if you could? Baby boomers today feel that death is optional and seek out whatever it takes to make them feel and look young - so if Cocoon came out in 2008, it would perhaps resonate even more.

The story takes place in a rest home inhabited by a group of friends: Arthur (Don Ameche), Benjamin (Wilford Brimley) and his wife Marilyn (Maureen Stapleton), Joseph (Hume Cronyn) and his wife Alma (Jessica Tandy) and a perky red-head Bess (Gwen Verdon). The guys have taken to going to an abandoned pool house and swimming - without permission, of course. Then the building is rented by a man (Brian Dennehy). This same man also rents a boat from Jack Bonner (Steve Guttenberg), who is down on his luck and can use the money. He watches Jack, his beautiful assistant Kitty (Tahnee Welch) and some other people skindiving and bringing up huge silver packages. These packages are then dumped into the pool. After the men swim there one day, they find themselves suddenly rejuvenated and start having sex, staying up, nightclubbing and having more energy. Meantime, on the boat, Jack has gotten a look at Kitty getting ready for bed...and notices that she removes her skin as well as her clothes and glows in the dark.

This movie has many poignant moments - Alma coming to grips with the fact that her husband has always cheated, and the saddest of all, when Bernard (Jack Gilford) who has been violently opposed to the whole idea of the pool as a fountain of youth, desperately brings his wife there.

Howard cast this with an eye toward man's normal immortality - children - with Raquel Welch's daughter and Tyrone Power's son, Tyrone Power Jr. as Pillsbury - while telling the story of people who have a chance at a different kind of immortality. Both Power and Welch bear strong resemblance to their famous parents. The old-timers in the cast are among the greatest actors of their generation and sadly, we've lost nearly all of them now. Only Wilford Brimley remains. The film revived Don Ameche's career, and the cast returned for a sequel, "Cocoon: The Return." A wonderful film to see the old stars in a very touching story and to ask yourself - if you had the chance, would you take it?
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Early Ron Howard Entertainer.
tfrizzell3 July 2002
Six elderly people (Oscar-winner Don Ameche in more of a lifetime achievement award, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton and Gwen Verdon) start swimming at a locked up housed swimming pool that has strange pods in it and then start doing things that contradict their ages. Of course the pods really house aliens from another planet and they are the reasons for the "fountain of youth". Ron Howard's sympathetic and clever direction saves this uneven project that starts out as a pure comedy and then turns into a rough drama as the clock ticks away. Brian Dennehy and Steve Guttenberg shine in smart supporting roles. 4 stars out of 5.
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Terrific
Madman-1010 May 1999
This film completely surprised me first time. I thought it was your usual silly alien film - but it is so much more then that - and if it is possible the brilliant Ron Howard makes it all believable. Two things stand out among all else - the fantastic score (one of the best I have ever heard) The superb ending - which was one of the most original endings - possibly ever.

I just can't say enough about just how good this film is.

As far as performances go I was particularly surprised by the acting of the senior citizens especially Jack Gilford as the miserable old codger Bernie - I love it when he completely breaks down and softens after spending an hour and 20 minutes as the most awful old man you could ever have the misfortune to bump into - the transformation was immediate but so believable - and I personally think that performance was worthy of a supporting actor oscar.

Also Brian Dennehy, Wilford Brimley, Don Ameche and Steve Guttenburg were also excellent.

An all round fantastic film which everyone can enjoy - all ages
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8/10
Let's swim in a pool that has weird boulders dumped into it
MartianOctocretr57 August 2006
Some seniors find the long sought-after Fountain of Youth by accident, just by regularly sneaking into a neighbor's pool. I don't know if I'd swim in a pool that has moss-covered boulders tossed into it, but these guys do, and find their youthful vitality returning.

Unbeknownst to the men, aliens on a mission have rented the neighbor's place, and set up the pool as their base of operations. Fortunately, these were post-ET/Close Encounters beings, so they had benevolent intentions.

Great cast of some familiar faces, and the screen chemistry of the cast members is wonderful as they range from highly emotional to contentious in their interaction. The nursing home residents are marvelous in portraying their renewed joy of life. Don Ameche is dashing with the ladies, and acts the role of a youthful character very well. Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Mareen Stapleton, and Wilford Brimley are all great. However, the movie is certainly not all a feel-good warm fuzzies type of story; there are some sad tragedies that occur as the plot moves forward.

My one criticism is that the film lacks the courage to address its central theme, the idea of eternal life, only skirting its ramifications. Only one character rejects the idea, but generic platitudes (like "belonging here") he says explain nothing of his reasoning. The film doesn't analyze the people who desire immortality enough, either. We get a few morsels about missing baseball, fishing, and grandchildren. But this shallow analysis gives insufficient insight to this infinitely critical decision the characters are faced with.

It's an interesting tale, with a bittersweet message about our own mortality. A well done production that has you wishing the best for the characters, and contemplating what you might do if you were in their shoes.
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8/10
Fun!
GOWBTW19 October 2007
This movie was totally fantasy. However, it does give the meaning of the word "fountain of youth". Being a senior citizen isn't always have to be a pain. Most enjoy life, while others tend to sulk about being old and useless. Three seniors(Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, and Hume Cronyn) venture out to an abandoned indoor swimming pool and the guys seem to feel like their teens. However, they get scared off by some aliens who happen to be friendly. Unknown what's in the water these guys feel vibrant and alive. The other alien encounter is on the boat of Jack Bonner(Steve Guttenberg), who totally freaks out when he peeps on the young woman who sheds more than just her clothes. In the same pool scene, she shows her power to Bonner. And I liked the part where he says, "If this is foreplay, I'm a dead man". Hmmm.... sex with an alien, interesting. I also like the part where Ameche's character does a little break-dancing. It goes to show that old folks can get down with the young. It was also very heart-warming, and I think it deserves more credit than it should. Other than that, I enjoyed it very much. 3 out of 5 stars!
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6/10
Lightly entertaining
grantss7 February 2015
A lightly entertaining comedy-drama from Ron Howard.

Interesting plot that isn't very watertight. Feels very loose and slapped-together.

Whole movie, in fact, lacks the gravitas necessary to make it a classic. Starts to feel like a chase-caper toward the end.

Performances are so-so. Wilfred Brimley does a solid job and Don Ameche got a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and most of the performances are fine, just some seem very unconvincing. Tawnee Welch is particularly bad, and Steve Guttenberg should really stick to B-grade comedies.

So, quite disappointing for such a well-known movie.

However, not all bad. It keeps up a decent pace, is never dull, concept is reasonably original (if not sound) and does pose some interesting questions about life. Watchable.
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6/10
Classic movie of all time!
rs-nisha15 December 2011
I recently learned that this film was directed by Ron Howard. Being a fan of his movies, Ron Howard tests his skill in making this sci-fictional film as realistic as possible. 'Cocoon' as the title of the film goes centers on a group of senior citizens who get unexpected vigor on swimming in their neighbor's pool. A superb cast and Steve Guttenberg of (three men and a baby)fame giving that comedy punch. It is a all time family entertainer.

The concept original and considering lot of sci-fiction movies emerged in the 80's , this film still stands for three things- oldies coming in form, exploring the unknown and last purpose in life.
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9/10
Loved since childhood, just realized something disturbing about Jack Bonner...
christopher_zook27 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It centers around the fate Steve Guttenberg's character, Jack Bonner at the end of the movie. Seen this many times since childhood, but it dawned on me what the only possible outcome could be for him because he chose to stay. More than likely, Jack Bonner would have been held accountable in the deaths of more than 30 senior citizens, seeing as how they had a memorial/funeral for them with the preacher claiming the boat incident was the reason for their deaths. First of all, when the coast guard started chasing them through the harbor, they had a clear view of the name of his boat, so they're going to find out who he is no matter what. Working out of the harbor, he has to be registered with the harbormaster, so they will investigate. There's the issue of the fog. The coast guard couldn't see what was going on behind it, so they didn't see the spaceship, so they'll never believe him if he tells the truth Then, even though there was thick fog, there were so many coast guard boats, it's more likely they'll first find him floating around in the water in his life raft with the sack full of money given to him by Brian Dennehy's character, Walter, having to explain what happened to 30 plus missing senior citizens last seen alive on his boat he was driving, fleeing authorities, that he basically had a hand in kidnapping. Then he'll have to explain the "mysterious group of people" who rented his boat and the pool house next door to the senior home. Being Altereans, there would be no record of their existence on Earth. So, try explaining that to police. Good luck. You really think they're just going to let the guy go with his soaking wet burlap sack of cash, consequence free?? Sorry, but I think Jack Bonner's in a lot of trouble folks...lol
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8/10
"We don't know what forever is."
utgard1421 May 2014
Aliens, disguised as humans, rent Steve Guttenberg's boat to help them recover some alien cocoons from the ocean. Then they store them in the bottom of a swimming pool next door to a retirement home. A group of oldsters from the retirement home take a swim in the pool and find themselves feeling youthful and reinvigorated.

Charming, pleasant, and touching film from Ron Howard that's a showcase for a fine cast of elderly actors. Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton, and the other oldsters are all great but Wilford Brimley is the standout. It could be argued Steve Guttenberg is only in the movie to give it some youth appeal, to say nothing of his 'sort of romance' with Tahnee Welch (daughter of Raquel). But he doesn't detract from things at all and is likable throughout the picture. It's a truly unique and wonderful movie. One of the many classics made in the '80s, a decade that is vastly underrated by film snobs.
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9/10
A feel good movie!
Troy2Slick30 July 2002
This is one of those movies that just makes you feel good to be alive!

It deals with the issues of aging, dying, dealing with a loss to loved ones. Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, and many more, bring this film alive!

In the question of our we alone, is frankly answered in this movie. When aging friends decide to break into a house, for a friendly swim in the swimming pool, they get more than they bargain for. It turns out that the pool contains something that their bodies can't resist. Something that turns back the hands of time.

I'd continue more onto the plot, but I suggest that you read up some more on this title and check it out for yourself.

It contains great acting, comedy, drama, and hell, even some romance!

A feel good movie for anyone of all ages. I recommend this as a must see. 8 out of 10!
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6/10
Genuine feel-good movie
gcd7012 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Light but entertaining fantasy about a small group of elderly citizens who discover that the abandoned house next to their home contains a 'fountain of youth'. One must suspend disbelief for this film. On managing that however, Ron Howard presents us with a quite often funny and occasionally moving motion picture.

Ron Howard manages to tie the unlikely story together very well. Performances from Don Ameche (who won an Academy Award) and Wilford Brimley are quite enjoyable. James Horner's music works well also.

A genuine feel good movie, which unfortunately gets a little tired after a few re-runs.

Sunday, May 24, 1992 - Video
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10/10
..lovely fairytale for older folk (me)..
fimimix17 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I've read all of the other comments and agree with all of them, plus ! I give the movie "Cocoon" a 10, because it's silly and fun, touching and realistic, well-acted and directed by Ron Howard. Dave Saperstein's script is a little nutty, but delightful. I didn't see who wrote the score, but it's lovely.

Don Ameche deserved his Oscar, and some of the other cast-members should have been nominated, too - if for no other reason for the long number of years they gave to movie-goers in this country.

Wilford Brimley (Ben) really held the story together, and did his role well, especially in scenes with his grandson. Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy have appeared in more roles than all these guys put together, and certainly added brilliance to the story. Maureen Stapleton and Jack Gilford were very good. Gwen Verdon - that fabulous dancing-lady in many Broadway shows - was painted like a young gal and had the most modern coifs......looked good and was great in the dance sequences. Chita Rivera paid her the highest compliment just this week for KCET's fund-raising program - said dancing with her was one of the highlights of her career.

Young'uns, it is my opinion that older people defeat their sexual prowess by accepting the general public's denigration, themselves - but, I'm glad those guys found "the fountain of youth" and enjoyed it while they could. NOW, although he was the youngest actor in the cast, it is also my opinion Steve Guttenberg's character was "sexed-up" to the hilt.....lots of scenes without shirts, always tight trunks, lots of "pretty-boy" shots.....I was certain his "boner" was going to hang-out of his shorts at any time.....it was constantly visible.

The cinematography of underwater scenes of "Atlantis" were gorgeous, and the camera was used effectively to show how the "cocoons" were taken out of the water and put back in it. Wouldn't we all like to find such a magic pool? The return of the spaceship was used effectively for the few "alien" aspects of the film, and certainly gave Brian Dennehy the opportunity to cap a well-played role. Another added excitement was the grandson being on the boat, wanting to go - then realizing his life was with his mother. All those Coast Guard boats were a lead-up to the thrill of the "boat" being drawn-up into the spaceship.....maybe they WERE going to heaven.......

Not one violent scene in the movie, and EVERYONE loved it. What a "feel-good" movie!, and one for all people to contemplate how they'll handle their old-age........how you do really IS in your head. I'm 82-going-on-18 and loving it all. Congrats to all involved in getting this movie to the screen - it's a gem, and I recommend it to everyone......
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3/10
Old People and Aliens
ericventura28 June 2017
What could have been a simple disaster movie took a late turn into the depths of mysteriousness and emotional ignorance. Like a horrible aftertaste, Cocoon starts out well and turns sour halfway into the meal. What Jaws (1975) did, Ron Howard decided not to do. Trading in simplicity for a screenplay of old people and aliens, he attempts to weave a tale of redemption and fate, instead finding himself directing an action movie with no purpose.

In fact, this movie has no purpose whatsoever. It says nothing, it accomplishes nothing, and it does nothing. It's a story for telling a story's sake. But where Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) tells a story because of the existence of the story, Cocoon must search out the material to make the story. And the screenplay looks long and hard for that inspiration for a good story – and gives up. So we get a movie with old people and aliens. A story where old people of Earth have more in common with aliens from some distant planet (that have apparently been to Earth already, explaining certain human legends) than with their own kind. But where E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) makes good use of moral children and friendly aliens, this movie decides to attempt to make a sentimental story with a stupid child and indulgent aliens. But wait…there's more! Don't forget the necessary, underdeveloped, and makes-no-sense-whatsoever love story – in this case between a human and an alien.

The beginning was decent however. Howard attempts to construct a slowly building tense storyline of gradually revealed twists. Which works until it feels like the movie should end at around the 80 minute mark instead of the 120 minute mark. The slow sci-fi drama of the first half is quickly overshadowed by the feel-good catastrophe of the second half.

Don Ameche was decent, but I think the Academy has something for old people, like Art Carney in Harry and Tonto (1974). While good performances, do they deserve the Academy Award? The visual effects were good for the time and not abused unlike many an action and sci-fi movie of today, not to name names. If only Howard could have kept the slow build up going, like Arrival (2016), he would have had a fine classic entry into the 80s sci-fi movie collection. Now, we just have Cocoon, the classically bad movie.
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6/10
DVD version missing parts from theatrical release.
lrshelley26 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the movie when it was originally released, and recently purchased the DVD to show my teenage sons. I was upset when I discovered the DVD was missing the whole pregnancy issue with Gwen Verdon's character, and much of the discussions between the characters about why they should or should not go with the aliens. I would have at least expected the DVD to contain the deleted scenes. I encountered this before with the movie BIG where they changed the ending after the initial release, and didn't include the alternate ending on the DVD. I would think when a DVD is released, they should at least include deleted scenes and alternate endings for the people who saw it when it first came out and enjoyed the version they saw. If they had been true to the original version I would have given it a ten, not a six.
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5/10
Gloopy sentiment
Leofwine_draca1 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
COCOON is one of the big Hollywood sci-fi pictures of the 1980s, although it's also one of the most sentimental. I could stomach the similar *BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED thanks to the interesting plot and aliens, but this is an all-out feel-good movie that seems to have been particularly designed for elderly viewers to enjoy (Steve Guttenberg is, in particular, an unnecessary presence in the story). My main problem with it is that there isn't much in the way of a story. A group of old-timers have fun, swim in a pool and recapture their youth, but the whole second half is a rather dull journey with thriller elements that never take off. I found Brian Dennehy to be miscast as well. Certainly not a bad film, but it's not something I'd watch again.
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6/10
If You Fill It, They Will Swim.
rmax3048235 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If you like "Field of Dreams" you ought to get a kick out of this Twilight-Zone fantasy too. They both follow a similar trajectory. Similar, in fact, to Twilight Zone's "Kick the Can" episode, in fact, from which both may be derived. The director, Ron Howard, hasn't taken any chances here in this sentimental, mildly amusing, mildly thought-provoking story, but then he rarely does.

This expedition from Antares (looking quite normal on the outside) comes to Earth to retrieve some cocoons left behind earlier when their planet was about to be turned into a monstrous prune -- something like that, anyway. It doesn't matter.

They retrieve the cocoons from the ocean floor and stash them temporarily in the swimming pool of a deserted Florida mansion. The pool is being secretly and illegally used for wading by a three old dudes from a neighboring retirement community, Wilfred Brimley, Hume Cronyn, and Don Ameche. Without anyone's seeming to realize it, the cocoons are infusing the water with some elan vital that is exponentially more powerful than Geritol and Viagra combined. The boys don't begin to actually look different but they regain, let's say, both their youthful vigor and the turgor associated with it.

Instead of sedate dances at the club to old-time Glenn-Millerish swing music, they go to discos and Ameche does a break dance, wowing the audience. Soon their wives begin enjoying a dip or two as well, and the couples wind up climbing trees and chasing each other through the mangroves.

There's a younger couple too, a girl from Antares (Tahnee Welsh) and the owner of the boat that the aliens have hired (Steve Guttenberg). They fall for each other. The problem is that underneath these plastic exteriors, the Antarens, Tahnee Welsh included, are diminutive bilaterally symmetrical beings with tiny mouths and big eyes and they glow with the blinding, eyeball-coagulating light of an arc lamp. This presents certain problems, as you can imagine, when the young man inquires of Welsh, "How do Antarens, um, express affection for one another." "Not in the way you think," she replies, and we can feel the guy's heart sink, "but we show ourselves." Well, that doesn't sound too bad, especially when Welsh begins showing herself by ridding her plastic body of its hampering outer garments. But then, alas, it gets kind of twisted because the rest of what she "shows" him resembles one of those huge spinning wheels made of fireworks that one sees at the climax of a Fourth of July picnic. Call me old fashioned but I think it helps to be less than ten years old to appreciate that particular mode of affectionate self display.

Tahnee Welsh can't act, unfortunately, but looks good just walking around. The three old dudes -- and their wives, and Brian Dennehy -- do quite well. Don Ameche practically renewed his career with this film. And Jessica Tandy STILL looks fine. One of the Antarens has a wordless part and is a ringer for Tyrone Power, probably because he is Tyrone Power, Jr.

The cocoons are being drained of their mojo because of all the humans sucking up to them. The leader of the Antarens generously offers to take a few humans along with him back to his planet. Some go along. Some insist on "playing out the hand they've been dealt, not shuffling the deck again." (It's kind of like Burt Lancaster's character in "Field of Dreams," stuck in the present.) I don't know that I particularly blame the risk-averse old folks who decide to hang back and not live forever. Who would want to be a bus boy or an assistant professor for one thousand years? Anyway, it was a successful movie. It must have been because there was a sequel, meaning that the committee of MBA's sitting up there on Antares decided to greenlight another installment because there was probably another nickel left to be squeezed out of this Fountain of Youth fantasy.
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6/10
Inspired by a Classic
mbuchwal14 July 2005
"Cocoon" is a fine example of how films have everything to do with their predecessors. Ron Howard, the director, acted as a child in a "Twilight Zone" episode and his film "Cocoon" could almost be a feature length remake of another "Twilight Zone" episode called "Kick the Can," which is very similar in concept, mood and effect, except it has no element of outer space aliens. This is not a criticism though, the story idea is a classic one and well done in its updating. For many viewers much of the appeal came from the appearance among the cast of former matinée idols, an approach which has also worked well in a number of other films made since the end of the "Golden Age."
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8/10
Excellent film
grahamsj313 February 2003
With an all-star cast and a really good story, this film can hold its own against nearly any other. These are all veteran actors and their performances in this film reflect their experience. In short, this is a very well-acted, written and directed film. The story is a touching one, with elements of all sorts of emotions and human interactions. There is real depth to the story and the film can be watched on one of several levels and enjoyed on each level. If you're looking for just a good entertaining story, it is that. If you want to delve deeper into various aspects of human behavior, those elements are all present as well. This film is well worth your time and it's entertaining, too!
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