Review: Cocoon Blu-ray

STUDIO: Fox | DIRECTOR: Ron Howard | CAST: Steve Guttenberg, Wilford Brimley, Brian Dennehy, Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Jack Gilford, Maureen Stapleton, Tahnee Welch
RELEASE DATE: 4/6/2010 | PRICE: Blu-ray $24.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, trailers, TV spots
SPECS: PG-13 | 117 min. | Science-fiction | 1.85:1 widescreen | DTS-HD audio | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

This aliens and geriatrics crowd pleaser is about as timeless as anything starring Steve Guttenberg could possibly be. That’s due largely to his iconic Hollywood cast mates, most of whom are no longer with us yet will always charm as a group of seniors who discover the Fountain of Youth in a swimming pool.

Ron Howard’s watery follow-up to his equally watery Splash, Cocoon is a social commentary on youthfulness and aging, posing some important questions on what it means to grow old, and whether the sunset of our lives is best lived being content or contentious. Hume Cronyn, Wilford Brimley, Jessica Tandy and Don Ameche are among the residents of a seniors community seduced by the chance to feel eternally young with the help of some extraterrestrials in human clothing. It’s all harmless fun and rejuvenation until the pool’s secret is revealed, and the aliens’ 10,000-years-in-the-making rescue mission is jeopardized.

Making its Blu-ray debut as a 25th anniversary release, the movie looks about as good as ever, although that’s only marginally better than the 2004 DVD version. However it comes to the fore in the later special effects scenes, notably when the Antareans’ mother ship swoops down over the Gulf of Mexico. That sequence is also the best showcase for the dts-HD soundtrack, as James Horner’s score rises to a room-rattling crescendo.

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, there’s nothing new here in the extras department. Howard’s commentary is the same as on the DVD release; recorded in 2004, it’s engaging and has the benefit of 19 years’ worth of perspective, as the director hadn’t watched the movie since its original release. All the other materials are recycled directly from the prior DVD as well and even then looked very dated. Moderately interesting for what they are, but not nearly as cool as having a 50-something Guttenberg and 40-something Tahnee Welch recalling the pinnacle of their acting careers.

If you own the most recent DVD, there’s little reason to upgrade. Otherwise, you’ll want the Blu-ray on hand when the grandparents come to visit.


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