There is really one main reason why sequels get produced: someone
thinks that they can make some money off of it. Unfortunately, most
sequels fail to capture the qualities that made the original movie popular
and end up being horrible. There are some exceptions to this rule
though. Aliens, Godfather Part II and The Empire Strikes
Back were all sequels that at least approached the quality of the original.
Because of this, every time a sequel to a movie I enjoyed is released I
have high hopes. So it was with Cocoon: The Return,
the follow-up to Ron Howard's successful 1983 movie about a group of retirees
who think they've discovered the fountain of youth. I was hoping
for something good, but unfortunately this movie doesn't come close to
the charm or tenderness of the original.
Arthur (Don Ameche,) Benjamin (Wilford Brimley,) and Joseph (Hume Cronyn)
along with their spouses have returned to Earth. They managed to
hitch a ride with some Antareans coming to our neck of the galaxy.
It seems that some oceanographers have discovered the cocoons at the bottom
of the ocean and have retrieved one. The Antereans need to get their
Once they are back on Earth, the main characters reunite with their
friends and family, and enjoy doing the things that people do on Earth.
They play volleyball on the beach and Ben teaches his grandson how to play
baseball. Soon they find that they are a little homesick, and start
to wonder about their place in the cosmos. Is it worth living forever when
you no longer have the one you love? Putting aside their worries,
the group goes off to rescue the captured cocoon, but they still have to
decide if they wish to return to space or stay on Earth as mortals.
This film didn't have the impact that the first one did. The problem
is that there really was no reason for this sequel. You didn't learn
anything more about the characters, and they didn't have an interesting
adventure. This is just a retread of the first movie. You get
to see all the same characters have the same problems as in the first movie.
Joe's cancer comes back and Ben misses his grandson, just as in the first
film. There is nothing new here. It is just the same ground
covered in the first movie. When Cocoon: The Return is viewed
just after the original movie, as I saw it, the parallels are painfully
obvious. It seem like each plot point in the first film has a corresponding
scene in the second. You get another loss of a spouse, and you get
to see the same group say goodbye one more time. That's about the
extent of it.
That is not to say that the acting is bad. It isn't. The
cast does a very good job. Unfortunately the script wasn't strong
enough to give them much to work with. The direction was adequate,
but I couldn't help wondering what the movie would have been like if Ron
Howard had agreed to direct this one too.
The 5.1 English audio track to this movie sounded appropriate.
It was clear with no hiss or other distortions, and fit the movie well.
There are optional subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.
Like the DVD for Cocoon, this disc gives you the choice of watching
the movie with a pan-and-scan formatted version on one side of the disc,
and an anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 widescreen image (that preserves
the original aspect ratio) on the other. I viewed the movie in widescreen,
but the image for the formatted version seems identical.
This was a good-looking movie. There was a lot of detail, and
the colors were appropriate. The transfer was very nice, with no
noticeable digital defects and not print damage.
The only extras are theatrical trailers to this movie and its prequel.
This movie feels like a rewritten version of the first film.
Instead of exploring new territory, the creators decided to rehash the
same ground that the original movie covered. I would have been interested
in seeing how the characters coped with eternal life and living on another
planet, but instead we get nothing new. This is a typical tired sequel.