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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Cocoon II: The Return
Cocoon II: The Return
Fox // PG // June 1, 2004
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 15, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

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 comrade back.

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 DVD:


Audio:

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.

Video:

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 Extras:

The only extras are theatrical trailers to this movie and its prequel.

Final Thoughts:
 
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.  Skip it.

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