Cocoon (Howard, 1985) is a 1985 Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre film directed by Ron Howard, who previously directed such films as Splash and Night Shift. Benefitting from the kindly type of aliens previously seen in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Cocoon used the advanced technologies of benevolent aliens to explore aging and the pros/cons of reversing that process. Aided by a veteran cast and superior editing/special effects, Cocoon became a hit film.
General Theme/Overview, Style, Plot and Character Development
The general theme is the exploration of aging and the pros/cons of reversing the process, using the style of Sci-Fi/Fantasy. The plot involves the extraordinary results of humans interacting with kindly, advanced aliens, and the dilemmas caused by those results. Thousands of years ago, aliens from Antarea lived on the island of Atlantis on Earth. The island sank and 20 Antareans stayed behind so other Antareans would have enough life force to return to their planet. These Antareans are now awaiting rescue in pods on the sunken island. Four rescuer Antareans return to Earth disguised as humans, retrieve the cocoons and store them in a pool within a rented house in a Florida town. The pool is infused with a strong life force so the cocooned Antareans will have enough life force to return to Antarea. A few elderly residents of next-door retirement sneak into the pool, not knowing of its special powers. After...
They keep sneaking into the pool and are eventually caught by an Antarean, who allows them to continue using the pool. The conflict between the pro- youth and anti-youth elderly leads to an altercation in which one of the pro-youth men blurts out the secrets of the next-door pool. Elderly residents swarm to the pool, exhausting its life force. The Antareans are forced to postpone the rescue for 10,000 years, leaving empty seats on their spaceship. They offer the seats to the elderly residents, some of whom accept them because it may mean eternal youth and life; however, other elderly residents opt to stay on Earth with their loved ones, aging and dying normally. Character development is particularly striking for the elderly residents who first use the pool's life force. They go from classically aged people living boring, limited lives to young, vital beings who enjoy youthful sex lives, ballroom dancing, Olympic diving and break dancing, and are willing to explore the prospect of eternal youth and life by flying to Antarea.
Some of the most striking editing techniques enhance Don Ameche's performance. Through quick cuts, stunt people and trick shots, Don Ameche is transformed from an aged, feeble man to a youthful ballroom dancer, break dancer and Olympic diver. Though the audience knows he is elderly, the editing sometimes makes it hard to distinguish Don Ameche's movements from those of stunt people. In addition, special effects were provided by Industrial Light and Magic,…
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