Five years after they decided to hitchhike a ride to the stars, a group of old folks accompany the aliens from the planet Anterea on a journey back to Earth to retrieve the cocoons that they were forced to leave behind.
Reaction & Thoughts:
“He is my friend, and we are going to take him home.”
Ever since I watched it a few days ago, I’ve been trying to figure out why I didn’t like Cocoon: The Return, the sequel to 1985’s unexpected hit Cocoon. The film reunited most of the creative team responsible for the 1985 summer blockbuster (minus director Ron Howard, who refused to take part in the movie), and yet I kept asking myself why this sequel isn’t as good as the original. I might finally have an answer.
Cocoon: The Return was directed by talented Canadian filmmaker Daniel Petrie (My Name Is Bill W.) and the screenplay was done this time by Stephen McPherson, but together they couldn’t overcome the fact that the original movie had a perfectly constructed three-act structure that doesn’t lend itself to a sequel.
It’s evident that the filmmakers ran out of ideas, and they were content with ripping themselves off. Cocoon: The Return is a regurgitation of all the issues that were satisfactorily resolved at the end of the 1985 movie. Furthermore, this sequel steals shamelessly from various 1980s fantasy movies, including Steven Spielberg’s classic E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Ron Howard’s Splash (1984).
It’s the hugely likable cast that keeps the movie afloat. The old gang is back — Don Ameche (Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait), Wilford Brimley (The China Syndrome), Hume Cronyn (Lifeboat), Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy), Maureen Stapleton (Airport), Gwen Verdon (Damn Yankees), Jack Gilford (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), etc. — and they deliver the goods once again.
In addition to the aforementioned actors, Brian Dennehy (First Blood) briefly reprises his role as the leader of the aliens. There are a few new faces. Beloved Broadway legend Elaine Stritch plays Gilford’s sharp-tongued girlfriend, and a very young Courteney Cox (Scream) plays a kindhearted scientist. All in all, it’s an impressive collection of actors. Sadly, the movie doesn’t really deserve such an influx of amazing talent.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
Even with a cast like this one, Cocoon: The Return doesn’t amount to much. It’s practically a remake of the original, and that was frustrating to watch. There is nothing new here. I wasn’t angry or anything like that (it isn’t a terrible movie). I was just disappointed by how lazy it was — there was no attempt to conceal the fact that this is essentially a cash-grab sequel. Color, 116 minutes, Rated PG.