I don’t remember much about Cocoon, except it being one of those mid-‘80s family friendly films that seemed to rotate endlessly on television. It’s a Ron Howard film and I keep meaning to go back and reappraise his earlier films (particularly this and Splash); he’s always an entertaining director. I wouldn’t say he has a unique flair for directing, but he always tells a good yarn, and it’s nice to spot his brother in his films (Clint Howard from Gentle Ben fame).
So, something about a nursing home and something alien – an egg? – is put into a swimming pool, all the old people swim in the pool, and they get eternal youth. Something like that anyway. Steve Guttenberg’s in it – in his 1980s heyday – as is a scary Brian Dennehy, with his face peeling off or something. Yes, I need to see this again. I do remember the special effects being quite ground-breaking (by Industrial Light & Magic, as the credits on the record sleeve tells me, although they monopolised visual effects in that decade so it was hardly going to be anyone else).
The composer of the score for Cocoon, James Horner, died last year when the turboprop plane he was flying crashed into a forest in California. He was Ron Howard and James Cameron’s go-to guy, and his list of scores reads like a box-office list of highest grossing films throughout the last thirty years. He definitely has a unique style – his scores are always very soaring; probably something to do with the love of flying that killed him.
It’s odd how a star can completely disappear from the face of the earth. Guttenberg was everywhere in the ‘80s – Diner, Cocoon, Short Circuit, Three Men And A Baby, Three Men And A Little Lady, Cocoon: The Return – and if that wasn’t enough, there was a Police Academy film released every fortnight. Then the ‘90s happened and nothing; almost as though he was so synonymous with the ‘80s, when that decade ended so did he. Maybe he just got old. Maybe he just needs to have a swim in that magical alien water.
Hit: Gravity – Michael Sembello
Hidden Gem: Through The Window