Old people, science fiction, aliens and cocoons; this sounds like a recipe for disaster. The perfect by-product of a bad movie concept straight out of the eighties. I’m a science fiction nerd and this didn’t even sound appealing to me, but we gave it a shot anyways. What other film could be more appropriate for “The Golden Years”?! This film reeks of old-age, and the only young character in the movie is a grandson who wishes he were old so he could be as clever and astute as his effortlessly funny grandpa. “No Italian food! Makes me fart!”
With each introductory scene I instantly fell in love with all the characters (excluding David’s shrieking mother). Each person was charming in their own little way, and the beginning of the movie did a great job of establishing each character’s personal situation. Steve Guttenberg isn’t an actor I could see myself ever applauding, but his witty one-liners and sense of humor won me over in this film, “Hey, what are you… Just… Get your ass of my boat, Man. Get your ass off my boat. Do you believe this? And, take your embarrassing beach towel with you! ”
It took place in a pleasant retirement home where the members were free to come and go as they pleased, still maintaining a quality of life so it wasn’t too in-your-face oppressive, (let’s admit, old age isn’t pretty). Cardigans, shuffleboard, card games and Ex-Lax, even someone who despises old people would find it hard to not melt a little at some point during the movie. I had read a lot of reviews complaining that the humor was too crude and dirty. Perhaps I’m a little vulgar myself, because I didn’t agree whatsoever. People act as if geriatrics are old broken down miserable beings who possess no sense of humor or will to power at all. This is not the case though, their minds are sharp while their bodies grow dull. The movie shows what each character were to do if they regained their youth, and it’s interesting to watch. Bowling, dancing, cannon-balls and abandoning the ol’ separate twin bed routine, they take full advantage of their new vigor. Cocoon gives a new perspective on a generation that suffers from stereotypes. My nerdiness showed itself more and more as the plot thickened and the science-fiction began. What a wacky concept, but it all just worked. Keep in mind it was made in 1985, so the not-so-special effects (minus Kitty’s glowing blue arm underwater…aweeesssommmmee) are bad, but forgivable. At some points it almost became too much, but I simply ignored it. It touches on more serious points as well… death and dying, (I particularly loved the scene where he explains to his grandson that he’s “going away forever” and he’ll never see him again. It was symbolic of dying, only he got to get in a proper goodbye before, an opportunity most grandparents don’t get) and the human race’s destructiveness. It also communicated our instinctive fear of the unknown, (Bernie’s refusal to take part in the alien’s “Fountain of Youth” due to his stubborn dedication to mortality), a questionable debate over the existence of a God, and the unforgiving toll that Mother Nature takes on us humans. I give it 4 stars, it kept me consistently chuckling and I wasn’t disappointed in the least bit.

“Well I’ll tell ya, with the way nature’s been cheating us, I don’t mind cheating her a little.”

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