While the “Fountain of Youth” may be a popular tool for stories, you’ve probably never seen it handled like it was in Cocoon…and you probably never will again, making this more than 30 year old film an undying icon for what seems to be…all time. I saw it years ago, but I wanted to go back and find out what exactly it is that carves itself into our memories…because if nothing else, it’s memorable. After seeing it again, I think I understand more of what makes it special, but even then, it’s hard to explain. Let’s get into it.
When aliens visit earth and disguise themselves as humans, they begin to extract huge rocks from the ocean, calling them “cocoons”. They take those cocoons from the ocean and store them in an indoor pool next to a retirement home. Well, a couple of rebel seniors like swimming and find the pool. Turns out, if you swim with these cocoons, you feel great, rejuvenated, free – and as it turns out, it actually heals certain life-threatening conditions. However, those cocoons also need the healing factors from this “fountain of youth”, and the growing number of seniors are beginning to threaten that fact.
This entire movie made me think it would go a certain way towards the end. It’s been so long since I saw it that I remembered basically everything about it except for the ending. I believed this film would be about acceptance, that we are not only in an age of acceptance, but also need to be accepting of age – that we are who we are, and as we age we grow…and there are certain things we need to accept to be granted self-actualization…like death, for instance. Had the film gone the route I anticipated, it wouldn’t have just been entertaining, but also enlightening. However, it goes a different route, more so about…just…living and having fun. To be fair and honest, I’ll agree and say this movie is tons of fun. I don’t have a problem with the ending, I just think it would have been more meaningful had it gone a different route.
That being said, I’ll tell you why this movie is memorable – and that’s the characters. Forget the fountain of youth, forget the aliens, these characters are perfectly cast. They work so well together in this retirement home that I don’t think I’ve wanted to watch the geezers in different stories more in my life. The chemistry there transcends any possible negative aspects…but joined with the concept of aliens and this fountain of youth creates a beautiful and unforgettable image. Also, the writing of the aliens is also incredibly memorable. I don’t think I could cast a better group that conveys the idea that they actually do come in peace. They then all come together to make an ensemble that no one could hate. Ron Howard did something remarkable with this film. He created a family.
Cocoon still holds up to this day. Sure, there are a few issues with visuals. I could tell when they were faking just about anything, including the use of green screen – but the interactions and just plain-old-fun makes the movie worth it. It also has an ending that actually benefits off a sequel. Yes, I’ve seen the second movie years ago as well, but…now I’m going to have to watch it again.