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Cocoon Reviews

In this fun, lighthearted comedy, a group of aliens led by Brian Dennehy arrive from the planet Antarea and take on human form so they can go about their work without detection. They land near the heart of geriatric country, St. Petersburg, Florida, and rent a tour boat from Steve Guttenberg. They also rent a nearby home that had been left unattended, thereby enabling some elderly residents at a rest home--Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, and Hume Cronyn--to sneak in and use its indoor pool. Guttenberg takes the boat to a specified spot in the ocean where Dennehy and his crew pull boulder-like cocoons from the ocean floor, which they store in the swimming pool. Later when Ameche, Brimley, and Cronyn take their usual swim, they notice the curious cocoons and then begin to sense a change in themselves--they are suddenly more youthful and vital. A gentle and effective heart-tugger, COCOON tries to make its audience feel good, but you can't help but feel uneasy about the vision of old age that director Ron Howard depicts--one in which the young cannot accept the notion of getting old. The derivative special effects feel like leftovers from the infinitely superior CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. A number of the performances are superb, including Ameche's, for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The film also won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.