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November 29, 1988 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-29

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 29, 1988



part 2:




As the holiday film season, and hence the holiday
sequel season, gets under way this year, the newest "part
two" on the big screen is Cocoon:The Return. Twentieth
Century Fox is obviously on the prowl for some big
bucks at the expense of tainting the great suprise hit of
1985, Cocoon. This is just another example of writers
and producers who, too lazy to create new, compelling
Stories, resort to cannibalizing a past success. Cocoon
director Ron Howard did not return for the sequel and
thus this new film suffers several problems that
distinguish it as clearly inferior to the original.
Cocoon 2 had the ingredients to recreate its charm.
The entire cast returned for this one, something rare in
sequels, and many of the. production crew were also
Cocoon alumni. But much more is necessary than just
the personnel.
In the first film, the revitalized senior citizens took
off in the spaceship to Aniarean for immortality and
happiness. In The Return, they come back to visit their
old friends while the Antareans scrambleato rescue the
cocoons (containing embryonic Antareans) from an
impending earthquake. Here's where the problems begin.
Just what is the central story throughout the film? Is
it the Antareans' quest to rescue the cocoons and retrieve
another that has been captured by exploiting scientists,
or is it the seniors' realization that maybe life on Earth
isn't so bad? These are two main stories and there are.
about six or seven MORE stories intertwined within
these two! Confused? I was.
Wilford Brimley returns as Ben, but his charming
stubbornness is missing this time. Hume Cronyn returns
as Joe, but the enriched nostalgia he brought to his role
in the original is also gone. Steve Guttenberg returns as

Jack, but his hysterical naivet6 is left behind. And
finally, Academy Award winner Don Ameche returns to
head up the cast as Art, but that magical spark that
propelled him into the hearts of every audience the first
time around seems faded this time. In essence the
characters are the same, but the portrayals are sadly
lacking in Cocoon 2:
This sequel is missing some of the more essential
elements that made the original a great hit. The
youthfulness that Ron Howard (Splash) brought to
Cocoon is simply not here. The first film was so
attractive because it took an unconventional, offbeat
story with characters that had little initial fascination to
most people and made everything fit together beautifully.
This film has too many stories, creating a muddled
effect, and too many loose ends which lead to a
completely unsatisfactory ending. Director Daniel Petrie
(Sybil) takes over Howard's chair with unfortunate
results. After all, how many sequels by different directors
have been as good as the originals? Not many.
Cocoon 2 was destined to fail for the same reason
that Jewel of the Nile and Indiana Jones and the Temple
of Doom failed: the creative mixture of magic and
originality cannot be reproduced. With the same cast, the
same production crew, and the same themes, I was
hopeful that Cocoon 2:The Return could recapture that
special something which drew me in the first time, but I
wasn't suprised to find the magic gone. When insightful,
young directors like Ron Howard create cinematic gems,
it's a shame that they must be tarnished by inadequate,
money-grubbing sequels.
COCOON: THE RETURN is playing at Showcase
Theaters in Ann Arbor.


Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, and Wilford Brimley have fun in the sun, but even with their
newfound youth, Cocoon: The Return is old hat.

Continued from Page 7?
(producer of Magnum PJ.), chooses
to smother the film with as many
religious images as possible - even
in a car-chase scene he focuses on a
Madonna statue hanging from the
rearview mirror. Given Berenger's
performance, however, it is probably

best that he does this since we might
forget that religion is an important
part of the movie. Bellisario
successfully builds up the suspense
in a couple of early scenes and near
the end, but the final scene
guarantees the movie's disap-
Bellisario has said, "I don't know
if filmgoers will love or hate the
shocking ending... it will cause them
to think about the film long after...

that's as important as their loving
it." Well, the ending is surprising
and does give the audience something
to think about, but it also violates
the audience's trust. Pace takes a turn
that goes against the whole premise
of his character, and ultimately
trivializes the issues that had been
the focus throughout the movie.
Apart from the violence and
nudity that gives Last Rites an R
rating, nothing in the movie stands
out to make it different from a made-
for-TV movie. There is ,certainly
promise in the basic story, but the
telling of it lacks the power to keep
it alive. Any last rites given should
be for the movie itself.

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