Parents' Guide to

Cocoon: The Return

By Polly M. Robertus, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

A muddled morality tale.

Movie PG 1988 110 minutes
Cocoon: The Return Poster Image

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The magic of Cocoon would be hard to re-create, though the fine cast -- most everyone from the original returns here -- gives it their all. Unfortunately, the movie is preachy and confusing, and the storyline involving Gwen Verdon's pregnancy strains credibility. When dealing with problems facing the elderly, however -- especially the boredom and isolation exemplified by a grieving widower – COCOON: THE RETURN almost succeeds. Here the returnees realize what their desire for immortality has cost them: grandparents realize their importance to their grandson, whose growing up they've largely missed out on; and Alma is thrilled to be offered a job for the first time in her life. Of course the original 1985 movie already dealt with similar issues, only in a more poignant and entertaining fashion.

The subplot that will most interest young people involves the captured alien cocoon and its helpless, prematurely "hatched" inhabitant. However, it's not at all clear, given the returned aliens' life-giving powers, why they need human help rescuing their friend. The rescue scenes themselves lack authority and tension. The Return is fairly predictable, and its humor often wince-inducing. Boat captain Steve Guttenberg's (Short Circuit) crush on an alien female, for example, leads to a regrettable and unfunny scene in a restaurant in which she has a "reaction" to human food. When she shows him a vision of his future life, it's easy to guess who his future wife will be.

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