The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1985
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Mono, French Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Don Ameche, Brian Dennehy, Steve Guttenberg, Jack Gilford, Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Vernon, Herta Ware, Tahnee Welch
Directed by: Ron Howard
Music by: James Horner
Written by: Tom Benedek
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 6, 2010
"It is everything you’ve dreamed of. It is nothing you expect"
When visitors from a distant galaxy return to Earth on a secret mission, their other-wordly powers afford a group of senior citizens – who had expected nothing more from life than bingo, shuffleboard, aches and pains – the chance to recapture their youth.
I am a fan of Cocoon and have been since seeing it back in the eighties. It is an uplifting and heartwarming film that has a genuine appeal that is timeless. I find the wonderful characters which are capably portrayed by a host of stage/screen veterans to be the heart of what drives the story. The premise revolves around a group of elderly people living in a Florida retirement community. By happenstance several of them come in contact with an alien race of Antareans (extraterrestrial beings that appear human), who have returned to earth after 10,000 years to retrieve 20 of their comrades that were left behind and preserved on the ocean bottom in rock like cocoons. Things get interesting when it is discovered that the indoor pool now used by the Antareans to store the cocoons has the ability to reinvigorate and even heal the elderly group of friends that had been sneaking in to swim there. The story raises poignant questions about mortality, the complexities of interpersonal relationships, and the individual choice and ramifications of acceptance of the cards dealt by Mother Nature. These are ordinary people in their twilight years who find themselves confronted with a situation that allows them to embark on a whole new chapter filled with the hope of adventure. The Antareans aren’t presented in a sinister light as they appear peaceful and compassionate. If a group of aliens lands in your neighborhood the Antareans are exactly the type you’d hope for. The film is wonderfully scripted and involving as it combines the elements of drama, fantasy/adventure, sci-fi, and even comedy. Director Ron Howard paints a vivid portrait that carefully blends the story’s elements while simultaneously eliciting a range of emotions that allow us to connect with the characters on multiple levels. Cocoon is an entertaining and classic film that holds up well under repeat viewings. It has found a home in my Blu-ray collection.
The rating is for mild language, thematic material and brief sensuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Cocoon comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 19 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 mbps.
This high definition presentation delivered fair to good overall image quality that appeared faithful to the film’s original elements. Its high definition video offered an appreciable level of detail during close ups and certain wide angle camera shots. The exterior shots of Florida and the beach/shore locations looked vivid with naturally rendered colors and stable resolution. The majority of the time the visuals didn’t have a high level of image penetration. Sharpness was good but occasionally inconsistent as the image softened at times. The variety of period colors and earth toned hues were reproduced well but weren’t especially engaging. Blues were vibrant, deeply saturated and eye catching while reds appeared to lean more toward orange. Blacks were punchy which increased depth perception in low lit sequences (the visual effects in the opening ocean scene looked great). Those same scenes had an improved sense of dimension thanks to a discernible level of visible detail in dark backgrounds. Grain is preserved naturally and is noticeable throughout. Occasionally it takes on more prominence but I didn’t find it to be problematic. While this presentation lacks the polish of today’s newer films being released on Blu-ray Disc, I think that this presentation appears faithful to this 25 year old film’s original elements and looks decent in high definition.
The lossless soundtrack made the most of the dated source elements present in the recording. The sound mix appears to have been touched up and the results are a mixed bag. Dialogue is intelligible for the most part although some of the softer spoken passages later in the film were a little hard to hear. It offers above average clarity and occasionally makes use of the surround platform. I noticed that some sequences ratchet up the volume in the surround channels which I find distracting as it negatively affects balance within the sound field. One example of this occurs when Art (Ameche) and Bess (Verdon) open the doors and enter the wedding chapel. The church organ blasts through the rear channels at a volume that drowns out audio emanating from the front soundstage which abruptly shifts focus. Conversely there are many moments where the mix shines. The big band music in the dance hall sequence is wonderfully smooth and well integrated through the main channels. James Horner’s music score sounds full bodied with ample low frequency weight that allows the impact of the bass drum to be palpable. Sound effects associated with the spaceship and underwater sequences offer average sound field penetration that doesn’t have the feeling of authority and quantifiable dynamics that you might find with today’s digital soundtracks, but does exert tangible influence with a fair level of immersion, impact and clarity.
- Commentary with director Ron Howard
- Behind the scenes featurette - 7 minutes
- Ron Howard Profile - 2 minutes
- Underwater training featurette - 3 minutes
- Actors featurette - 3 minutes
- Creating Antareans featurette - 4 minutes
- Theatrical and Teaser trailers
- 3 TV Spots
- Cocoon: The return theatrical teaser
Cocoon is a charming and memorable film that has rightfully earned a special place in the hearts of many. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Fox may not have the high gloss finish and visually stimulating picture quality of the best high definition discs available but it seems to present an honest view of the film. Fans are sure to appreciate the inclusion of the bonus supplements contained on the original DVD release which contains vintage features and an audio commentary by director Ron Howard. If you enjoy this classic film as much I do this disc makes a worthy addition to your Blu-ray library.
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