Once there was a time when Steve Guttenberg had pulling power at the box office. There isn't an Eighties child alive who hasn't watched the Three Men And A Baby franchise over and over again, desperate to glimpse the ghost that supposedly loitered on the set of his apartment. Now that he has hit bad times, reduced to bit parts, let's not forget his moments of glory, such as Police Academy and Cocoon.

Here is an example of why Guttenberg was so popular - the cheeky chappy with the cute smile. And here is a film that reminds us that old people can be entertaining to watch. In short, this is a film that should be a classic, if not for its funny delivery and script, tainted with sadness, but for ILM's genius technology.

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It is the story of aliens from a far off galaxy returning to Earth to rescue some of their breed who were left behind thousands of years ago. It is also the story of an older generation of humans coming to terms with mortality and the limited time they have left with their loved ones.

Brian Dennehy, as head honcho alien, Walter, who befriends humans Art (Don Ameche), Ben (Wilford Brimley) and Joe (Hume Croyn) is brilliant. The film focuses on these three, as they discover the wonders of the cocoons. The lovely Jessica Tandy is Joe's long suffering wife and Maureen Stapleton is Ben's other half. Together these distinguished actors prove that the elderly can still hold a certain appeal in big budget movies. They are not only endearing to watch, but entertaining too.

Ron Howard, the man who made Splash, Apollo 13 and, more recently, A Beautiful Mind excels, careful not to overdose on CGI and ruin this wonderfully sentimental story.

Cocoon is one of those films, along with similar classics like Short Circuit and Batteries Not Included, that will always be remembered and watched with a certain degree of affection, despite their aging special effects and heavy emphasis on morality. Steve Guttenberg fans everywhere rejoice!

Reviewed on: 16 Jun 2002
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Aliens return to earth to rescue some of their kind. Instead of rescuing them, they end up rescuing some humans
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Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Tom Benedek

Starring: Steve Guttenberg, Brian Dennehy, Jessica Tandy, Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley

Year: 1985

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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