A fountain of youth fable [from a novel by David Saperstein] which imaginatively melds galaxy fantasy with the lives of aging mortals in a Florida retirement home, Cocoon weaves a mesmerizing tale.
Film inventively taps a wellspring of universal desire: health and youth, a parable set, in this case, among a pallid group of denizens shuffleboarding their twilight days away until a mysterious quartet of normal-looking visitors shows up on their Floridian shores. They are arrivals from another galaxy, led by friendly Brian Dennehy and attractive Tahnee Welch (Raquel’s daughter, in her first US film). Another nearly-silent member of the party is a debuting Tyrone Power Jr.
Dennehy hires a young, out-of-pocket charter boat skipper (engagingly played by Steve Guttenberg) for a plan to scuba dive for what appear to be weird, gigantic oyster shells. Dennehy rents an abandoned estate with a big indoor pool and rests the big pods in the pool’s bottom.
Effectively intercut with these scenes is the life of the tight circle of nearby retirees, three of whom, played by Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn, one day discover the cocoon-like shells and after a frolic in the water are soon diving in like 18-year-olds.
The effect of rejuvenation on the gray people, the inevitable mania when the whole retirement hospital wants in on the public bath, and the effect of this on the plans of the visitors from outer space propel the feature toward a suspenseful, ironic conclusion.
1985: Best Supp. Actor (Don Ameche), Visual Effects