Pearl S. Buck once noted: "I do not believe in a child world. It is a fantasy world. I believe the child should be taught from the very first that the whole world is his world, that adult and child should share one world, that all the generations are needed." Cocoon is a movie for all generations. It is funny, tender, touching science fiction fantasy that compels its audiences to consider the meaning of old age, longevity, other worlds, death, and the vale of grandparenting.
Anareans from a distant planet have returned to earth in human disguise to retrieve some compatriots left behind 10,000 years ago in the underwater city of Atlantis. Walter (Brian Denehey), their leader, hires a boat to bring up some pods from the Gulf of Mexico waters. The cocoons are then placed in a swimming pool of a rented mansion located Near St. Petersburg's Sunny Shores Retirement Community.
Art (Don Ameche), Ben (Wilford Brimley), and Joe (Hume Cronyn), who have been secretly swimming in the pool, suddenly find themselves rejuvenated. Art's girlfriend (Gwen Verdon) and the wives of the other two (Maureen Stapleton and Jessica Tandy) are delighted by the men's new sexual vitality. Even more amazing benefits accrue from repeated dips in the curative waters. Soon word is out in the retirement community. A crisis ensues, and the old timers must help the Antareans. In return, Walter offers them an opportunity of a lifetime.
Ron Howard directs Cocoon with just the right mix of respect for the retirees and wonder about other worlds beyond Earth. He is blessed with a topnotch cast. In addition to the engaging performances by the three couples, there are excellent ones by Jack Gilford as a crusty individualist who refuses to tamper with nature and Barret Oliver as Ben's loving grandson who enacts a heroic deed to liberate his grandfather. Cocoon is one of the most unusual and uplifting films of 1985.