This movie wants to quickly get to the point of having the senior citizens back on Earth. Just a quick recap of the first film (in case you don't want to read my review): Three elderly couples become friends with aliens who can disguise themselves as humans and they learn they're from a planet called Antarea where one never grows old, never gets sick, and never dies. Rivendell must be their sister city! They live in a retirement community called Sunny Shores and pretty much everyone who lives there ends up going to live in Antarea. I was always a little suspicious of Antarea and voiced it in my Cocoon review:
Seriously, would you go to another planet? You don't know what you're going to find when you get there. All these old people may be getting scammed! They're too naive! And even if where they were going did provide immortality, who would want to live forever? I feel like that would be more of a curse than a blessing.
Well, luckily they never got scammed, although we never do see a second of Antarea (although it will be described (barely, though!) for us). At first, I was disappointed, but then I was kinda of relieved, because, let's be honest, it probably would have looked terrible. They didn't really have the technology in the late '80s to create a utopian planet. Anyway, besides David (the grandson of one of the couples) and a few other select people, everyone else thinks they were lost at sea and have been dead all this time. Including David's mom.
It always irked me that Ben and Mary (Wilford Brimley and Maureen Stapleton) boarded the spaceship because in the first movie it was established they were close with their grandson, David (especially Ben). Now I'm sure the others had family they were leaving behind, but we never really heard about them, so it didn't really both me as much that they left Earth. I just never bought it that Ben and Mary would leave their grandson (or the daughter...I assume David's mom was their kid and not his dad because we don't really see/hear from his dad).
So like I mentioned earlier, the movie just wants to jump right into the plot. And it does exactly that when we see David (probably 14/15, hell I don't know how old he's supposed to be!) in his room doing his homework while watching TV at the same time. His mom is downstairs and hears the TV and tells him to turn it off. He does, but it keeps coming on even after he keeps clicking it off. He gets up to inspect it and suddenly it turns to static before we see his grandpa telling him they're coming to visit because their friends have "some unfinished business to do there" so he and Grandma are hitching a ride.
Dear Lord, I have so many questions:
-Is this the first time Ben has communicated with his grandson this way? I honestly couldn't tell. David seemed a little surprised by seeing his grandpa, but not that surprised. I would think if this wasn't the first time, David would realize why the TV was acting up and wouldn't be banging on it and acting so confused. So his grandparents have been gone for five years and they just realized they could communicate with their grandson this way? What the hell have they been doing all this time? You think they would try some way to communicate with him after all this time. Hmm, I guess I only had one question. But you have to admit it was a pretty valid one!
Ben also tells David that he's going to have to tell his mom the truth which is pretty hilarious. "Uh, Mom, Grandpa and Grandma weren't "lost at sea". They actually boarded a spaceship with the other old people you thought were lost at sea and a couple of new aliens friends and flew to a planet called Antarea where they will spend the rest of eternity." I mean, I would be very concerned if I were this boy's mother! Sadly, we never get this scene where he tells her what actually happened, we just get a scene of her telling him that she doesn't believe him and that maybe he should talk to someone (i.e. she thinks he's crazy), but at least we get the rebuttal where David insists that they "really did go to another planet." He sounds so insane that I really don't blame his mom for not believing him. As they're talking, the doorbell rings and you know its gonna be the grandparents. I don't know how long it's been since David received the message from his grandpa, but in movie time, it's only been a few minutes. His mother answers the door and faints when she sees her parents. After this scene, we will never see her again. I didn't even bother to remember her name. I honestly don't even remember how much screen time she had in the first movie, but it had to be more than this! We never see her wake up after fainting and asking her parents question or anything. Is she just unconscious throughout the rest of the movie?
Kitty tells Jack that they have come back because the cocoons are in danger and "The sensors that [they] left on the bottom of the ocean floor indicate seismic activity" so they have come to take their friends away. To tell you the truth, I don't even know why they have cocoons on another planet. I probably should have rewatched the first movie. I did read my review of the first movie, but didn't find any answers. So apparently this is the "unfinished business" Ben told his grandson about. Why did they even bring the old folks? They have four days to rescue their pod friends. So you're telling me they took a trip from outer space to Earth for only four days? I wouldn't go to Europe for only four days and that only takes, like, eight hours to fly there....not eight months (I'm just speculating how long it takes to fly from Antarea to Earth, but it wouldn't surprise me if that's how long this fictional journey took!) This has to be the worst travel plans ever.
Bernie thinks his friends have come back to Earth for good, but they're not. They don't want to tell him until he's ready to handle the news. I honestly still don't know why they're there. They have nothing to do with helping Kitty and the two other guys retrieve the pods. And I can't blame Bernie for thinking they returned for good.
Joe and Art meet Ruby (Elaine Stritch), a woman who runs the motel they're staying at until they leave. At first I thought Art was gonna have thing for her and cheat on his wife, but then I quickly realize she's gonna be used to be set up with Bernie.
Joe, Art, and Ben stop at Sunny Shores to retrieve Bernie to take him to the beach and as they're leaving, a male nurse tells them to stop and that Bernie's supposed to be in his "rug hooking class." Seriously. Like, why is that mandatory and how would he know where he's supposed to be? Art tells him to take his hands off Bernie and the nurse asks, "Or what?" in a challenging voice and calls him "an old coot". What he doesn't know is that he's messed with the wrong senior citizen! He may be in his 70s, but living in Antarea has rejuvenated him and he is easily able to bodyslam the bigger and younger nurse to the floor. It is hilarious because he literally just assaulted this guy and all the residents around them are applauding. Obviously, nobody likes this bully nurse.
While at the beach, they see some college girls in bikinis frolicking on the beach and Joe tells the other guys that those girls "need some mature male company." Eww. There's a scene of three of the four old men (guess which one isn't participating?) playing keep away with a beachball while the girls are giggling and acting like airheads. I'm sorry, but there's no way a bunch of college girls would be frolicking and giggling with three senior citizen men...unless they were billionaires or something!
Meanwhile, Jack has taken Kitty and the two guys on his boat where they are getting ready to scuba dive to retrieve the cocoons. We get a stupid joke where Jack tells Kitty, "You're my favorite martian." If this joke was used today (which it wouldn't be), it would go over everybody's head. At least people of a certain age. I've heard of My Favorite Martian (a TV sitcom from the mid-60s; I had to look that part up), but I've never seen it.
While the others are scuba-diving, Jack sees a boat from the St. Petersburg Oceanographic Institute and they have captured a cocoon. Ruh-row! Now we are introduced to these characters, but the only one you really need to know is Sara (played by a pre-Friends Courteney Cox). Trust me, I wouldn't have remembered her name if it wasn't the same as mine and probably would have just called her Monica!
At the lab at the Oceanographic Institute, they are taking X-rays of the cocoon and one guy think it's a meteorite, but Sara doesn't think it came from the sky because it doesn't have the markings that would be characteristic of one. In the X-ray, they see a human form. Think a fetus, but an adult version of one. They are literally seeing a human shape in this cocoon and nobody is freaking out. They all seem pretty chill that there's a life form inside this giant rock. Okay, sure.
Oh, and while all this is happening, Jack, Kitty, and the two random dudes have followed them so they know where their friend has been taken so they'll be able to rescue him later. And if you're wondering how the scientist from the Oceanographic Institute were able to find the cocoon so easily, it was because it was knocked out of its hiding space from an earthquake. It's not like they just left them laying around for people to easily find them. Cuz that would just be stupid. Jack is surprised when the aliens decide they're going to rescue their friend in three days. That will be right before their spaceship is set to arrive and take them back home. He tells them by then that they will have cut the cocoon open and start performing experiments on their friend. Hey, he's not totally wrong.
They do eventually cut the pod open and Sara is all smiles at the weird and creepy alien being. It's obviously a human dressed up in some weird prosthetic with a glowing aura, so that just adds to the uncanniness. It is the most terrifying thing and I wouldn't be acting like it's some cute puppy that I discovered. Sara finds out she can communicate with the alien they have named "Phil" (no clue why....was that an alien on My Favorite Martian?) when he makes her watch beep. It beeps constantly and it's the most irritating sound. She finds it charming and cute, but I would find it super annoying and grating. She plays a game with him where they give him cards with shapes on it and she has the same cards and he has to guess what she has and he gets them right, so I guess he's clairvoyant? It honestly goes nowhere so it doesn't matter.
Sara finds out they want to give the alien to the government because they believe "there's a genuine national security issue." Not sure what Phil has done to make them believe that. It's not like he's trying to take over the world and destroying mankind like the aliens in Independence Day! These aliens seem pretty peaceful and just want to lay low.
Kitty and the other aliens know the the cocoon has been opened (I guess they can sense it? IDK! I don't question it!). They think their friend will be okay for a little while (yeah, as long as he doesn't get dissected!), but if he doesn't get an "infusion of life force soon, he'll weaken quickly."
Ben bonds with his grandson when he sees that Davis is not very good at baseball (he plays on a a team and his other teammates make fun of him for how much he sucks) and helps him with his batting skills. It's a good thing David has his grandparents to look after him since his mom is God knows where. Ben and Mary discuss how they're getting older on Earth (what the eff? They're only there for four days, so it's not like they're getting that much older! I'm sure four days isn't going to put a dent in the aging process, good Lord!), but they're happy to be back to spend some quality time with their grandson (but apparently not their daughter!)
Since the senior citizens are only on the planet for a few days, they are keen on getting down to boogie! Maybe they don't have social events like this on Antarea. Who knows. We barely hear anything about this mysterious planet except that you never get sick or age. The three couples are out dancing while Bernie is sitting at a table by himself. Ha, out of all these old people, I'm totally the Bernie of the group. His friends join him and Art tells him, "I see something that will get his juices flowing" and we see that he's looking at Ruby who's sitting at the bar. They must have invited her over because the next thing we see is all the old people sitting around the (extremely tiny!) table talking and joking. Ruby tells them, "You are my kind of group. Most people our age are a pain in the ass." Heh, as somebody who works with senior citizens, no comment! (But many of them are lovely!) I love when Bernie deadpans, "Most people our age are dead" and at first they're shocked, but then they start laughing. Bernie proceeds to do a bunch of impressions including Laurel and Hardy, then does a very specific impression which is of "an eagle who just found out his teenage daughter's pregnant." I have to admit, I didn't really get that one, but, weirdly, he did kind of look like an eagle. I was a bit confused why he was doing a comedy routine because it seemed so out of character for Bernie, but after looking up Jack Gilford's Wikipedia page, it made sense because he started his career doing impressions and I'm sure Laurel and Hardy and an eagle were just some that he did!
Ruby tells Bernie that he's adorable and gives him a kiss on the lips. Wow, she's certainly forward! Bernie doesn't like that and I can't blame him. He tells her he's a married man and she's confused because his friend had told her that he was single. Let's just say the evening does not end well for either one of them.
While writing this review, it's only now I'm realizing just how much stuff is crammed in this movie and these old people are sure doing a lot in the few days they're visiting Earth! I mean, I get it, they want to try to get as much done as they can before they go back to their home on an entirely different planet and who knows what you can do on Earth that you can't do on Antarea.
Alma is walking through a park near the beach when she sees a little girl bump her head on the playground equipment. The girl starts crying so Alma goes over to the woman who's trying to comfort the girl (at first I assumed she was the girl's mother, but I think she just ran the playgroup the girl was a part of) and asks if she can help. She then proceeds to cover the girl's head with her hands and a glowing light appears and the girl stops crying. The woman asks Alma to watch the rest of the children while she takes the girl to the first aid station. I love how this woman just leaves the rest of the children with this elderly woman she just met. Yes, Jessica Tandy has the friendliest and kindest face in the world, but she's a 75-year-old woman who probably won't be able to chase after a child if one decides to run away.
The only time we learn anything remotely about Antarea is when Alma has gathered the children around the swing set and is telling them a "story" about the planet. We learn that they can float there and there are three pale pink moons. Also, apparently there's no ice cream? What kind of hell hole is this?
Later that day, Alma tells her husband that she's been offered a job by the woman who runs a preschool for foster children. First of all, why is this woman offering a 75-year old a job? And I know the woman doesn't know it, but Alma and Joe are leaving in two days anyway. Joe points this out and Alma replies she wanted the fantasy of getting a job offer to last a little longer. I don't know, but when I'm 75, I doubt I would call getting a job offer a "fantasy".
The game starts and Bernie is just standing there. After one of the older men make their second basket, one of the young guys says, "No more charity, now we're gonna play." Okay, I can see him saying that if the older guys had made five or six baskets, but you're getting scared because they made two baskets? And you're seven baskets ahead of them? Really? In hindsight, I guess they should have been worried, but it seems a little premature to get worried about it now.
Ben calls a time out after the older guys are beating them nine to two and Joe and Art huddle with him. I love that Bernie is not even involved because he could care less. Ben tells his friends it's time they show them "what they learned" and this is when all play basketball like they're Michael Jordan....why they didn't do this from the beginning, you got me. There's even one ridiculous moment where Joe makes a basket and he's literally floating in the air (due to awful special effects) and none of the younger guys even question this at all. They must have seen it! Somebody other than the Antarean residents must have seen that because a few people have gathered around the court, outside the fence and are cheering the old geezers on. There is this hilarious moment where they two twelve year old on bike give each other a high five and it's so dorky. It was so hilariously bad that I had to share it with you:
Ruby and Jack go on a second date and everything seems to be going pretty well (he tell her he thinks she's pretty and they kiss) until they're dancing and he thinks he see his wife. Ruby tells him his wife is dead and he's alive and that he's using his wife as "an excuse so [he doesn't] have to go on living." It is a little amusing because Ruby and Jack's first wife, Rose are just so different. Let me give you a side by side comparison:
Now we get the most ridiculous and stupidest scene of the movie when Kitty "shows" Jack his future when he's bemoaning he'll never find anyone to share his life with. And the worst part is that this scene is supposed to be taken seriously! In any other movie, this would have been seen as satirical. Kitty tells Jack to close his eyes and places her hand on his forehead and this allows her to show him his future. Um, okay, this is a new development with these Antarean aliens, but never mind that! Jack's "current self" is walking by a lake and he's either wearing pajamas or leisure wear....I don't know what he's wearing, but his shirt is unbuttoned. He comes across a large house that's painted white (I can't just type "White House" because it literally just capitalizes it....yeah, like that) with black shutters and pillars. He sees two young girls with a maid/nanny in the front yard (where an old fancy car is parked....I don't know my cars, but I'm sure it's expensive). The girls looks like extras from Mary Poppins, dressed in sailor dresses and large brimmed hats with ribbons that tie around their chins. Like, what century are we in? We see a woman dressed in a matching dress and hat come out the front door. You can't see her face because it's hidden by the hat, but it's so obvious it's Courteney Cox. After all, she's the only other woman in the movie that's Jack's age aside from Kitty, but we know Jack can't have a future with Kitty because a) she's an alien, b) she lives on an entirely different planet, and c), she's an alien! The "mystery" woman brushes her hair back and we see she has a birthmark in the shape of a heart on her neck, behind her ear.
I though the outfit Jack is wearing just strolling about is ridiculous, but then the front door opens and he sees his future self (and keep in mind the is probably only a few years in the future) walk out looking absolutely ridiculous in a navy blue suit jacket and yellow tie and white pants and he's smoking a pipe (wonder what's in that pipe?). He hugs the girls, then the woman. It's so obvious that this is his family in the near future. Either Sara makes a good living as a scientist or he got a better job because I don't know how he's affording all these things.
It's the last day of the senior citizen's field trip to Earth and they have found out about Phil, so they tell Kitty that they'll help her get her friend back since the Antareans have given them so much and they want to help. She tells them that the spaceship will meet them at the rendezvous point at midnight and if they have any "unfinished business" today is the day to do it. Duh, Kitty, they only have one last day on Earth. Also, why are they only visiting for four days? This is so stupid. And....I STILL DON'T KNOW WHY THEY CAME BACK IN THE FIRST PLACE! It sure damn well wasn't to rescue their friend because at that point they didn't even know there would be any rescuing to do! This movie literally makes zero sense. They still haven't told Bernie that they're not staying and Art tells the others they need to tell him, but he conveniently overheard everything and now he's mad.
Apparently Alma took the job at the day care because we see her playing kickball with the kids and the ball goes into the street. (Why are they letting young children play by a busy street?) A stupid young boy chases the ball and Alma runs after him. Of course, she saves the boy from getting hit by a car and she gets hit instead. She's taken to the hospital where the doctor tells Joe that she won't make it through the night. Remember when Alma healed that young girl's bruised head with her glowing powers? Well, Joe uses his powers to heal his wife. I wonder why he couldn't do the same for himself. Maybe it only works on exterior body ailments or he ran out of power. She wakes up and tells him she dreamed something was pulling her further and further away but he wouldn't let her go. Joe is the one that ends up dying because of his cancer. I figured one of our older characters was going to die when they retuned to Earth.
After Joe has died, Ben and Art are walking on the beach. Art says, "We never should have come back. If we stayed put, this never would have happened." Duh, you think? Also, his line should have been, "We never should have made this movie."!
Before his grandparents leave, David gifts his grandfather with a baseball that he has written "I love you, Grandpa" on it. Even if I didn't already know that his grandparents would end up staying, I feel pretty confident that I would have correctly predicted it. We get this scene, plus the other scenes where Mary keeps telling her husband how much stuff they're missing by not being on the same planet as their daughter and grandson. I also love that we still haven't seen David's mother since she fainted. I just picture her still being unconscious by the front door.
So Ben and Art go to the science facility to help Kitty and Jack rescue Phil while the other women are....doing something. I honestly don't remember. I won't bore you with there details, but it consists of Kitty changing into her alien form. Actually, I don't really remember, but the rescue operation is successful and Sara sees them running away with the alien and she yells at them to stop, but Ben tells her that this is their friend and they're taking him home so she just lets them go. This place has the worst security ever. Oh, and David was there to help them because apparently he was able to sneak in the trunk of his grandparents' car without them noticing and this isn't revealed to the audience until we see him get out of the trunk. I love how his grandfather isn't even that surprised when he sees David at the facility, he just tells him to hold the door open for him.
So now everyone is at the boat which is where the spaceship will pick them up (just like in the first movie). Ben thanks David for his help and tells him after all that, hitting a baseball should be easy? Huh? He literally just held a door open....how is that like hitting a baseball? David tells him he wishes he could be there to see his games and without any fanfare, his grandfather replies, "We will be" and his wife starts crying (from happiness, I hope). Seriously, if I were Mary, I would be a little peeved. She has been telling him all this time that they should stay and he's like no, no, no, but then when he decides they should stay, they stay. What the hell? Actually, I thought Bernie and Ruby might take their place, but it wouldn't be in Bernie's character to go so I'm glad that prediction didn't come true. Alma is also staying so she can continue to work at the day care, but I think she's staying only because her husband died and it would be too painful to live an eternality without him. But that's just my analyzation.
So this means that Art and Bess are the only humans going back. What is the point of that if all their friends are staying on Earth? (And they'll all be in the same area on Earth!) Yeah, I know they're also friends with the aliens, but it's not the same. Oh, wait, I forgot other residents from Sunny Shores also went on the spaceship in the first movie, so I guess there are other humans there as well. I wonder if this is why they made Bess pregnant so they could have them raise their child on a different planet even though we will never see a second of this.
This is when we see Walter, the main alien from the first movie, make a quick appearance to say a quick goodbye to everyone who's not coming back.
It's at this point I'm wondering when are we going to see any interaction between Jack and Sara. After all, they're supposed to end up with each other and so far they haven't had any screen time together. The movie ends with Jack on his boat at night and Sara comes up and asks for some gas. She asks him because his boat was the only light she saw. Jack tells her he can give her a lift to gas station which is down the way and she agrees. Uh....this is a great way to get murdered! A pretty, young woman accepts a ride from a random stranger in the dark of night. Yep, that's going to end well. (I listen to too many true crime podcasts).Well, actually it does end well because if Kitty's promotions are right, they end up happily married and rich with two daughters. Or maybe she'll end up in New York, live in an extremely large apartment, change her name to Monica and become a chef and get married to another guy. Haha, a little Friends humor there. Oh, and this is when it's "revealed" to Jack and audience that Sara is the "mystery" woman with the heart-shaped birth mark. What a shock! It sure would have been nice to see those two meet in a previous scene and then we could have seen their relationship form instead of this random scene that felt more like an after thought.
While the credits roll, we see clips of the first movie. It feels like they're trying to tell us that we just watched this movie because we loved the first movie so much, which is true, but it also reminds me of how much better the first movie is. Do yourself a favor and skip this movie and watch the first one!