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  Blue Lagoon, The Island Girl
Year: 1980
Director: Randal Kleiser
Stars: Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins, Leo McKern, William Daniels, Elva Josephson, Glenn Kohan, Alan Hopgood, Gus Mercurio, Jeffrey Kleiser, Bradley Price, Chad Timmerman, Gert Jacoby, Alex Hamilton, Richard Evanson
Genre: Romance, Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Little Emmeline (Elva Josephson) and Richard (Glenn Kohan) are two friends travelling aboard a ship on the Pacific Ocean, bound for San Francisco. Accompanying and looking after them is Richard's father (William Daniels), who frets about the two getting too close to the side, but he will have more than that to worry about soon as the ship catches fire. The children are scooped up by one of the sailors, Paddy (Leo McKern) and deposited in a lifeboat, but all three of them are separated from the other crew and passengers as they drift on...

Films about shipwreck survivors aren't all that great are they? After your Robinson Crusoe adaptations, few of which are much good, they're just a catalogue of island paradises and isolated characters, meaning that they have to have a large dose of personality to sustain the interest - even Cast Away with Tom Hanks was underwhelming after a while. So for this, the third adaptation of Henry De Vere Stacpoole novel after the previous British twenties and forties versions, something had to be added to the mix to make it stick in the mind.

Or stick in the craw, perhaps. It may be difficult to recall now, but there was a brief time when Brooke Shields was a headline-grabbing sensation, yet looking back at the films she made off her success there were damn few that weren't pretty awful. Sadly, The Blue Lagoon wasn't as unintentionally hilarious as Endless Love, as what really made it distinctive was the way it turned the fairy-tale like qualities of the original into what was essentially a sex education lesson for teens.

For this reason, the film still has a following today of people who saw it at a significant point in their development, but for those whom the film's appeal passed by, it was less likely to send them into nostalgic rhapsodising and more likely to make their skin crawl. Once the trio make it to that tropical island, you'll note the movie is almost a thirdway over before Brooke and permed Christopher Atkins show up, and then only after Paddy has kicked the bucket, an apparent allergic reaction to dressing up in women's clothing. By this time they have settled in and largely accepted that it may be some time before they will ever see civilisation again, if at all.

The main problem is that for much of the film the viewer is trapped in the company of two sulky teens. Well, to be more accurate, one sulky teen in particular, and that's Richard who is played with the obnoxiousness turned up to eleven by Atkins. "Leave her alone," is the only reasonable reaction to his pursuit of the naive and colourless Brooke as he pouts, whines and poses on the way to the couple becoming young parents. Meanwhile, we're treated to about a billion montages of the unconvincing stars (or their body doubles) swimming in the azure seas, accompanied by shots of various flora and fauna. Granted, the scenery is spectacular, but nothing else is, leaving those less inclined to sentimentality regarding the production as facile at best. Highlight: Brooke hitting Atkins on the head with a coconut. Music by Basil Poledouris.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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