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Case Number 25097: Small Claims Court

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The Blue Lagoon (Blu-ray)

Twilight Time // 1980 // 105 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 10th, 2013

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle spends many of his days in nothing but a loin cloth.

Editor's Note

Our review of The Blue Lagoon / Return To The Blue Lagoon, published March 18th, 2005, is also available.

The Charge

Love, tropical style.

The Case

During the Victorian age, young cousins Richard and Emmeline (played by child actors Elva Josephson and Glenn Kohan) are traveling on the open sea with Richard's father (William Daniels, Boy Meets World) when the ship suddenly catches fire and sinks. In the commotion, Richard and Emmeline end up on a small life boat with the ship's sloppy cook, Paddy (Leo McKern, Ladyhawke), the three washing up on a remote desert island where they must learn to adapt to a simpler way of life. Paddy teaches the children how to cook, build a house, tie knots, and make it on their own, before he gets drunk on a barrel or rum, takes a swim, and kills himself. The children apparently find enough food and shelter to survive, growing into Brooke Shields (Brenda Starr) and Christopher Atkins (The Pirate Movie). Now in their adolescent years, Richard and Emmeline discover budding sexualities, and confusion turns to love as they discover it's pretty easy to bump uglies in the moonlight. Will these two lovers be able to handle their passion? Will they ever get off the island? Can you catch herpes in the sand?

The Blue Lagoon is essentially mainstream soft-core porn. Under the guise of an artful romance, this a movie about two kids stranded on an island who grow up, argue, discover they have tingling sensations in new and strange places, then start humping each other's brains out (don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger). Visually, the film is striking. Spanish cinematographer Néstor Almendros (Kramer vs. Kramer) composes the island with stunning beauty and clarity, making the movie worth a viewing just for its awesome visuals. The land and seascapes are picturesque, when not bookended by Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins "getting jiggy with it". I imagine the film was intended to be a dramatic, life affirming rumination on sexual awakening. Instead it comes off as a sort of creepy, disturbingly erotic tale of two kids learning what their 'ding-dongs' and 'va-jay-jays' were made for.

The acting talent on display here is not only laughable but quite possibly illegal. Maybe it's just me, but isn't having a 17-year old show his genitals on screen considered child pornography? I know Brooke Shields had a body double for her scenes, but still—the idea that we're supposed to be seeing a 14-year old's breasts makes me feel like I need to bath in the holy light of a Disney movie. In any case, Shields reads her lines as if a prop guy is holding the script just a few feet out of frame. The most impressive feat she pulls off in this film is keeping her long locks strategically covering her breasts. Christopher Atkins, God bless his heart and jangling dingle-berries, gives Richard so many mood swings he comes off as a bi-polar adult film star. This whiny brat is prone to fits of anger and screaming, like he's channeling Elton John's personality circa 1978.

Twilight Time presents this Columbia Tristar release in 1.85:1/1080p high definition widescreen and the picture quality is gorgeous. While the transfer has its fair amount of film grain, it feels natural and never obtrusive. The colors pop and the black levels are solidly rendered. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track provides some very nice moments, including lapping waves and squawking parrots coming through both the front and rear speakers. This isn't an overly aggressive mix, but it works very well for the film and composer Basil Poledouris' lush score.

Bonus features include Poledouris' isolated score, two commentaries—one by director Randal Kleiser, screenwriter Douglas Day Stewart, and Brooke Shields; a second by Kleiser and actor Christopher Atkins—a vintage making of featurette ("An Adventure in Filmmaking: The Making of The Blue Lagoon"), a theatrical trailer, and three teaser trailers.

Note: This Blu-ray has been issued to a limited run of only 3,000 copies by Twilight Time. Visit ScreenArchives.com for more details.

The Blue Lagoon is one of those films where writing a review seems pointless. There's hardly any story to be found, and what plot/subplots there are get short changed (there are natives on the other side of the island, but the film hardly utilizes them until the very end) or just dead ended (two words: the baby). In the end, we're left with beautiful scenery, wooden acting, a plot thinner than tissue paper, and people continually making love on the beach. Add a couple of strawberry daiquiris and a breakfast buffet and you've got yourself the sexiest all-inclusive travelogue ever.

The Verdict

Guilty. This one sinks far more than it swims.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Twilight Time
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
Audio Formats:
• DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 1980
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Adventure
• Blu-ray
• Drama
• Romance

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentaries
• Featurette
• Isolated Score
• Trailers


• IMDb

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