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William A. Graham
Milla Jovovich, Brian Krause
Writing Credits:
Henry De Vere Stacpoole (novel), Leslie Stevens

Return to the Romance. Return to the Adventure. Synopsis:
Two young children are swept up on a desert island after a shipwreck. The film follows them as they grow up and mature, without the intervention of adults.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$2.807 million.

Rated R

Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby 2.0
Portuguese Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $19.94
Release Date: 2/1/2005

Double Feature with The Blue Lagoon.

• Trailers


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Return To The Blue Lagoon: Double Feature Edition (1991)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 21, 2005)

Since I intensely disliked 1980’s The Blue Lagoon, did it make sense for me to watch its sequel, 1991’s Return to the Blue Lagoon? Probably not. Why’d I do so? I dunno - masochism?

Whatever the case may be, I indeed decided to give Return a shot to see if it lived up - or down, as it were - to the low standards set by its predecessor. Starting in 1897, Return picks up right where the original flick ended, as a ship comes upon the dinghy that possesses a man, a woman, and a little kid (Jackson Barton). The latter lives, but the parents are dead. The folks on the boat take the boy on with them.

Cholera affects the crew, and they need to find a place to stop soon. Nothing looks promising, so the captain decides to set the sole female inhabitant, widowed Mrs. Sarah Hargrave (Lisa Pelikan), adrift with crewmember Kearney (Wayne Pygram). They’ll also take her baby (Emma James) and the orphaned boy to find the place from which the little boat came.

The foursome sets out and things quickly look unpromising. The unpleasant Kearny thinks they should sacrifice the kids to conserve resources, and when he attempts to toss them overboard, Sarah kills him with a spear to the back.

After a few more days, the trio happens upon an island that they get to despite some rough seas. Eventually they take residence in a spot that looks awfully familiar to little Richard. (Heck, in the movie’s chronology, the characters from the first flick just left there a couple of weeks earlier.) Sarah, Richard and baby Lilli try to make do as best they can in this island paradise all while they hope for rescue.

That doesn’t occur anytime soon, and the movie jumps ahead about seven or eight years. Illness strikes Sarah, and she eventually dies. This leaves the kids to fend for themselves.

From there we leap ahead a few more years to find teenage versions of Richard (Brian Krause) and Lilli (Milla Jovovich). We watch them as they deal with life on their own and their budding sexuality. Eventually a ship arrives at their island, and they have to deal with whether they want to stay or go.

As I watched Return, I experienced a serious case of déjà vu. For the movie’s first two-thirds, it blatantly replicates the original flick. The filmmakers go out of their way to remake the first one. Sure, lots of sequels essentially tell the same tale, but I can’t think of any that so slavishly recreate the prior effort. At times, Return offers a virtual shot-by-shot remake.

The film’s third act does veer onto its own path, but don’t expect those sequences to make it any more interesting. I’m glad that Return eventually makes this token gesture to become its own flick, but it’s too little, too late. These elements steer Return even more into the category of cheesy melodrama and add little else.

As I noted in my review of The Blue Lagoon, that movie suffered from a thin story and weak acting. I think it earned notoriety largely due to the jailbait thrill of the young stars. Back in 1980, Brooke Shields’ precocious charms made her a sensation, and folks flocked to Lagoon to see the semi-taboo results.

The same acting and script problems mar the sequel, but it lacks even the minor sexual charge of the first film. 25 years after its initial release, Lagoon doesn’t provoke much of a reaction, but at least I could sort of see its smutty appeal.

The sequel doesn’t even muster that level of excitement. Bizarrely, the filmmakers chose to produce a “PG-13” rated flick, so it offers much less skin and seems significantly tamer. We get a few fleeting shots of Jovovich’s breasts but that’s it. Why remake a movie notorious for its sexuality and completely eliminate that factor?

Return is so shoddy that it can’t even bother to attempt any continuity. At the end of the first film, Richard’s parents apparently remained alive. However, the sequel decides to kill them, a technique it uses solely so it won’t have to deal with those characters. In addition, Return alters the identities of the rescuers, again for no reason other than storytelling convenience. These become tacky alterations that look sloppy.

A pointless sequel to a terrible movie, Return to the Blue Lagoon exists for no reason other than to attempt to make money. It failed. It came out 11 years after the original, which apparently was too long, as Return bombed. Thank God for some small miracles, since that prevented any more Lagoon flicks. This was an atrocious movie with no redeeming qualities.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Return to the Blue Lagoon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. It stinks that the film only comes in this modified aspect ratio, but at least it provided a strong picture otherwise.

Sharpness almost uniformly looked terrific. A couple of wider shots demonstrated minor softness. However, those remained rare, as the movie usually came across with nice clarity and delineation. As one might expect with a fullscreen presentation, some mild jags happened, but no issues with shimmering occurred, and only light edge enhancement became apparent. Very few examples of source flaws popped up during the flick. I saw a couple of specks but that was it, as the rest of the movie looked cleaned.

Just like with the original film, colors offered a highlight. The tropical setting boasted many opportunities for bright, dynamic tones, and the DVD replicated them splendidly. Colors consistently came across as lively and vivid. Blacks were similarly dense and tight, and most low-light shots looked fine. However, Return suffered from the same problem that occasionally marred the first flick: a few dense day-for-night shots. Those looked a little too opaque. Otherwise, this was a solid transfer.

Not much about the Dolby Surround 2.0 mix of Return to the Blue Lagoon impressed me, but the audio appeared fine for this sort of film. Actually, it bore a strong resemblance to the track for the original flick. That one was unusually good for its era. This one’s not particularly special for a movie from 1991, but it’s quite satisfying.

The soundfield mostly focused on the front and largely concentrated on general ambience. It used the side speakers to create a good feeling for the island ambience. Surround usage kicked into action mainly for louder scenes like crashing waves and storms. It broadened the mix acceptably but didn’t do a lot more than that.

Audio quality was solid. Speech consistently came across as crisp and natural, with no edginess or other issues. Music lacked the terrific vivacity heard in the first movie, but the score was more than acceptable as it produced bright and smooth tones. Effects also sounded accurate and reasonably dynamic. No one will accuse this of being a killer soundtrack, but I thought it was perfectly fine for the material.

While the DVD for the original Lagoon included a decent roster of extras, fans of Return won’t get similar pleasure from the release. All we find here is a pair of trailers. We get ads for Return as well as Mr. Deeds

If you hated The Blue Lagoon, will you enjoy its sequel? No - Return to the Blue Lagoon is just as bad a movie and may actually be worse. If you liked The Blue Lagoon, will you enjoy the sequel? No - it does nothing more than remake the original and doesn’t even present the first flick’s tawdry thrills. At least the DVD looks and sounds pretty good, though the modified aspect ratio will clearly bother many folks. The package includes no substantial extras. A mediocre DVD for a bad movie, I can only recommend this to those who adore Milla Jovovich and want to see her earliest film work.

Note: this version of Return to the Blue Lagoon came to me as part of a “double feature” package along with the original movie. It’s also available on its own, and I believe both DVDs are identical; I think that the “double feature” simply pairs the two in one set for a bargain price.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6969 Stars Number of Votes: 33
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