The Blue Lagoon (1980)

30 Jan

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Smith’s Verdict: *

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

Of all of the lame, obnoxious teenage sex movies, I have to give credit to “The Blue Lagoon” for one thing—it is probably the best-looking of the sort. Not only do the central young actors look like they stepped out of magazine covers (and their bodies are fully tanned), but the setting is a tropical island in the South Pacific.

That, and the cinematography is lovely.

And I should give it credit for not taking place in the suburbs, where most of these films take place (to try and give it a realistic, identifiable feel).

But “The Blue Lagoon” is one of the absolute worst. It made my skin crawl. It may have tried something new, but it didn’t impress me and it didn’t make me care—it just made me want to turn the movie off. (And trust me—I really could have turned the DVD off, if I didn’t endure the rest of the movie to review it.)

The film stars Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins as two young, attractive teenagers marooned on a deserted island since they were little. They spend their days fishing, swimming, and playing in their handmade hut. Of course, they have the intelligence of seven-year-olds, which makes their life together difficult once they reach puberty. They experience many changes to their bodies, and they also fall in love with each other. Later in the film, they are naked in the jungle and they experience sexual intercourse.

By the way, am I the only one who simply can’t believe that these dumb kids have lived on this island for years without anything seriously bad happening to them?

And on top of that, isn’t it established early in the film that these two young people are cousins? They either don’t know it, or don’t know just sick their deeds are, being cousins. Either way, it just makes the whole film…icky. And I know that the sex scenes are supposed to be erotic, but all I’m thinking about is whether or not Randal Kleiser was actually intending to create a big-budget teenage porno. Well, probably not. There’s a subplot to make sure of that, and to try and make sure that there is conflict on the island—it’s a mysterious ghost tribe in the middle of the island that the kids are forbidden by their late caretaker (Leo McKern) to go to, and there’s an idol that they praise, which the kids believe is God. What is the purpose of this subplot? To distract us from all the exoticness, or lack thereof? There’s never a resolution; there’s not even a scene where the tribe sees the kids as a threat, or where they put them in danger. They never even meet. Oh, I should also note the distracting shots of the sea turtles having sex. I guess this isn’t a teenage porno after all. But who cares?

The movie really hits a new low when the girl gets pregnant, and she has a baby. They spend long months wondering what is going on inside the girl’s stomach, and why there’s a baby now. They try to feed the baby fresh fruit before discovering the act of breast-feeding.

Also, I have to say that both young actors who take up most of the screen together are equally bland. These kids may be attractive, but they need better acting coaches. And no, this has nothing to do with my resentment towards the decision to see all of Christopher Atkins, and not all of Brooke Shields, since her long hair was so carefully draped to her breasts (even her body double doesn’t bare all).

“The Blue Lagoon” absolutely makes me cringe. It’s a horrid, misguided, irresponsible teenage sex movie…but it looks nice.

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