Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

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Released 23-Apr-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Blue Lagoon
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 97:44
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By William A Graham
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Milla Jovovich
Brian Krause
Lisa Pelikan
Case ?
RPI ? Music Basil Poledouris


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Dutch
Arabic
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

I saw the original The Blue Lagoon in the cinema, but I didn't get to see Return to Blue Lagoon there it didn't seem to be in the cinemas very long. There's a reason: it's a pale imitation of the original.

The first Blue Lagoon was daring and a bit controversial. It showed two children growing up without adults in their lives, growing up without inhibitions, without guidance, and learning some fundamental truths without help. It dared to show full-frontal nudity (carefully!) because that seemed natural. It had the courage to confront things like child birth for child-adults who had no idea of what was going on. That's some of what makes it a classic film, one which holds up even today.

This film, for all that it is a sequel, comes across as a revisionist attempt to "clean up" the original. It starts where the previous film left off, with a small boat being seen by a sailing vessel. Unlike the end of the previous film, where all three occupants of the boat are pronounced alive, in this film the parents are dead, and only the child survives. He is taken aboard the sailing vessel and entrusted to the care of a recently widowed woman who has an infant daughter. The woman, Sarah Hargreaves (Lisa Pelikan), and the two children, are cast adrift in a lifeboat a short while later because the ship is infected with cholera (a virtual death sentence for all aboard) they are cast adrift in the hope they may survive. By pure happenstance (alright, by a piece of not-very-clever script-writing) they happen to arrive at an island that is supposed to look awfully familiar.

This time the children grow up with Sarah to teach them right and wrong, and all about God (she was a missionary), and so forth (all the things that were "wrong" in the first version). Eventually Sarah contracts pneumonia and dies, but not before she has time to explain how she'd like to be buried. Time passes and we get to see the new teenagers, Lilli (Milla Jovovich) and Richard (Brian Krause best known as Leo in the TV show Charmed) doing the same sorts of things as we saw in the first film.

There's a lot less nudity in this film (well, clearly, that was a flaw in the original, right?), although Milla's breasts do get a little screen time. They do some swimming, but always in loin-cloths. It feels like they are being a bit coy, compared to the first film, especially when it comes to the birth of the child, but also with regard to the cannibals. Yet they wanted to repeat the things they liked from the first film. Perhaps the most irritating duplications were the water slide and sea turtle sequences.

The commentary on the first film pointed out that the overarm (or Australian Crawl) swimming stroke was not invented at the time the film is set, so it's anachronistic to see Richard using it in this film. It's not the only error they state that 12 full moons make a year, which is wrong 13 full moons is much closer.

They do try one new element: a confrontation between the teenagers and a party from a passing sailing vessel. This is probably the weakest part of an already weak film. And the way it leads up to the ending, hmm...

All in all, I cannot recommend this poor-quality remake. Buy the original, certainly, but leave this one sitting on the shelf. Perhaps the one good reason to watch this film is as an object lesson, to see what the original film could have been like, had the makers not taken the risks that they did.

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Transfer Quality

Video

This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The original was presumably 1.85:1, but I haven't any definitive reference to say so.

The image is not the sharpest transfer ever, but it is fairly sharp, with decent but limited shadow detail things do drop off into black rather faster than is desirable. There's no low-level noise, but there's a lot of grain on some scenes in low light for example, at 1:44, during the credits, the grain is quite strong.

Colour is fairly bright, but often looks just a touch less than fully-saturated. There are no colour-related artefacts.

There are numerous film artefacts in this transfer, but they are never troubling.

There is very little aliasing, no real moire. There's a touch of shimmer every so often, but you have to look for it. There are no other MPEG artefacts.

There are subtitles in sixteen languages, including English. I watched the English subtitles, and they are as accurate as usual, well-timed, and easy to read.

The disc is single-sided, single layered. That means no layer change, and there's not enough material on this disc to stretch the single layer.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The soundtrack is provided in English, French, and German, all in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192kbps, with the English and French surround-encoded.

The dialogue is easy enough to understand. There are no audio sync problems.

Basil Poledouris is responsible for this score, just as he was for the score on the first film. This one is nothing special, but it is acceptable.

It's a surround-encoded soundtrack, but you'd never guess it. There's nothing directed to the surround speakers. Nothing is sent to the subwoofer, but your amplifier's bass management may direct some signal to it.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

The menu is static and silent, and quite simple. Although the film is 16x9 enhanced, the menu isn't.

Trailers

We get two trailers:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 1 disc was released fairly recently. It has a different selection of languages from the Region 4 disc, but the real difference between the two is that the Region 1 disc is full-screen (might be pan-and-scan, might be open-matte I have no definitive information either way), while the Region 4 is wide-screen. That makes the Region 4 disc definitely the preferable version, because it's closer to the original aspect ratio.

Summary

An imitation of the original that comes up very short, but which looks pretty good on DVD.

The video quality is very good.

The audio quality is quite good.

The extras are basic.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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