Blue Lagoon – Blu-Ray Review

Blue Lagoon is undeniably absolute trash, but it did capture the zeitgeist for some reason back when it came out in 1980. It was Randal Kleiser’s follow-up to Grease, which of course was a massive hit in 1978, and somewhat rightfully as it was a charming musical with two then-young leads who had obvious chemistry. The same can’t be said for Blue Lagoon, even though it made Brooke Shields an international sensation.

It’s about two kids who get stranded on an island in the South Pacific. They aren’t siblings, sadly, so no inbred mutant babies occurred—that would’ve made it a bit more sufferable. They are at first joined by Paddy, who is a drunken sailor. But given that his name is Paddy and he is Irish, he dies in a drunken binge, as you do. They then have to fend for themselves, and eventually fall in love and mate. Brooke Shields eventually gives birth in a scene that rivals the film’s earlier first-period scene in the ludicrousness sweepstakes.

The film is mostly remembered for Brooke Shields and the controversy that surrounded the film. She was underage and you can kind of see her breasts! In reality, it was mostly stunt doubles who were of legal age, but when it was little Brooke they glued her hair to her chest to hide her breasts, which must have been torture to get off. Child abuse in fact! Brook’s career took a nosedive through the ’80s and ’90s, but she is in Freeway, which is one of the most crazed films of the ’90s and has the greatest on-screen paedophile in the guise of Keifer Sutherland’s Big Bad Wolf, but I think I’m digressing. Shields, a child model with an over-involved stage mother, was already notorious for her first film role, as a pre-pubescent prostitute in Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby.

The male actor was Christopher Atkins, who nobody remembers as he did nothing of note. He is the kind of actor who would go on the convention circuit if anybody actually vaguely remembered who he was. He has actually done conventions, but it’s super-small ones, and he probably gets $5 for his autograph. I would give him $5 just out of pity.

Overall, it’s a strange film. It’s too “sexy” for kids, but too childish for teenagers and adults (well, except if you’re a paedophile). It has some nice shots of the South Pacific, but then again, it was filmed in locations where it would be kind hard not to get beautiful scenery if you turn your camera on. It clearly wanted to be a commercial Walkabout, but lacks any of that film’s weirdness or meaning.

The disc has some extra features, with two separate commentaries with Randal Kleiser with the film’s different stars. They must really hate each other if Brooke and Chris can’t be in the same room together! Some scratched, old making-of featurette, the trailer, and the isolated score round off the package


Ian Schultz

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