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Blue Lagoon, The (Blu-ray Review)

13 Jan, 2013 By: John Latchem

Available via www.ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time
$29.95 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R.’
Stars Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins, Leo McKern, William Daniels.

The story of The Blue Lagoon couldn’t be much simpler. Two young children in Victorian times survive a shipwreck, wash up on an island and, when their caretaker dies, are left to fend for themselves with only their resourcefulness and the faintest trappings of civilization. And then they grow up, reach puberty and discover sex, leading the viewer on a voyage of just what it means to do what comes naturally.

Yet there’s a certain rawness to it that has made it a favorite since the original novel was published by Henry De Vere Stacpoole in 1908.

It was first made as a silent film in 1923, and again in 1949 in a Technicolor version with Jean Simmons and Donald Houston, before the racier 1980 version came along that may be the best known. Plus, Sony Pictures recently put out a direct-to-video remake called Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, which set the story in modern times.

Stacpoole actually wrote a series of sequels that has largely been ignored by Hollywood, aside from a few plot elements here and there. Indeed, the 1991 sequel to the 1980 version, Return to the Blue Lagoon, starring Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause, was mostly a watered-down retread of the original.

The primary selling point of Twilight Time’s Blu-ray of the 1980 version, and indeed of the film itself, is the immense beauty of the cinematography. The tropical island landscapes are beautifully rendered here with a transfer that preserves and heightens the idyllic natural beauty of the Fiji island locales where the movie was shot.

Of course, that sense of beauty also extends to the attractive and scantily clad leads, played by Christopher Atkins and a 14-year-old Brooke Shields (whose nude scenes where filmed by a body double).

In addition to the usual Twilight Time bonuses of an isolated music track and Julie Kirgo’s in-depth liner notes, the Blu-ray carries over extras from the 1999 DVD release — a vintage featurette; a commentary with Shields, writer Douglas Day Stewart and director Randal Kleiser; and a commentary with Kleiser and Atkins.

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