Film review: Return to the Blue Lagoon

Published: Saturday, Aug. 10 1991 12:00 a.m. MDT

My first reaction when I read about "Return to the Blue Lagoon" was, "Why?"

But, being the fair-minded critic that I am, I approached this movie with an open mind. However, it was shut again in the first 15 minutes.

If you remember "The Blue Lagoon" (the 1980 version, not the 1949 original) you may recall that at the end of that movie the principal characters, played by Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, died in a boat on the ocean. Their 2-year-old son Richard, however, survived to be rescued by a passing ship.

The sequel begins at this moment, as the ship picks up the boy and puts him in the care of a passenger named Sarah (Lisa Pelikan), the widow of a minister who has an infant daughter named Lilli.

But — wouldn't you know it? — the crew gets cholera, so Sarah and the two children are put adrift. Fortunately, they make their way to an island. Even more fortunately, it happens to be the very island where Shields and Atkins lived.

That makes less work for Sarah, since the old hut, complete with beds, is still standing. Her toughest chore seems to be education, especially a moment when she tries to teach the kids about S-E-X!

But it isn't too long before Sarah goes out into the pouring rain and catches her death of cold — death being the operative word.

So, coincidence of coincidences, Lilli and Richard are left on the island to grow up alone. And when they reach adolescence (now played by 15-year-old model Milla Jovovich and 19-year-old actor Brian Krause), they discover their sexuality and the girl becomes pregnant.

Where have I seen this story before?

Meanwhile, there are cannibals lurking in the background, though they never really have any impact. There's also a shark in the reef that chases after Richard from time to time, allowing for some references to "Jaws."

Eventually, a British ship arrives on the scene, and the captain's daughter attempts to seduce Richard while a wild-eyed sailor attempts to rape Lilli. Richard retains his fidelity, however, and saves Lilli by leading the sailor on a chase to meet his friend the shark.

I realize I've approached all of this rather frivolously, and it is one of the silliest movies of the year. But I don't mean to make light of an obviously salacious element here: Producer-director William A. Graham has made a movie that seems to leer at his primary subjects, especially Jovovich, who has a nude scene and a wet T-shirt scene, among others, that are clearly here for no purpose other than ogling.

This is a 15-year-old girl, after all, in a movie rated PG-13, which means children can get into the theater at will. That seems to make the entire enterprise rather ill-advised, if not downright irrespons-ible.

How do movies like this get made? How can the people in charge of Columbia Pictures green-light millions of dollars for a picture like this? And will anyone really want to see it? (From the early box-office receipts, apparently not.)

But, why ask why?

Just say no.

"Return to the Blue Lagoon" is rated PG-13 for violence, nudity, sex and some vulgar sex talk.

P.S. And a suggestion: If there is to be a "Blue Lagoon III," how about letting the guys who made "The Naked Gun" and "Hot Shots!" do it?

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