Three elderly residents at a retirement home, in the habit of taking a secretive dip in a nearby private indoor swimming pool find mysterious large objects have appeared on the floor of the pool.
Following their usual dip they are pleasantly surprised to discover that some sort of rejuvenation of the aging process is taking place and start to get a bit 'frisky' -but not everyone is pleased by this discovery, especially the group of benevolent aliens, masquerading as humans, who have placed the valuable pods in the pool.
Delightful Sci-fi tale told with charm and feeling - no laser-zapping aliens to be seen here - and what a pleasant change that makes! And what a pleasant change it is to find a contemporary film that does not pander to the myth that if you are over 25 you are ancient history!
Though ancient history does lay at the heart of this film, for the objects deposited in the swimming pool are alien beings many thousands of years old - volunteer rear guards who bravely stayed behind on Earth when their base at Atlantis was destroyed, the rest of the base making its escape and returning to their home planet of Antaris.
Now aeons later the aliens who escaped have returned to Earth to rescue and resuscitate their brave companions. The extraterrestrials engage the unsuspecting (and hard-up) young skipper (Steve Guttenberg) of a powerboat to help retrieve the pods from the ocean bed where they have remained undetected all these years, simply telling him the pods are giant sea snails.
He gets a big shock when he fiddles with some of their equipment but a much bigger shock is to come one night while spying on the beautiful female member of the team who he fancies - she pulls off her human disguise and he sees her in a quite different light glowing brightly in fact.
Meanwhile the rejuvenation story has spread like wildfire through the retirement home and the pool is subject to mass invasion. During this melee the power that sustained the pods is diminished and then extinguished resulting in the death of two of the containers occupants.
The saddened aliens, with the help of our aged trio and their wives and friends return the remaining containers to the sea bed to be collected some time in the future by another expedition.
The E.T.'s leave Earth but offer to take thirty of the rest home occupants with them - with eternal life guaranteed for all. Interwoven into all this is a rather mawkish plot of one of the trio and his young grandson, director Ron Howard of "Splash" (not "Slash" as mentioned in the last Derann newsletter!) fame etc very nearly goes OTT with this strand. Fortunately this does not seriously weaken this otherwise extremely enjoyable film, filled with good humour and excellent special effects, the best of which are kept to the very end, and a cracking good musical score by James Horner.
The print has good if slightly variable definition and colour. There is the odd mark on the master and some negative dust too - but nothing serious.
The stereo-sound version was reviewed and this had good, if at times slightly distorted sound, due to a heavily over-recorded track: this was a check print so the bulk prints hopefully should be ok and recorded at the correct level.
The stereo separation was good on the music and there appeared to be some (limited) surround sound present for those of you who have suitable decoders.
Not a particularly outstanding print but one that nevertheless is pretty good (perhaps these days we've come to expect everything particularly recent releases, not to be just good but exceptional).
The film itself is very highly recommended. Don Ameche won the Academy Award for best supporting actor. Other members of the distinguished cast are Brian Dennehy, Wilfred Brimley, Maureen Stapleton and Jessica Tandy.
Print A Sound A Keith Wilton