Return to the Blue Lagoon Preview

“Oy, mates!” screams Alligator Steve as he hops down from Bessy and greets Rich and Poe. Apparently, in the scuffle with the gamemasters he also fell through the portal and ended up back in his homeland. “All for the best,” he says with a wink. He watches in amusement as Tiniman’s army moves quickly away through the fire desert. With a slap on the back he invites Rich and Poe back to his village where they partake in some traditional shrimp on the barbie and hear the legend of their giant alligator friends. It’s all very exciting and interesting. “Do you think, Steve,” Poe asks, “that maybe we are supposed to help you win this war? That that’s the purpose of this part of the game?” But Steve isn’t so sure. The gamemasters seemed mighty suspicious of their behavior back at the school. “War is war, mates. You don’t want any part of it. Take Bessie and head out to the islands,” he says pointing to some beautiful tropical islands off the coast. “No will find you there. You will live a beautiful natural life full of natural beauty and wonder. It’ll be a magical time that everyone will be interested in because of how beautiful it is. And perchance you will find love there with the beautiful natural denizens of the island and it will be beautiful and natural and not creepy because how could something so beautiful and natural be creepy, right?” …. right. They try to convince him that they don’t need Bessie, but Steve is insistent that he’ll be alright. There’s a reason they call him Lil’ Bessie, mighty warrior. Just before they leave Rich and Poe look back at Steve one more time and ask hesitantly, “so this definitely isn’t a weird, creepy place, right?” That’s right! We’re watching the double feature of The Blue Lagoon and The Return to the Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields and Milla Jovovich, respectively. Panned at the time by critics for a variety of reasons they’ve mostly been remembered as films about nude young people falling in love on an island… which isn’t a great look. They are both set on an undiscovered island in the Pacific, which was good enough for us. Let’s go!

Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991) – BMeTric: 50.6; Notability: 21 

(Wait, this one also has that same 2012-2014 inflection. Looking through other films it really doesn’t seem that common. Just wait for this theory: The Blue Lagoon: Awakening, the totally unrelated third film made by Lifetime … came out in 2012. So when that came out people went and watched the whole series, and rated the film. That is blowing my mind.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  The two-year-old son of Lagoon 1’s deceased parents is rescued by a ship carrying a widow and her year-old daughter; circumstances (read: cholera) force the trio onto another tropical island, so the kids can eventually partake in PG-13 prurience.

(There are so many amazing things in this review. Calling it “Lagoon 1” with the number 1 is amazing. The semi-colon quickly followed by “read: cholera” … there is just something so charmingly quirky and shrunk down about the entire review. The BOMB designation is shockingly rare, so that’s super fun.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qDaxkLUcTM/

(Hahahahahahahahah it was the first film to explore natural love? More like it was the first film to show 20 minutes of uninterrupted underwater dick shots. Oh gosh, “I’ve become one” they put that in the trailer? Out of innocence comes the most sensual love of all? Yiiiiiiikes. Guys, this one might be a doozy.)

Directors – William A. Graham – (Future BMT: Change of Habit; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Was a prolific television director in the 70s and 80s, getting nominated for an Emmy for a television movie about Jim Jones. Was in the Navy and an avid sailor, which is maybe why he was tapped for this.)

Writers – Henry De Vere Stacpoole (book) – (Future BMT: The Blue Lagoon; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was able to retire after the success of The Blue Lagoon and write fiction full time. He occasionally wrote under the name Tyler De Saix.)

Leslie Stevens (screenplay) – (Known For: The War Lord; The Left Handed Gun; Incubus; Future BMT: Sheena; Gordy; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Sheena; and in 1992 for Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: A Navy brat, he ended up writing for Broadway. Created the late 90s revival of The Outer Limits before dying in 1998.)

Actors – Brian Krause – (Future BMT: Sleepwalkers; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: He starred in the Bandit series of television movies which act as a prequel to Smokey and the Bandit. Cristopher Atkins  (the star of the original Blue Lagoon) was in the first of those films. He played a main role in the series Charmed in the late 90s.)

Milla Jovovich – (Known For: The Fifth Element; Dazed and Confused; Zoolander; Paradise Hills; He Got Game; A Perfect Getaway; Chaplin; Stone; The Claim; Dummy; Future BMT: Future World; Resident Evil: Retribution; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Survivor; Resident Evil: Afterlife; Two Moon Junction; The Fourth Kind; No Good Deed; The Million Dollar Hotel; Resident Evil: Apocalypse; Kuffs; Resident Evil: Extinction; Bringing Up Bobby; Joan of Arc; A Warrior’s Tail; Dirty Girl; Shock and Awe; Resident Evil; BMT: Ultraviolet; Zoolander 2; Hellboy; Return to the Blue Lagoon; The Three Musketeers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2000 for Joan of Arc; and in 2013 for Resident Evil: Retribution; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Fifth Element in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Return to the Blue Lagoon in 1992; Notes: Her daughter Ever Anderson was just cast as Wendy in the new Peter Pan film.)

Lisa Pelikan – (Known For: Circle; Julia; Swing Shift; It’s My Party; Future BMT: Ghoulies; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; BMT: Return to the Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was at one point married to Bruce Davison (the Senator from X-Men), and has going to be a dancer, but a surgery cut her career short and she went into acting.)

Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $2,807,854 (Worldwide: $2,807,854)

(Somehow a huge bomb! I guess back in 1980 people were much more willing to watch a film of this style. And then this one came out and was roughly the same 12 years later … and people just had zero interest.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/30): Despite its lush tropical scenery and attractive leads, Return to the Blue Lagoon is as ridiculous as its predecessor, and lacks the prurience and unintentional laughs that might make it a guilty pleasure.

(A zero percent is really really rare. I think this summary might have missed a bit of the point of why it was universally derided: this is the same as the previous film, but as a big dose of cynicism as it is (at least perceived to be) a cash grab. Reviewer Highlight: The sincere idiocy of this film really has to be seen to be appreciated — not that I think there is any need for you to see, or appreciate, it. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Return to the Creepy Sexy Lagoon

(Much better than the first film’s poster. I like the orange sunset tones and Brian Krause’s face nicely conveys the plot of the film: bad acting. Wish the font was better and maybe this would have jumped past mediocre. B-. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: There we go, I love when I really get to color my face a crazy color. I have to assume there is a way to do this while keeping the whites very whit (like Jovovich’s eyes and teeth) … probably a filter. I think my pale complexion would end up registering as “tooth colored”.)

Tagline(s) – The story of natural love continues… (D)

Alone… wild… untamed… (B+)

(Hahahaha, that second tagline is quite hilarious. There certainly would be some things wild and untamed on that island… I’m talking about their hair… I’m saying they’d be wildly ungroomed… Anyway, the first tagline is stupid. The second one is actually OK… you know, if it actually had anything to do with the chaste, totally not wild love story of this franchise.)

Keyword – tropical island

Top 10: Jurassic Park (1993), Moana (2016), Jurassic World (2015), Cast Away (2000), Serenity (2019), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Beach (2000), Ice Age (2002), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

Future BMT: 39.0 Club Dread (2004), 34.0 Robinson Crusoe (2016), 14.7 The Beach (2000);

BMT: Serenity (2019), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

(Small keyword obviously. The Beach is the big one. BTW you can notice it more here, but yeah, The Blue Lagoon technically doesn’t qualify for BMT because technically there is no confirmation that it was released to 600+ theaters in the US. But it also made like $60 million apparently, so it was definitely a wide release. But it means it won’t show up in any analysis.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Milla Jovovich is No. 1 billed in Return to the Blue Lagoon and No. 1 billed in Ultraviolet, which also stars Cameron Bright (No. 2 billed) who is in Godsend (No. 4 billed), which also stars Rebecca Romijn (No. 2 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 3 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 16. If we were to watch Joan of Arc, Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Milla Jovovich said that this is the worst movie she has ever done.

First starring role of Milla Jovovich.

Milla Jovovich said of this movie, “I think that the idea of falling in love on a deep and spiritual level without the distractions of the material world will always be appealing.”

When she was 13, during her days as a teenage fashion model, Milla Jovovich had been hailed by critics as “The New Brooke Shields .” Shields played Emmeline Lestrange in The Blue Lagoon (1980), to which this film is a sequel.

On Taveuni Island in Fiji, production designer Jon Dowding began work on the movie’s main set pieces 60 days before the cameras began rolling. Having served as the art director on The Blue Lagoon (1980), Dowding welcomed the opportunity to expand and improve upon his work from the earlier film. Both Dowding and his wife, wardrobe designer Aphrodite Kondos, drew extensively upon the cultures of Oceania for the design elements of the film. Dowding said, “In addition to the rich cultural influences of Fiji, Australian aborigines, New Guinea, Micronesia, Melanesia, the Marquesas and Easter Islands, we made every attempt to use raw materials found on Taveuni in the construction of the props, sets and costumes”.

Although it was touted as a sequel to The Blue Lagoon (1980), many reviewers criticized it as more of a remake than a sequel.

Nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards at the 12th annual ceremony in 1991. It was nominated for Worst Picture and Worst Director –both for William A. Graham; Worst Screenplay–Leslie Stevens; and two for Worst New Star–one each for Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause. It didn’t win in any category.

Taveuni in Fiji, the only land mass in the world that the international date line runs through, proved in the end to be a challenging but rewarding filming location of singular beauty. Cast and crew alike traveled countless miles on the island’s only thoroughfare, bouncing along an unpaved dirt road with harrowing curves to reach filming sites. Equipment was hauled in on stretchers through thick jungles and brought in on barges through dangerous coral reefs for some of the less accessible locations.

The novel this film is based on, “The Garden of God” by Henry De Vere Stacpoole , was published in 1925. (Oh … so it is based on a sequel of some sort? I figured it was literally a vague sequel to the adaptation of Stacpoole’s novel)

Final film of director William A. Graham. (… final feature film)

Filmed on Taveuni, one of 300 islands in the Fiji archipelago. With an average of 400 inches of rain a year, Taveuni is usually overgrown with magnificent greenery and is rightly referred to as Fiji’s “Garden Island”.

The production team was concerned about preserving the island’s ecological balance during the making of the movie. When they expressed concerns that a mile-long path that had to be cut through thick jungle vegetation–to get equipment to one of the more difficult locations–might harm the local ecology, the chief of the local village assured them that it would grow back within a matter of months. (That’s pretty cool)

The movie’s opening prologue states: “The South Pacific Ocean 1897. Fifteen years before our story begins, two children were shipwrecked on an uncharted island. The little boy and girl grew up alone in this lost paradise. As man and woman, they discovered a pure and natural love. In time, a child was born. But in a tragic accident, they were driven out to sea away from their island. Drifting for days, they believed that their lives and the life of their baby were at an end. Then a passing vessel drew near . . . “. (Yup that is the original movie)

Despite scenes of nudity and near nudity involving Milla Jovovich, the film was advertised as a “family-friendly” movie. (Gross! I do not enjoy that at all!)

Takes place in 1897 and 1912. (Okay, I wonder if they explicitly indicate that date for when they were rescued in the first film)

With the commencement of filming in June 1990–which is the dead of winter in Fiji–nature began to become a major “player” in the production. Director William A. Graham said, “When we first visited the island in early 1990, the weather was perfect. As soon as we began filming, we quickly learned why Taveuni is called the ‘Garden Island’. It rained for two weeks straight, which would certainly account for the lush tropical foliage.” Despite the adversity of working under less-than-ideal conditions at first, Graham remained undaunted and came out of it with his sense of humor intact: “The reason you have a 70-day shooting schedule on a film like this, as opposed to 40 to 50 days, is that you attempt to anticipate the unpredictability of nature. While we didn’t get the puffy clouds and blue waters everyone expected initially, the island presented us with a whole other kind of beauty. Nature exerted an undeniable force in the making of this movie, which the film journalists will probably give me credit for. I can see it now: William A. Graham wisely avoided the clichéd postcard look of paradise’.”.

While based on the novel sequel, “The Garden of God” the only thing “Return to the Blue Lagoon” shares with that book is the very opening where Richard and Emmeline are dead and the baby is rescued by the crew. In fact, in the novel, Arthur Lestrange himself decides to stay on the island with Baby Paddy (called Dick M) and dies while taking a walk, his body never being found. (That’s morbid)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (William A. Graham, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Leslie Stevens, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Milla Jovovich, 1992)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Krause, 1992)

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