Em and Richard are a couple of crazy kids marooned on a tropical island. Fending for themselves they grow up together and eventually (beautifully, magically, truly, madly, and deeply) fall in love and start boning. Will they get rescued and ruin their perfect tropical utopia… uh… before it’s too late? Find out in… The Blue Lagoon.
How?! Em and Richard are on a trip to San Fran to start a new life with Richard’s father (Em’s uncle… just to be clear). Or are they? That’s because the ship catches fire and they are stranded on a deserted tropical island that is somehow not on any maps… which is never explained… like a lot of things in this film. With only the ship’s cook, Paddy, for company they learn to survive and live peacefully on the island until one night when Paddy swims off drunk and turns up dead. Sadly they take the boat and find a secluded blue lagoon to start anew. Growing up together they are pretty rambunctious, but also learning about themselves and life and love and the world and everything and it’s beautiful and natural. Richard is kinda crushing on Em and Em is kinda crushing on Richard, but their love is so natural that they aren’t sure what to do about it. That is until Em is almost killed when she steps on a poisonous fish and Richard nurses her back to health. From that point their natural and beautiful love blossoms all while they contemplate the existence of other people on the island and the concept of rescue from their beautiful love paradise. A short time later things start changing for Em and she ends up having a baby. They happily raise the youngster and everything is beautiful and natural and even when a ship arrives bearing their father/uncle looking for them they look at the ugly, unnatural thing and walk away. Happy to continue their life they go off to another part of the island, but end up drifting away and losing their oars. Cornered by a shark and facing certain death they sadly all eat poisonous berries and wait for sweet relief. A ship eventually arrives and finds them and when they check if they are alive they say yes, but sleeping… but they are probably dead (or are they?). They are. THE END.
Why?! Why do the birds sing? Why do bees make honey? Why are there so many creepy films like this? There just are and this film just is. Em and Richard simply live and through their natural, beautiful lives a natural, beautiful love blossoms and they naturally and beautifully bone. Ya dig?
Who?! It’s occasionally interesting to look at the child actors in a film. But only occasionally, as often they aren’t in much besides the film on hand. Here we have several youngsters portraying younger version of the main cast. Interestingly the young Brooke Shields/Em is portrayed by Elva Josephine who also appeared in a couple other possible BMT films. I say possible because early 80’s films can be tricky to figure out whether they were even poorly reviewed… like is Author! Author! a BMT film? Impossible to tell.
What?! Hard to do anything typical for this section so I’ll just highlight the fact that this film is rife with dropped plot lines. Like there is a whole setup for the tiny island they are on to be occasionally visited by natives of another island in order to pray to a god and perform human sacrifice. This, of course, never comes to any climax. No confrontation. No resolution as to how or why or where these natives are coming from. Nothing. That’s just solid storytelling.
Where?! We ended up determining that this was allowed for the Exotic Setting cycle primarily because Oceania would be quite bare if we didn’t start making up new places for the mapl.de.map. So welcome to the Creepy Sexy Blue Lagoon. It’s located somewhere off of South America in the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy the creepy, sexy fun. B, but only because while the setting is obviously vital, it’s not very specific by design.
When?! Somehow the most interesting part of this film was trying to figure out when this all took place. Patrick did some research and it seemed to line up with sometime in the late 1800’s. Then the second film goes ahead and lets us know that the shipwreck at the beginning of this film takes place in 1882 and covers 15 years from then till 1897. Good to know for my year-by-year film timeline where I try to get film set in every year for all eternity. D-
I guess I expected worse. Is that possible? I thought this would be extremely uncomfortable viewing given the reputation of the film, but it just turned out to be merely boring. It really does serve the stated purpose: chaste, “natural” love of two people who know nothing but the island they grew up on (arguably less than that). Basically the Adam and Eve story down to them eating from forbidden/poisonous fruit at the end. And despite casting a 14-year-old Brooke Shields, you could see all the camera tricks they were using to switch out body doubles for particular scenes. It’s biggest crime is the overall portrayal of love itself, which is so wildly dumb and unrealistic that you wonder if people were insane in the 70’s and 80’s. It’s hard to imagine who this film was for. Certainly not me. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Ooooooooo, Natural Loooooooooooooorve. That’s sung to the same turn as Endless Love. Don’t worry about it. Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – I think these two films have always been on the radar for us. This is somewhat notable as one of the original Razzie films, and for the way they had to film due to Brooke Shields being 14 at the time. This is also technically one of the first non-qualifying BMT films we’ve done in years and years. It doesn’t technically qualify because there is no official record of how many theaters it was released to. Rest assured though, the film allegedly made over $50 million, so there is absolutely no way it wasn’t a wide release if that is true. So we’ve ruled that it counts at BMTHQ, two votes to zero, a unanimous decision. What were my expectations? I mean, I guess I hoped it was going to be merely boring. I feared that it was going to be a super creepy and exploitative film with a half naked 14-year-old model running around.
The Good – If you don’t mind the slow late-60s / early-70s style pacing to the film, then you could probably sustain yourself on the vistas alone. It is a beautiful film no matter how you cut it. I liked some of the characters, like Paddy. And overall the storyline was a fairly realistic version of what they could have done. There is a version of this movie that descends into madness, with cannibal natives and pirates and all kinds of stuff. They resist that and keep the film laser focused on *gulp* … Natural Love.
The Bad – The film is sooooooooo boring. Nothing happens in this film. It is a whole lotta montages, and fishing, and walking through jungles, and rowing. A bunch of animal reaction shots and vistas. That’s it. The two leads are awful, although Shields could be forgiven, and by all accounts became a serviceable actress in the 90s. The Natural Love story ages extremely poorly … there was a time when things like this and Endless Love and other films show you some weirdo version of “young love” and I just don’t get it. It could not come across as creepier. Ultimately the film is merely okay (if boring) and then just craps out right in the end when they just … float off into nothingness to die? Great. At least we get a wild eyed Mr. Feeny at times, floating about looking for his long lost son Richard.
The BMT – I think this has a poor legacy in the end. Mainly because the sequel has loads more cred. If this actually explicitly said it was set in like Fiji, it would have immediately had a ton of Setting longevity. Instead it has to be set on an uninhabited island only vaguely near Fiji (if you believe the book). I think I prefer ultimately to remember Return to the Blue Lagoon over this one. Did it meet my expectations? I think so. It was boring, and wasn’t so creepy I felt like I was committing some sort of crime. I’ll call that a win. It certainly could have gone the other way quite easily.
Roast-radamus – Definitely a solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for the uninhabited and unidentified Palm Island where both films take place. You really get to know these places by the end of things, you know? And why not, let’s give it a Worst Twist (How?) for the family drifting slowly off to sea, deciding to kill themselves, and then in an incredible coincidence getting saved (? Turns out not to be the case in the sequel, but whatever) right at the last minute by Mr. Feeny. And I think this has an okay shot at Bad if anything for being boring.
StreetCreditReport.com – There is no way you can really find lists for films from 1980. But the cred comes from the film winning the first ever Worst Actress Razzie for Shields. If this came out a few years later I don’t think she wins, instead she would have gotten the not-yet-developed-and-now-defunct Worst New Star, but whatever. It is probably one of the worst shipwreck films as well … the issue with all of this is that no matter how much cred you want to get it, Return to the Blue Lagoon will always beat it out!
You Just Got Schooled – There have been several adaptations of The Blue Lagoon over the years, and luckily The Blue Lagoon from 1949 is available on YouTube. This film is a wild departure from the 1980 film and original 1904 novel it seems (it appears that the 1980 is a very very faithful adaptation of the book). It takes place maybe 20 years after the setting of the novel, and there is a big interlude in the middle in which two criminals come to the island and attempt to trick Michael into getting pearls for them. The sequence is somewhat similar to the sequence in Return to the Blue Lagoon, in which outsiders come to the island and the traumatic experience dissuades out heroes from attempting escape from the island for a time. Somewhat constructed from a series of vignettes, I do think this was a slightly more successful version of the story. The religious undertones seem to serve a story of the downfall of man through the thirst for knowledge a bit better when it is slightly more explicit (all the way down to Eve causing the downfall of Adam, yikes!). It probably helps that it seems more genuine in a film from 1949 as well, as there is no possibility the movie was made just to show half naked young women running about. C+. A bit boring in the end, but an interesting contrast to the overly faithful 1980 adaptation here.