A tender coming of age love story about two teenagers stranded on a tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific or soft core kiddie porn with a smattering of incest thrown in for good measure? I’ll let you be the judge.
The Blue Lagoon is a 1980 flick starring the then 14 year old Brooke Shields and 19 year old Christopher Atkins. It is based on a novel of the same name written by one Henry De Vere Stacpoole first published in 1908. For her efforts, Ms. Shields also has the dubious distinction of winning the first ever Golden Raspberry Award for the worst performance by an actress for the year.
As far as spoilers go, the movie is over thirty years old so I don’t think I’d be revealing too much in the way of the plot.
Having said that, before we get to what little of the plot there is, it should be noted that at the time the film caused quite a stir for all of the nudity or semi-nudity and sex that it depicts. Ms. Shields was even hauled before a Congressional committee where she testified that in some of the scenes an older woman was used as a body double and in others her longish hair was actually glued to her budding breasts. Later her mom took a shit ton of flack for letting her appear in such a movie. At the time, the movie received an “R” rating from the MPAA
The film takes place somewhere in the mid 1800’s. Emmeline (Brooke) and Richard (Atkins) are young cousins on a ship headed to somewhere. Naturally, they survive a shipwreck and are washed ashore along with one of the galley cooks named Paddy. What became of the rest of the crew is never explained but as you’ll see later some of them apparently survived.
Since Paddy is the only adult on the island he’s called on to take care of the kids. He tells them not to venture too far from their base camp because there’s a bogeyman out there and they might be used as a human sacrifice. He also warns them about eating a certain red berry because of its poisonous nature. How he knows this vital little tidbit of information is never explained.
I don’t know how but leave it to an Irishmen to find booze on an otherwise deserted island and Paddy somehow discovers a keg of rum. He then goes on a drunken bender, decides to go for a swim and drowns. The kids find his corpse and decide to take off for parts unknown and build a home together at some other place on the island.
We now have to flash forward a few years because the next time we see them they’ve sprouted into teenagers. No mention of what they did to survive is made and the viewer is left to wonder what the hell they ate or did during that entire time.
Are you with me so far?
To make a long story short their teenage hormones kick in and isn’t long before they start getting a bit horny. But, since they’ve never been exposed to sex they don’t know what to do with each other. Never mind that that they’re cousins but maybe they don’t know that.
Anyway, at about this time Emmeline gets her first period and has no fucking clue as to what’s going on. She asks Richard to take a peek down under to see if she had somehow cut herself and that was the cause of her bleeding. After the bleeding subsides Richard decides that he likes what he sees and he tries to put the moves on her. She says “no dice” and he wanders away and starts jerking off.
Sometime later a feud erupts among the two of them. It seems a boat passed by the island and Emmeline decided that she wanted to stay there and failed to send out a rescue signal. This pisses Richard off to no end and he gives her the heave ho from their primitive hut.
Emmeline then begins to wander the shore (she does that a lot) and unwittingly steps on a stonefish. In the real world that usually means a slow and painful death if left untreated but this being Hollywood Richard miraculously nurses her back to health using nothing but kindness.
After Emmeline recovers they decide to go skinny dipping at the local island lagoon. From there, nature takes its inevitable course and they begin having sex (pretty graphic for the time given the subject matter and age of the cast) on a regular basis and it isn’t long before Emmeline gets knocked up.
Since both of them are ignorant about how a child is born Emmeline thinks she’s just getting fat even though the baby inside her is kicking away like a mule. For reasons unexplained Emmeline decides to wander off by herself and Richard tries to go find her. He just happens to stumble upon some natives from another island conducting a human sacrifice at some kind of shrine. He decides it’s time to get the fuck out of Dodge but as he’s turning tail he hears Emmeline screaming from what can only be labor pains.
Sure enough, Emmeline soon spits out a baby boy who they name Paddy. She once again is clueless about how to feed the little tyke but he soon takes matters into his own mouth and discovers that magic elixir known as breast milk.
Once again we have to flash forward a few years because the next time we see them the boy is already a toddler who knows how to swim and fish. Apparently, they also discovered some means of contraception or decided to abstain from sex since she bears no other children during those ensuing years.
One day the happy family is playing on the beach and are covered in mud. It just so happens that another ship is passing by (conveniently led by Richard’s father) and they notice them frolicking about. However, since they the mud covers up their whiteness the ships assumes they are natives and makes no attempt to rescue them. The family also takes notice of the ship but they too make no attempt to contact them since they’re happy being alone on their island paradise.
The days pass and they decide to hop in a lifeboat (who knew they had one to begin with!) and go exploring. Richard hops out of the boat and Emmeline and Paddy are left behind. She soon falls asleep and the toddler then wanders off to do some exploring of his own. He comes back with a bunch of the poisonous red berries that I mentioned earlier but since she’s catching some z’s she doesn’t notice them. The boat begins to drift away from the shore and for some reason the kid tosses one of the oars overboard.
Emmeline wakes up and begins screaming for help. Richard hears her calls and dives in the ocean to save them. Naturally, a shark is hot on his tail as he swims closer to the boat but Emmeline hurls the other oar at the fish and that’s just enough to scare him off. Richard boards the boat but with no means to paddle ashore they begin to slowly drift out to sea.
After a couple of days Emmeline and Richard wake up to find that their son Paddy is merrily munching down on the red berries. They try to stop him but alas, they are too late. Deciding they have nothing left to lose, the once happy couple exchange loving glances and they too partake of the forbidden fruit.
A few hours later, the boat captained by Richard’s dad appears on the scene and discovers the three of them motionless in the lifeboat. He asks if they are dead but is told that they are just asleep and the movie ends.
As it turn out, that wasn’t quite the case. Since the movie cost about 4.5 million dollars to make and grossed about 60 millions dollars at the box office Hollywood decided a sequel was in order and The Return of the Blue Lagoon was spawned. It was at that time revealed that the child Paddy did in fact survive but the same can’t be said for Richard and Emmeline.
Inspiration for this review of this piece of shit movie (although the scenery was pretty good) was taken from the Golden Raspberry Awards. Even though I wrote that, I’d be honored if any of our fellow writers out there used it as a treasure trove of bad movies desperately in need of review. Much of the review itself comes from memory (What can I say, it was burned in there after numerous viewings and I was relatively young at the time) and other parts come from here and here