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The Blue Lagoon Movie Review. Desert Island Story You Will Love.

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Everyone has their unique genre of films – childhood films. Movies you watched long ago don’t matter if they were bad or good. These films give you impressions, and you will always love them.

I still remember how a friend brought me a disc with The Blue Lagoon (1980). She said that now the love of her life must be a blond with blue eyes!

This film was a revelation for a teenager, and after 25 years, I want to share The Blue Lagoon movie review with you.

the blue lagoon movie review
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What is the movie Blue Lagoon about?

The Randal Kleiser tape is based on the novel of the same name by the Irish writer Henry De Vere Stacpoole, first published over a century ago, in 1908.

By the way, this novel has many adaptations. However, when talking about the Blue Lagoon, the vast majority remembers the Kleiser film with Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins in the lead roles.

At the film’s beginning, we see a large ship on an expedition in the open ocean. Among the crew members are two children aged 9-10 – the captain’s son Richard and his girlfriend Emmeline.

There is a shipwreck, and the children manage to evacuate on a boat with an old cook. There is no food or water in the rowboat, and the heroes are doomed to a painful death, but suddenly they hear birds singing and see an island in front of them.

They begin to live on a desert island, equip their life, and build a dwelling from branches and leaves. The old cook teaches children the tricks of life on the island. Former city dwellers Emmy and Richard, life in the wild is not easy, but gradually they adapt. Paddy soon dies, and the children are left alone.

Years go by, they become teenagers, and both go through puberty. But unfortunately, nobody managed to tell them about the processes taking place during puberty in girls and boys, so Emmeline and Richard are shocked and frightened by the changes in their bodies.

They both feel attracted to each other, which develops into tender love, and it soon turns out that Emmy is pregnant.

Young people do not understand what is happening to the girl, but they are happy to take care of the newborn baby.

If, at the beginning of life on the island, they were waiting for help. Then later, having become a full-fledged family, they no longer wanted to leave their place of residence and did not go out to meet a passing ship.

And life would continue to go slowly if not for a tragic accident.

It’s all about the plot. We watch how children live, swim, build a house, and play for almost two hours. And when they reach adolescence, they begin to be attracted to each other.

The main plus is the beautiful desert island. Usually, landscapes in films are just scenery. However, in the Blue Lagoon, the island is one of the film’s heroes. Although I loved looking at all these jungles, beaches, and transparent sea, all the time, the thought involuntarily arose to escape from civilization there.

The film has a highly unhurried narrative. The director slowly shows us the life of Richard and Emmeline. It may seem boring to some, but I think it allows the viewers to feel the charm of the landscapes and the characters’ relationships.

Released on screens in the United States in 1980, at the beginning of a new decade, Kleiser’s The Blue Lagoon garnered many negative reviews from American critics.

In his The Blue Lagoon movie review, Roger Ebert called this movie «the dumbest movie of the year.» The critic was outraged by the excessive romanticization of the catastrophic situation: 7-year-old children found themselves on a desert island without a sane adult.

Negative publications about the picture did not prevent her from collecting an impressive box office: with a budget of $4.5 million, The Blue Lagoon earned about $58.8 million at the North American box office.

At the end of 1980, the film divided the careers of the main actors into “before” and “after.”

So, actress Brooke Shields received the Golden Raspberry in the Worst Actress category. At the same time, Christopher Atkins received a Golden Globe nomination for Breakthrough of the Year.

And the film got a nomination for the Oscar for Best Cinematography.

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Interesting facts.

  • The film was filmed mainly in Jamaica and on the island of Nanuya Levu (Fiji).
  • Brooke Shields was only 14 at the time of filming.
  • All nude scenes featuring Emmeline (Brooke Shields) were filmed using stunt doubles. And in some scenes, the actress can be seen with her hair glued to her chest.
  • The music and dances performed by the cannibals were authentic Fiji dance performed by the natives.
  • The island’s flora and fauna do not correspond to the intended location of the picture. Some animals and plants were brought for the sake of exoticism from different continents and climatic zones.
  • Brooke Shields, in some scenes, was forced to stand and walk in specially dug grooves in the sand of the beach. At 14 years old, the actress’s height, 5.75 ft, was as much as 4 inches taller than 18-year-old Christopher Atkins.
  • After 32 years, Christopher Atkins will play Mr. Christiansen in the eponymous film “The Blue Lagoon” (2012).
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My thoughts about The Blue Lagoon, 1980.

The Blue Lagoon (1980) is a typical coming of age, developing without the burdensome morality of adults and the pressure of any social institutions.

In my opinion, the authors explore the cycle of life in isolation. If you turn on this movie today, the allusion will suggest itself.

The island for Richard and Emmeline is their comfort zone with convenient rules and the only “law” not to go to the other part.

Everything that approaches the island is alien, causing a risk of disrupting the usual way of life. Young Robinsons thought an invasion could destroy the innocence of their pure, divine love.

The novel and the film adaptation inevitably lead us to the biblical Adam and Eve. There is even an analog of the Forbidden Fruit here – dangerous berries that Richard and Emmeline will use in the finale and, according to one version, will not die but enter the civilized world.

In 2022, an excessive romanticization of relationships and a clearly defined patriarchal model of the existence of a man and a woman isolated from society may cause bewilderment.

In one of the episodes, we can see that Emmeline cannot usually cope without the help of Richard – neither build a shack nor get bananas. But it was a typical story for the 80s of the last century.

Even such an essential aspect as pregnancy, the film’s authors leveled to a two-minute groan of the heroine Shields: a baby appears out of nowhere after a few seconds; Emmeline, who survived the birth, cheerfully walks around the island as if nothing had happened.

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Today when you watch this movie, quite logical questions arise.

  • What was the atmosphere during filming?
  • Did a psychologist or therapist work with Brook Shield?
  • How did Brooke feel being completely naked in front of the viewer? 
  • Could such directorial decisions cause trauma to the underage actress?

The ethical issues associated with the Blue Lagoon are still on the agenda. And it is almost impossible to imagine that today they can shoot something like this under similar conditions.

At the same time, we know that the children don’t feel shame or embarrassment about their naked bodies. I think that puritanism, in this case, will lead to hypocrisy.

Is Blue Lagoon realistic?

It is also impossible not to notice that the story of young Richard and Emmeline consists entirely of unrealistic, idyllic images.

Why did the heroes spend their whole lives on the island, away from hygiene, but at the same time, they have perfectly even, white teeth? Why do they have sparkling hair like it’s from a shampoo commercial? Why are their bodies not overgrown with hair? How have they been cutting their hair all this time? Why didn’t the clothes they found at the beginning wear out after so many years?

In addition, the film shows life on the island is too carefree. Have small children never been injured or scratched? Well, there are no predators, but what about hurricanes and storms, which are very frequent in the tropics, with poisonous roots?

In Stackpool’s novel, the characters faced all of this, plus their relationship developed a little more challenging. These problems were discussed even by the heroes of the 2012 remake. 

But in this film, it is clear why this is not the case. It was conceived as a pure and naive romance. That’s how it turned out.

The two big negatives for me in this movie are the simple and goofy dialogues and Brooke Shields’s acting. Brooke often appeared cold and aloof in this film. Although, I understand this now when I am 40 years old. When I watched the movie as a teenager, Emmeline seemed beautiful!

How many Blue Lagoons movies are there?

There are five adaptations of The Blue Lagoon in total. But, first, let’s look at two more popular films.

Return to the Blue Lagoon, 1991

As stated earlier, the book was part of a trilogy. However, the 1991 film Return to the Blue Lagoon focused on the famous romantic aspect that made the first film so popular.

The film had a similar plot about two young children (Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause) falling in love on a deserted island.

The film, directed by William A. Graham, was hated by critics even more than the original. Rotten Tomatoes wrote that the film “lacks the rawness and unintended laughs that would make it a ‘guilty pleasure.'” The audience didn’t like it either.

Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, 2012

The latest remake was released in 2012 on Lifetime.

The star couple was Indiana Evans and Brenton Thwaites. It is an updated version of the classic 1908 original, so some distinct differences exist. 

However, the atmosphere of the island remained the same as the filming took place in Maui, Hawaii, and California.

The film turned out well and compared to the 1980 classic, people and critics liked it. However, the modern version focuses more on emotion than nudity.


I hope you enjoyed reading my The Blue Lagoon movie review.

Many will remember this film for its portrayal of the awkward and hormonal adolescence we all went through.

I perceive this film as a story of love, knowledge of the world and myself, and the tragedy of the children left on the island.

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it. I would appreciate it! 

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  • Reply
    September 7, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

  • Reply
    September 11, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Okay…you have piqued my interest in this movie and the premise sounds intriguing. I laughed at your analysis of the movie being realistic. I would have definitely wondered how their teeth stayed white as well!

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    September 11, 2022 at 11:11 pm

    I had no idea that Jamaica was a film location for this movie. And you’re right, the island is another character in the movie.
    It’s funny what you mention about the kids being stranded for years but they look the same: perfect hair, white teeth and everything.
    So different than the evolution of Tom Hanks in castaway! LOL!

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    October 12, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    Great post! Adding this to my list of movies to watch. Thanks for sharing!

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    October 19, 2022 at 8:16 am

    I’ve seen the movie so many times and love it! Although I am still trying to figure out how to grow my hair as long as Emmeline lol!

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    October 20, 2022 at 8:33 am

    I need to watch this!

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