Paranormal Romance — Movie Review
Wherein Tom Hanks Gets Some Tail
Mermaid fans and those who love a good Tom Hanks film, rejoice! Released back in 1984, Splash is a classic paranormal romance film with everything needed for a thoroughly enjoyable movie. In his debut role as the leading man, Hanks portrays Allen Bauer, a young man busily running the family fruit business and convinced he may never, ever fall in love. That is, until he meets Madison (Daryl Hannah).
In the opening scenes, we are introduced to a young Allen out on a sightseeing boat tour with his family. When the young boy goes overboard and cannot swim, he’s saved from drowning by the appearance of a young mermaid girl who takes his hand and in those brief moments, forges a lifelong connection certain to reunite them.
Flash forward twenty years, and Allen is now a young man going through a breakup with his girlfriend. In light of his latest breakup, Allen retreats to Cape Cod in a state of depression and soon meets Dr. Walter Kornbluth (Eugene Levy), an eccentric marine scientist eager to prove the existence of mermaids. Shortly thereafter, Allen finds himself stranded in a small motorboat on the open water and soon goes overboard again, triggering his second rescue by the mermaid Madison and putting in motion the events that comprise the rest of the film.
With plenty of humor and a number of excellent performances, Splash is a thoroughly enjoyable paranormal romantic comedy suitable for the whole family. Hanks and Hannah have great on-screen chemistry, and bring their characters to life in a way that will have you rooting for them from start to finish.
Meanwhile in the supporting cast, Levy’s mermaid-obsessed Dr. Kornbluth will make you laugh and groan in equal measure as he pursues his goal with the singleminded passion only a scientist can; and John Candy delivers a stellar performance as Allen’s slightly obnoxious, womanizing older brother, Freddie Bauer. It was especially entertaining to watch Candy impersonate a Swedish scientist as they attempt to break into a government lab to rescue Madison.
Fans of 80s cinema will thoroughly enjoy Splash, with its authentic atmosphere and befitting soundtrack, but barring some technological advances, the film doesn’t come across as being dated. That, coupled with excellent scripting, smooth scene transitions, and all-around top-notch cinematography, makes it a film that’s equally enjoyable for younger audiences more accustomed to the super polished, special effects laden fare of the last decade.
At 1:51 runtime, Splash won’t take up your whole day (or night) either, so you can grab a copy, enjoy it after dinner, and still have some time to spare before bed.