ⓘ Blue Lagoon: The Awakening

Blue Lagoon: The Awakening

ⓘ Blue Lagoon: The Awakening

Blue Lagoon: The Awakening is a 2012 American made-for-television film that premiered on Lifetime on June 16, 2012. Indiana Evans and Brenton Thwaites star in the film, which is based on the novel The Blue Lagoon and its previous film adaptations. It was a major departure from previous Blue Lagoon films in several respects. The setting is contemporary, whereas the previous films were all set in the Victorian era; the lead characters were raised in normal society and are marooned as teenagers, rather than growing up on the island; the island the main characters are stranded on is in the Caribbean, whereas the previous films took place in the Pacific Ocean; and roughly equal time is devoted to the uncivilized world of the island and the human society the characters were born into. Christopher Atkins, the male lead of the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon, also appears in the film.


1. Plot

Two high school students, Emma and Dean, are on a class trip to Trinidad to help build a school for less fortunate children. Emma, a popular, star pupil, has her life plans set out. The high school quarterback flirts with Emma, though she is instead interested in Dean, a loner who routinely gets into trouble and seldom socializes since his mothers death. After Deans knife was confiscated, his father pulled strings to get his son back on the trip. On their second night in Trinidad, Dean and Emma separately attend a boat party. During the party, Emma falls overboard when police arrive in a surprise raid. Dean jumps into the water and helps her into a dinghy. Wanting to avoid getting into trouble, Dean severs the line attaching the dinghy to the boat, only to discover there is no motor.

The pair drift to an island, avoiding dangerous rocks, with the dinghys sole paddle. After discovering the island is deserted, they find the outgoing tide has washed away the dinghy. Unsure if they will be rescued, Emma and Dean must rely on each other for survival. Together, they learn to build a fire, fish, and find food. At first they are friends, but eventually their bond evolves into a romantic relationship. Deans father, Jack, and Emmas mother, Barbara arrive in Trinidad. Emma reveals that her parents have predetermined her future without her ever questioning it. After an extensive search, the Trinidad government officially ends the effort. Jack and Barbara both keep searching, and Jack hires a private rescue attempt. When Dean and Emma find a human skeleton, Dean calms an upset Emma by kissing her. The two give in to their growing feelings by having sex. The morning after their sexual encounter, Emma finds Dean digging a grave for the skeleton. When questioned, he becomes irritable, but eventually admits he was hoping for closure over his mother’s death, suffering guilt for inadvertently causing her fatal accident. With no trace of Emma or Dean being found, Jack and Barbara can no longer neglect their individual responsibilities and both return home. As Emma and Dean sexual relations continue, they share further intimate details, including a mutual desire to have children, but the difficulty of life on the island and concern about her family increasingly strain Emma.

After being stranded over 100 days, Emma and Dean are rescued by a tourist helicopter. They are met by family, friends, and the media. Emma is thrust into a more popular position at school while Dean, still a semi-outcast, avoids approaching her in public. Readjusting to everyday life, their relationship becomes strained and distant. Emma attends the prom, while Dean only goes because his father encouraged him. Emma spots Dean outside, watching her through the window. Emmas friend, Lizzie, encourages her to go to him. Emma and Dean kiss passionately and then dance together.


2. Cast

  • Denise Richards as Barbara Robinson Emmas mother
  • Brenton Thwaites as Dean McMullen
  • Christopher Atkins as Mr. Christiansen one of the teachers on the trip
  • Annie Tedesco as Ms. Collier one of the teachers on the trip
  • Alix Elizabeth Gitter as Lizzie one of Emmas friends
  • Indiana Evans as Emmaline "Emma" Robinson
  • Patrick St. Esprit as Jack McMullen Deans widowed father
  • Aimee Carrero as Jude one of Emmas friends
  • Carrie Wampler as Stacey Robinson Emmas younger sister
  • Hayley Kiyoko as Helen one of Emmas friends
  • Frank John Hughes as Phil Robinson Emmas father

3. Production

Male lead Brenton Thwaites recounted that he had never heard of the Blue Lagoon films before, and upon being cast he watched the previous two films for research, though he admitted that he could not bring himself to watch Return to the Blue Lagoon in its entirety.

During filming of the scenes in the lagoon, Thwaites and co-star Indiana Evans were so cold that they could not talk properly, necessitating that automated dialogue replacement be applied to these scenes.

Production began in California with Eric Bross as director and Denis Lenoir as director of photography. When filming moved to the island of Maui in Hawaii, they were replaced by director Michael Salomon and director of photography Roy H. Wagner.


4. Reception

Blue Lagoon: The Awakening received more mixed reviews than the previous two films in the franchise, and was often compared favorably to the critically reviled 1980 film. Linda Stasi commented in the New York Post, "Unlike the original where nudie scenes were followed by fornicating turtles kill me!, here their awakening is tastefully done with nothing much showing except their emotions." She assessed the film overall as silly but enjoyable. In contrast to Stasi, Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cited the lack of physical explicitness in the sex scenes as a major weak point of the film, and said the ending was "particularly weak and nonsensical". However, Mike Hale of The New York Times shared Stasis impression of the film as a solid guilty pleasure. He commented that "the new film lacks the glowing cinematography of Nestor Almendros, who was nominated for an Oscar for The Blue Lagoon. But under the direction of Mikael Salomon and Jake Newsome, The Awakening offers occasional honest moments of humor and adolescent angst: Ms. Evans and Mr. Thwaites are in their early 20s and better actors than Ms. Shields and Mr. Atkins were in their teens."