So we come to an end to the movies that were purchased/gifted over the holidays and I am sure you are thinking this is an interesting movie for me to own. Well, this movie was bought as a gift due to an inside joke/nickname I was given. Years ago, when I was roommates with my friend Emily, a commercial for the TV show Charmed came on, showing Alyssa Milano’s character becoming a mermaid. Emily asked how one’s become a mermaid and my wife at the time responded that one becomes a werewolf when bitten by a werewolf. Without missing a beat, Emily turns to me and asks why I bit Alyssa Milano, to which my response was, “Why wouldn’t I?” Anyways, that response led to Emily calling me a mermaid, which has stuck to this day, though I did get her back with my own nickname for her. Anyways, in honor of the nickname, and because she felt I needed to own this movie, this was one of the movies she got me for Christmas. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Splash.
The plot: In 1964, young Allan Bauer is on the Cape Cod ferry with his family. As his family head to another part of the ship, Allan sees something in the water and jumps in. While underwater, a girl approaches him and grabs his hand and the two smile at each other, with Allan able to breath underwater, but their connection is broken when a crew member dives in to save Allan. As they take him back aboard the ship, Allan continues to stare out at the girl, who is staring back at him from the water, but no one else sees her and when Allan is led inside the ferry, she dives back underwater, revealing that she is a mermaid. 20 years later, Allan runs a fruit and vegetable warehouse in New York City with his irresponsible older brother Freddie, when his girlfriend calls and tells him that she is leaving him. After attending a coworker’s wedding, Freddie takes Allan to a bar to drink his sorrows away and as Freddie tries to arrange a double date with two women he picked up at the bar but Allan decides to head to Cape Cod, saying it relaxes him. The next morning, Allan is walking along the beach when he encounters eccentric scientist Walter Kornbluth and asks him for a ride to the island, as he was dropped off on the wrong beach, but Walter is paranoid that Allan is there to spy on him and steal his research so he refuses to help him. One of Kornbluth’s workers directs Allan to a man that will take him to the island and on the way there, Allan admits that he can’t swim, causing the man to try and scare Allan but he ends up stalling out the motor. As the man swims back to shore to get another boat, Allan attempts to fix the motor and gets it working but ends up falling overboard as the boat goes out of control and is knocked unconscious when the boat strikes his head. Allan comes too on the beach with a massive headache and as he looks around, sees a blonde, naked woman staring at him and calls out to her. The woman doesn’t answer but approaches him, then grabs him and kisses him before diving into the water. As the woman swims away, Allan calls out to her to come back but she doesn’t respond. The woman, who is a mermaid, finds Allan’s wallet on the ocean floor, where it fell when he was knocked unconscious, and swims away with it only to encounter Kornbluth, who tries to take a picture of her but she quickly swims away. Reaching her underwater home, the mermaid finds New York City on a map and begins swimming towards it. The mermaid arrives at Liberty Island, with her fins transforming into legs when she is out of the water, and causes a commotion by walking around naked. The police arrive to take her into custody and when they discover she has Allan’s wallet, they give him a call about her. Allan quickly rushes to the police station, leaving Freddie to handle a meeting with a new client, and heads down to the police station to pick her up. Allan takes the woman back to his apartment, where she constantly tries kissing him, but he has to head back to work and turns the TV on, telling her he will be back later and take her to dinner. When Allan arrives back at work, Freddie is surprised by Allan’s new attitude and his willingness to let him have more control over the business. Back at his apartment, the woman starts learning how to speak some English by watching TV and heads out to a department store, where she ends up buying some new clothes and learning more English before Allan finally finds her. As they are walking back to his apartment, Allan tries to find out more about the woman and she decides to call herself Madison and tells him she is in town for 6 days. That night, Madison takes a bath in the middle of the night but when Allan goes to check on her, she quickly dries her tail so that he doesn’t see her as a mermaid. The next day, Kornbluth continues searching for the mermaid but when he sees one of his workers reading a tabloid with a picture of the naked Madison on it, he recognizes her as the mermaid he saw and heads to New York City. As Allan continues to fall in love with Madison, Freddie tries get Allan to admit that he is in love with her but he refuses to admit it to himself, as he has never really been in love with anyone. Meanwhile, Kornbluth heads to the National History Museum and tells them that he has proof that mermaid’s exist but his mentor says he can’t believe he is stuck on that nonsense idea. Korbluth decides to prove that the mermaid is real and goes looking for Madison to splash her with water but mistakenly splashes another woman by mistake, causing her husband to assault Kornbluth. During dinner, Allan asks Madison to marry him but she doesn’t answer. As they are ice skating afterwards, Allan asks her again and she tells him no, saying she wants to make the most of the 3 days with him but she has to leave. As Allan and Madison start to argue about the matter, she leaves and Allan tries to apologize but she runs off before he can catch her. As Alan searches the city for Madison, Madison heads to the water and prepares to head back to the ocean but thinks back as to why she came to look for Allan in the first place and heads back to him. Madison agrees to marry Allan and he wants to get married the next day and Madison agrees to it, saying she will tell Allan her secret before they get married. Remembering that they are to attend a Presidential dinner that night, the two head there, unaware that the injured Kornbluth is there trying to expose Madison. After Kornbluth is escorted outside by the secret service, Madison tells Allan she is ready to tell him her secret and they leave, but Kornbluth sees them and manages to spray Madison with the water he was carrying, exposing her as a mermaid to Allan and everyone else. Allan and Madison are quickly grabbed and taken to a government lab for testing, and when they are placed together, Allan tries to apologize for keeping it a secret but Allan doesn’t respond. When it is apparent that Allan is not a mermaid, he is dropped off back at his apartment, where reporters are waiting for him and try to get him to talk about his relationship with Madison. Freddie shows up and takes Allan out of there and as they get alone to talk, Allan starts questioning what he really felt for her and Freddie calls him out on it, reminding him how happy he was when he was with Madison. Meanwhile, Dr. Ross, Kornbluth’s rival, is heading up the research of Madison and is making plans to dissect her, which shocks Kornbluth and when he voices his objection, Ross tells him that he shouldn’t even be there as he doesn’t consider him a member of his team. Allan, realizing he does love Madison and tracks down Kornbluth to find out where she is being held. Kornbluth, who feels guilty about his role in what is happening to Madison, helps sneak Allan and Freddie into the lab by having them pose as Swedish scientists. Allan and Kornbluth then sneak Madison out of the lab, leaving Freddie there to take the heat when it is discovered she is gone. Ross has the military go recapture Madison and Kornbluth tries to delay them, saying he caused the mess, but he is unable to stop them. Allan and Madison reach the docks and Madison tells Allan that she was willing to stay with him forever. When Allan says he wishes that he could go with her, she tells him he can, telling him that she was the one who saved him as a boy, but that he would never be able to come back. When the military gets there, Allan tells Madison he loves her and she needs to leave but as she waves goodbye, he yells out to her and jumps in after her. Madison swims back to Allan and kisses him, allowing him to breathe underwater, and when some divers attempt to capture them, they quickly rip off the divers’ breathing gear then swim away. Allan takes off his jacket and kisses Madison before they swim off to an underwater kingdom.
Splash was highly praised by the critics, holding a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A perfectly light, warmly funny romantic comedy that’s kept afloat by Ron Howard’s unobtrusive direction and charming performances from Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah.” The movie was the first to be released under Walt Disney’s Touchstone Pictures label, which was created in order to release movies with more mature content that were deemed not appropriate for the flagship banner. The movie was a box office success, earning $69 million off of an $8 million budget.
This is a pretty decent movie but not one I would watch every day. The acting was good, with Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah doing a good job in their roles of Allan and Madison respectively. I also liked John Candy (Freddie) and Eugene Levy (Kornbluth), who added some pretty good comedic and serious scenes to the movie. The story was essentially a take off of “The Little Mermaid”, with the mermaid falling in love with a human and wanting to be with him, only not as depressing a tale as the original story. The special effects involving Daryl Hannah’s mermaid tail were pretty decent in the water scenes, but not as much when she was on land. It’s a decent 80’s rom-com but not my normal cup of tea.
Rating: 3 out of 5