Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin & Jeff Cohen
Synopsis: In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirates ancient treasure.
Rating: 12 Run time: 114 minutes Release date: November 9 (UK)
After directing The Omen and Superman, and some part of Superman II, Richard Donner took a relative change of pace and in 1985 took charge of The Goonies. Written by Chris Columbus and adapted from Steven Spielberg’s screenplay, The Goonies is a boys adventure that feels like a not too distant relation to Indiana Jones.
That may seem like an easy comparison to make, and I suppose it is, but it’s inevitable that The Goonies feels like Raiders of the Lost Ark played out with a younger cast. It’s also true that it lacks some of the more serious elements of any of Jones’ adventures, and lacks the spark to give you the impression that anyone is in real danger here.
It is true that The Goonies parts with suspense in favour of laughs and an overall jovial nature, but it is a film aimed first and foremost at children. And with that in mind, The Goonies is a very good film. It’s pace is relentless and it’s covered in a sugary gloss, that while overly sweet at times, is impossible not to love.
By now, you are all likely familiar with the story of The Goonies, but for those of you that have been living away from civilisation for the past 30 years it is quite a simple tale. With a local country club looking to expand, a group of friends known as The Goonies are looking for one last adventure before their houses are turned into a driving range.
Finding a treasure map hidden in one of their houses, the young group embark on an adventure to find the riches of “One Eyed Willy.” Their escapade takes them to the secret hideout of the notorious Fratelli family; local gangsters who are on the run from the police. Evading the Fratelli’s, The Goonies find a huge area hidden deep underground that seems to cover most of the Astoria area.
Once underground, the pace of the film is non-stop. The Goonies find themselves having to evade traps and various pitfalls in an effort to find “One Eyed Willy’s” chest of treasures. With the pace showing no signs of letting up, there is also a fair amount of humour thrown in along with a few choice swears from the kids.
The tone is decidedly cartoonish, but this fits the film perfectly and allows for some genuinely great moments. It also shows the cast having, what must have been, one of their most unquestionably fun times on set. This all makes for a thoroughly exciting film, that still has the ability to enthral children today and will rekindle the joy that audiences felt 30 years ago.
Fans of The Goonies will most likely already own the disc that comes housed in this 30th Anniversary edition. Unfortunately, it is the same disc that has been available on Blu-Ray for several years already, and on initial inspection it seems to be the disc that was released on DVD some years ago. The picture and sound quality have improved upon the DVD release, but there is nothing to offer in terms of Blu-Ray content for anyone who doesn’t own either of the previous releases.
For those who don’t already own the film, they can expect a raucous commentary track provided by the films, now adult, cast as well as director Richard Donner. It’s a fun listen, but at times it is hard hear what is actually being said over all the merriment that is going on between the reunited cast and director.
“The Making of The Goonies” is a piece of 80’s nostalgia and was clearly made to market the film on its initial release. There are some moments of interest here and a few revelations of the decisions Richard Donner took while on set, but it sadly feels like nothing more than a promo tool. Cyndi Lauper’s music video “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” is a welcome addition, and features several professional wrestlers of the time re-enacting the film with Lauper.
There are several deleted scenes on the disc, the highlight being the famous “Octopus Scene” which is still referenced at the end of the film, but never makes it into any cut of the film. The other deleted scenes add nothing to proceedings, and one in particular seems wholly unnecessary and it is welcome that they were cut from the final edit.
What collectors will be interested in here is the physical extras. A mini Empire magazine is included, which is a reprint of the special edition which reunited the main cast and director. Several art cards are included; showcasing deleted scenes and storyboards. A “making of” magazine is also here, and features an excellent behind the scenes look at the making of the film in its 150 pages.
The Goonies needs no explanation or recommendation. If you don’t already own the film, or are a die hard fan, then this is for you. If you do already have the DVD or Blu-Ray, then the disc itself is likely not worth your money, but the art cards and archive magazine may well persuade you otherwise.