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The Goonies

review by Ren C.

Rated PG

Studio: Warner

Running Time: 114 minutes

Starring Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton

Written by Chris Columbus
Story by Steven Spielberg

Directed by Richard Donner

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Audio Commentary, Making-Of Feaurette, Music Video, Outtakes, Cast and Crew Page, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Chapter Search

Released: August 28th, 2001

The 1980s are remembered for many things: legwarmers, Reaganomics and great movies like the Goonies. The Goonies is one of those movies that has come to define the 1980s, much like E.T. or Dirty Dancing. The plot is timeworn, and this movie could very easily have come from the 1970s or the 1990s, except for the unfortunate fashion choices. Nearly everyone involved in this movie has gone on to other recognizable endeavors, including Steven Spielberg, the driving force behind the film.

The plot, as I mentioned is a simple but endearing one. Two members of a group of social outcasts named the Goonies are about to be driven out of their homes by developers who plan to create golf courses on the land. The only way that they could possibly stay would be to somehow get the money to pay the developers. The two boys, Mikey (Sean Astin) and Brand (Josh Brolin) are searching their attic, along with the rest of the group are searching the attic when they run across a treasure map. Obviously, they decide to follow it, and see where it takes them. This leads them through several adventures, until they run across an abandoned building. Unbeknownst to them, the building is also housing a group of criminals known as the Fratelli brothers. Around this time, two high school girls that have followed the Goonies on their exploits also join them. With the group complete, the real adventure begins.

This becomes an adventure that takes the Goonies through a vast underground labyrinth, a giant pirate ship and introduces them to a lovable monster named Sloth (John Matuszak).

While the movie's plot may sound a little light, there is no shortage of action and adventure. Every minute of the movie has something going on, and it is guaranteed to please kids of all ages. The film has the Spielberg mark all over it, as it goes time and again to his trademarks of family entertainment and all-out wonderment. The first view of the pirate ship is definitely a memorable experience. The actors, as well, are very good for their relatively young ages. Considering that the majority of them have done other high-profile projects since "Goonies", it is interesting to see where they all started out. Director Richard Donner also does a very nice job of managing a very large, very young cast and the result is something magical and something unforgettable.


Anyone seeing this movie for the first time probably would not be able to tell it is from the mid-80s. The anamorphic transfer looks remarkably crisp and clear, with colors remaining vibrant, and blacks deep and rich. There were only a few instances of grain to be seen, and few to no artifacts. There were slight shimmering problems noticed in a few scenes, but not enough to detract from overall enjoyment. Overall, it definitely looks like the transfer got the time and care that it deserves.

This can also be stated about the audio, as the Dolby 5.1 mix is utilized very well. Sounds such as wind and water rushing are appropriately subdued, while dialogue is at the forefront, as it should be. Dialogue is never hard to decipher and is very crisp and clear. Also included is a Dolby 2.0 surround track, along with Spanish and French tracks.

The ubiquitous special edition tag is nowhere to be found on the packaging, but Warner has done a very nice job of providing supplements here. The biggest of these supplements has to be considered the feature-length Audio Commentary with director Richard Donner and the Goonies gang. That's right, Corey Feldman, Sean Astin and everyone else are all here and they provide a greatly enjoyable commentary. The unique thing about this is that the film itself is occasionally relegated to a corner and the participants are shown on-screen, providing a very interesting, unique and interactive experience. One note, Sean Astin disappears about halfway through the commentary for some reason and never returns.

Also included is a series of "Outtakes" which are actually deleted scenes. For a movie of this age, any extra material is nice and deleted scenes are gold. The scenes actually would have added something to the movie, although I'm guessing they were cut for running time. These scenes run about five minutes and are definitely worth a watch.

Next up is the original Making- Of Featurette from 1985. This featurette is nothing but fluff, but is a very interesting addition if for nothing more than how young Steven Spielberg looks. We also get a brief glimpse of Donner's directorial method, and he looks more like an elementary school teacher than anything else.

A Music Video by Cyndi Lauper is next up, for the song "Goonies 'R' Good Enough" which appears twice in the movie. The video is nothing if not a trip down 80s memory lane, especially considering this was during the "Rock and Wrestling" period so the WWF's roster also appears in the video. Cyndi Lauper, Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant and the Goonies definitely makes for a very bizarre watching experience. I should also note that both versions of the video are included back to back, bringing the running time to around nine minutes.

Wrapping up the features are the Theatrical Trailer, which looks unbelievably dated and the typical Warner Cast and Crew page. I also have to mention the very nice animated menus that were created, which are a very nice extra touch.

I don't think I can say enough good things about this movie. Definitely one of the best children's movies to come out of the 80s, although it has a plot that anyone can enjoy. The video and audio are both very good, features are numerous, and the price is right. Pick this one up today.

(4/5 - NOT included in final score)




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