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Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 9/4/01



The Goonies
1985 (2001) - Amblin/Warner (Warner)

review by Greg Suarez of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

The Goonies Film Rating: A

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/A-

Specs and Features

114 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 56:09, in chapter 19), Snapper case packaging, audio commentary with "hidden treasures" (featuring director Richard Donner and stars Ke Huy "Data" Quan, Corey "Mouth" Feldman, Sean "Mikey" Astin, Kerri "Andy" Green, Martha "Stef" Plimpton, Jeff "Chunk" Cohen, and Josh "Brand" Brolin), "behind-the-scenes" featurette, outtakes, The Goonies 'R' Good Enough (Parts 1 & 2) music video by Cyndi Lauper, theatrical trailer, cast and filmmaker bios, animated film-themed menu screens with sound effects and music, scene access (37 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), French (DD 2.0) and Spanish (DD mono), subtitles: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, Closed Captioned

"Ye intruders beware. Crushing death and grief, soaked with blood, of the trespassing thief."

There are very few "kids" films that I loved as a carefree prepubescent that still hold the same weight with me today, as a cynical, 20-something office monkey. Let's face it, kids films have their young audience and typically retain very little, if any sort of value for older, more refined and more jaded moviegoers. And then there's Steven Spielberg's and Richard Donner's timeless classic, The Goonies. Up until my recent screening of Warner's brand new DVD edition of this '80s mega hit, I had actually not seen the film since I was about 12 or 13. The Goonies was one of my favorite films growing up, and as I entered my teen years, I decided to not watch it ever again. I was afraid that, like so many other kids films I loved darn near two decades ago, this film would not appeal to me anymore, and I wanted to remember the flick in a positive way for all the entertainment it provided me as a 12-year-old boy. But for the sake of nostalgia (and this review) I gave the disc a spin... and I'm here to tell you that I've not had as much fun watching a film on DVD in a long, long time. The Goonies, 16 years later, is still tons of fun and had me laughing for almost two straight hours. Ah, to be a kid again…

As the story opens, a group of young friends living on the Goon Docks of Oregon find themselves in a crisis. The owners of the community's swank country club have bought the property where our heroes, The Goonies, live and plan on tearing the houses down in favor of a golf course. The Goonies' parents don't have the vast amounts of money it would take to stop the expansion of the country club, so our little buddies are running out of time with each other. The Goonies is a close-knit group of friends, and if the country club succeeds in tearing down their houses, they will be split apart from each other.

Before I go any further, I should explain to you what a "Goonie" is. The Goonies is a small group of friends - who live on the Goon Docks, hence "Goonies" - that are considered rejects by their peers. The main core of the Goonies are Mikey (Sean Astin), Mouth (Corey Feldman), Data (Ke Huy Quan), Chunk (Jeff Cohen) and Mikey's older brother Brand (Josh Brolin). Eventually joining the troupe for this adventure are outsiders Andy (Kerri Green) and Stef (Martha Plimpton), who find themselves full-fledged Goonies by the end of the film.

Anyways, Mikey and Brand's dad is a curator at the local museum, and he stores some of the museum's artifacts in his attic. When the Goonies decide to root through the old junk, they find a mysterious map that supposedly leads to the treasure of a pirate named One Eyed Willy, who, in the 17th century, was trapped - ship, crew, riches and all - in a mountainside near the Goon Docks. According to local legend, Willy and his treasure are still, to this day, residing somewhere near the community, but no one ever successfully found them. Mikey talks the rest of the Goonies into going on one last adventure to retrieve One Eyed Willy's "rich stuff" so that they may save their homes. But before our heroes start their adventure, they must confront the Fratellis (Ann Ramsey, Robert Davi and yes... that's Joe Pantoliano); a gang of ruthless thugs that are hiding out in the very place the adventure must begin. When the Fratellis catch wind of the kids' adventure, they're hot on the Goonies' trail. So will the Goonies cleverly avoid One Eyed Willy's deadly booty… I mean booby traps... outwit the Fratellis and find the treasure before it's too late?

The Goonies is a film overflowing with action, adventure, comedy, excitement… the works! Ingeniously directed by Richard Donner (from a story developed by Spielberg), the film is about 20-30 minutes longer than other comparable kid-adventure flicks, yet is paced almost perfectly with nary a dull moment or lapse in the excitement. Every actor in this film, from the seven Goonies to the sleazy Fratellis, was cast right on the money. Each performer brings his or her character to life in a unique way, giving the film a feeling of variety. The script is very funny, and the kids' performances and the physical comedy throughout the film are perfectly timed and delivered. For an action/adventure, there's really not a whole lot more you can ask for. It might not appeal as much to young girls, but young boys (and even young boys at heart like myself) will find the adventure aspects - not to mention all of the cool skeletons and the gigantic pirate ship - to be a lot of fun. Don't pass this one up because you think it's a "kids" flick. Adults and children alike can revel in the unbridled, fast-paced, larger-than-life entertainment that is The Goonies.

And if that's not enough to whet your appetite, just wait till you get your hands on the DVD! Warner has blessed Goonies fans with a disc that is almost as much fun as the film itself. First of all, you get a pristine 2.35:1 aspect ratio film transfer (16x9 enhanced, thankfully), that is smooth, detailed and a wonder to behold. No, it's not as good as transfers for many newer films, but for a 16-year-old film, the picture is quite remarkable. Colors are spot-on perfect and black level is great, which is a relief considering that much of the latter part of the film is very dark. And I never spotted any signs of the dreaded compression artifacting or edge enhancement.

But as I was busy marveling at the transfer, my ears immediately picked up on the soundtrack, masterfully reworked into a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Surrounds are used often and effects are placed all around the listener for an experience that will make you believe you're right there with the Goonies sharing in their adventure. Dialog is easily intelligible, yet obviously ADR looped. Low frequency information has been pumped up for this release, and can be quite impressive in spots. Check out chapter 5, when the Goonies are in the attic. A crack of thunder blasts through the listening area, with the thunder waning in a very, very low frequency rumble for several seconds after. And Dave Grusin's remarkably John Williams-esque score is nicely recorded and spread throughout the front, and sometimes rear, channels.

But we're not finished. On top of amazing audio/video work, Warner offers a set of supplements that, while not perfect, are sure to please even the most die-hard Goonies fanatic. The real treat of the extras, and I really do mean treat, is a full-length commentary track with director Richard Donner and all seven of the now-adult Goonies, complete with lower voices and varying levels of career success. Sporadically throughout the commentary, the picture will shrink down to the lower right hand corner of the screen to reveal video footage of the recording session so you can see how Mouth, Mikey, Data and all the rest have grown up. The track, while not incredibly informative from a technical standpoint, is amazingly fun as the cast and director revisit fond (and not so fond) memories from the film shoot. Everyone seems excited to be there and willing to share his or her stories. This has become one of my favorite DVD commentary tracks, and is an absolute must-hear for anyone who ever enjoyed this film. Next up is a 7-minute, production featurette that's mostly promotional, but still offers some neat "behind-the-scenes" glimpses. If I have a complaint about this disc, it's that I would have liked a longer documentary, instead of a promo reel Warner pulled out of their vault, but oh well. Also included are 7 minutes of what are called "outtakes" but are more accurately deleted scenes. Long time fans will be pleased to know that the infamous giant squid scene (which is referred to at the end of the film even though it was cut) makes an appearance here. You orange-haired girl-punks out there will be excited to hear that both parts of Cyndi Lauper's music video for The Goonies 'R' Good Enough have been included on this release. The video is shot as a mini-movie, with Cyndi going on a Goonie adventure of her own. It's filled with strange imagery, a hodgepodge of '80s wrestlers and even most of the actual Goonie kids themselves. The one word that continually came to mind as I watched this was "surreal". Also look for the theatrical trailer and cast and crew bios to round out the supplements. And I must give props to the amazing 3D menus on this disc. They're beautiful and full of film-specific images, cool motion and neat music. This is how DVD menus should be done!

Okay all of you Goonies out there! Save your milk money, raid your big brother's piggy bank, beg your parents, or do whatever you have to do to get this disc (I guess nowadays most of us will hop in our car, drive to the nearest store and plunk down our credit card… I miss being a kid)! It's everything that a Goonies fan could hope for (save for a longer documentary), and will provide an evening's worth of action, adventure and laughs. Enjoy it with a Baby Ruth!

Greg Suarez
gregsuarez@thedigitalbits.com




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