"The Goonies" (1986) – DVD, Blu-Ray Review

11/18/2010 Posted by Admin

The Goonies (1986)

DVD, Blu-Ray Review

Directed by Richard Donner, Written by Chris Columbus, Steven Spielberg (story), Rated PG, 114-Minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

“'Raiders of the Lost Arc' with children” was likely how executive producer Steven Spielberg pitched "The Goonies" to Universal, but what director Richard Donner returned was far more Lou Costello than Indiana Jones.

Donner’s Marx Brothers meets Scooby-Doo meets Errol Flynn approach worked, and "The Goonies," just out on Blu-ray disc, became a classic among children of the '80s. Its young, energetic cast and snowballing story create exciting moments, yet with enough honesty to make its madness worthwhile.

A mass foreclosure in a small Washington neighborhood, known as the Good Docks, forces Mikey (Sean Astin), Brand (James Brolin), Data (Jonathan Ke Quan), Mouth (Corey Feldman) and Chunk (Jeff Cohen), aka "The Goonies", to move. So, when they stumble upon a map to legendary pirate One-Eyed Willy’s treasure, the group hops on their bikes to find Willy’s gold before three criminals can.

Amidst outsmarting the Fratellis, evading One-Eyed Willy’s booby traps and worrying about how grounded they’ll be, The Goonies revels in the type stream of consciousness and imagination of children. Like listening to a child ask “why” incessantly, this does get annoying. The Goonies bicker to both riotous and irritating ends--occasionally, at the same time.  Mikey’s one-sentence retelling of Willy’s legend comes to mind.

Most of the film is a shouting match among The Goonies. They never want to give each other an inch, but their arguments are funny, especially when Chunk or Mouth are involved. Mouth is more of a smooth-talking Groucho Marx and takes questions very literally to confuse his attacker, while Chunk is Lou Costello – never sure what his captor wants and gives away too much wrong information in the process.

Donner’s film captures the restlessness of suburban living on rainy Saturdays. Raised on TV and soda, these kids are well-versed in adventuring, yet have done none of their own. They only know movies and use this to their advantage. The Goonies expect booby traps because they’ve seen it on TV, and they move forward in the face of death because that’s what James Bond would’ve done.

Throughout it all, their passion makes "The Goonies" a pleasure. Mikey’s honesty and determination, as well as his friends’ loyalty, provide much of the film’s heart and makes even the most absurd speeches about wishing wells convincing and, dare I say it, moving.

Without this, the film would be an outright mess filled with annoying bickering and a plot progressed only by chance. But since Goonies never say die, the film is persistent enough to win over anyone who discovers it.

Grade: B

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