Blu-ray Review: The Goonies (25th Anniversary Edition)

Warner Bros. | 1985 | 114 mins. | PG

I’ve been a fan of The Goonies from the day it was released back in 1985. I think I saw the film at least three times in the theater, rented it countless times and owned a couple of different DVD releases. Needless to say, I was quite please when I read that The Goonies was making its way to blu-ray in a special collector’s edition. While I’m the first to admit that The Goonies will never be considered a great film, it’s a lot of fun that continues to entertain twenty-five years after its release.

The Goonies (25th Anniversary Edition)It’s a solemn Saturday on the seaward side of Astoria, Oregon (which is often referred to as the ‘Goondocks’). A real estate developer is set to foreclose on all of the homes in the area on the following day, sending many families packing. The looming date threatens to break up the Goonies, agroup of friends, on the cusp of their teen years. They are: sheltered asthmatic protagonist Mikey (Sean Astin), Spanish-translating wiseass “Mouth” (Corey Feldman), fraidy-cat klutz “Chunk” (Jeff Cohen), and gadget-inventing Chinese boy “Data” (Jonathan Ke Quan). After finding a treasure map in the attic collection of Mikey’s museum curator father, the guys decide to set out on one final adventure together.

The guys end up at the restaurant of the very cranky Mama Fratelli (Anne Ramsey). They feel they need to get to the land underneath her restaurant. If the map is right, it will take them to the town’s elusive pirate treasure that was long ago written off as a legend. The gang is joined by Mikey’s older brother Brand (Josh Brolin), his potential girlfriend Andy (Kerri Green), and her friend Stef (Martha Plimpton). Chunk winds up in the custody of Mama Fratelli and her often bickering grown sons (Robert Davi and Joe Pantoliano). Chunk is placed in captivity with the third Fratelli brother, the frightening chained-up Sloth (John Matuszak). Meanwhile, the “Goonies” explore the caves, while avoiding various troublesome situations.

The greatest strength The Goonies has, is the combined imaginative force of Steven Spielberg (story), Chris Columbus (screenplay), and Richard Donner (Director). The film starts out a bit slowly, but it sets the scene for how these kids feel about losing their homes and being separated. As the film progresses and the adventure begins, the ‘real world’ quickly transforms into something we all might have imagined during our playtime as children. We are taken on an adventure that involves cartoonish villains, dangerous puzzles and swashbuckling action. Kids can easily lose themselves in the adventure, and adults, no matter how hardened by the trials of everyday life, are reminded of what it was like to be a kid. No matter what your age, there’s plenty of danger, fun, and laughs around every corner. The Goonies is one of those films that’s perfect for the whole family.

The Goonies arrives on Blu-ray with a new 2.4:1 remaster that outshines the  DVD release. Overall, the picture is fine — suitably crisp and colorful, with heightened contrast and detail — but it struggles to maintain consistent tones (and in some cases, simple visibility) during darker scenes, and that’s a noticeable flaw in a movie that takes place largely underground. Still, this is the best the movie has ever looked.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack has plenty of opportunities to send stuff zooming across your speakers. The remix has obviously been sweetened with modern technology, but a good thing here; movies like The Goonies are supposed to feel big, and this audio remaster, while curiously light on the lower frequencies, pumps it up.

The box everything comes in is made of a thick and sturdy cardboard, so there’s no risk of damaging it. When you open it up, the inside cover looks like the map the Goonies find, which is a nice touch. Inside, there’s resized, paper printed reproductions of the official film magazine from 1985, a rather lengthy article from Empire in 2009, and contained within an envelope are 10 storyboard cards.

There’s a board game inside. The board game is obviously the reason why this box is so big, and it’s obviously the reason why the MSRP is higher than it needs to be. Yet ironically, it’s the most useless thing this set has to offer.

The content on the disc:

Commentary (With Hidden Video Treasures) by Director Richard Donner and Select Cast Members – Most of the Goonies in the same room with Richard Donner discussing the film, and yes, it’s as fun as it sounds. The cast members were a bit older at the time of recording, so they spend a lot of time recalling the funny things that happened to them on set, as well as laughing at some of the dated special effects that appear throughout the film. The Hidden Video Treasures option allows some video pop-ups of the cast actually doing the commentary throughout the film as well.

The Making of the Goonies Featurette – This is really more of a promotional piece than anything else, and is only around 7 minutes in length. Instead of actually learning behind the scenes stuff, we’re being told about a film we’ve already been sold on seeing.
Also included are some Outtakes, which show us three scenes that were left out of the film, as well as the Cyndi Lauper – The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough – Music Video and the Theatrical Trailer.

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