The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent Tony Farinella.
This was my first viewing, ever, of “The Goonies,” which might sound almost sacrilegious to film fans that love this flick and have watched it numerous times. To many, it is considered a classic film with quotable lines and loveable characters. I went into the film with high expectations, and I’m sad to report that I left extremely disappointed. The film is very dated, and it is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. However, if you are a fan of the film and have been looking to an upgrade for a while, the 4K release from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment will certainly satisfy you. For those, like myself, who are new to the film, I don’t know if it will win over any new fans.
The film was directed by veteran Richard Donner from a story by Steven Spielberg and a screenplay by Chris Columbus. When you factor in a young cast which includes Josh Brolin, Sean Astin and Corey Feldman, all of the ingredients were there for an enjoyable film with a cast full of wacky characters. This is one of the major problems with the film—the characters. They are loud, screechy and supremely annoying. It is hard to get behind this rag-tag group of misfits in the same way you would get behind the Losers Club in “It” or the friends in “Stranger Things.” The film doesn’t waste time in getting right into the action, which ensures the character development is left with a lot to be desired.
The premise of the film follows a group of friends known as The Goonies. They consist of Sean Astin as Mikey; his brother Brand, played by Josh Brolin; Jeff Cohen as Chunk; Corey Feldman as Mouth; Jonathan Ke Huy Quan as Data along with their female counterparts in Kerri Green as Andy and Martha Plimpton as Stef. Judging by some of their names, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to piece together how they received their nicknames. They are about to lose their homes in the Goon Docks unless they can come up with some big money and fast.
This leads them on a treasure hunt to come up with a way to save their homes. Hot on their tails, however, is a crime family known as the Fratellis: Mama Fratelli (Anne Ramsey), Jake Fratelli (Robert Davi), and Francis Fratelli (Joe Pantoliano). They also have a deformed younger brother named Sloth (John Matuszak), whom is often neglected and mistreated by his family. They are also looking to get some of the treasures on the ship, which used to belong to “One-Eyed Willy,” the original Goonie.
While “The Goonies” is never boring, and Donner keeps the action moving at a rapid-fire pace, at almost two hours, it feels like sensory overload. As a viewer, I felt like I was on this never-ending mission that I didn’t really care about because I didn’t care for the characters. They are likable when they are not screaming, shrieking or being completely over-the-top. The film shines during the quieter and more tender moments. I was hoping the film would focus more on the friendships between the characters and the families. The families are basically non-existent and played for laughs as clueless parents, which was a major problem with many young children’s/teenage films in the 1980’s.
In the end, if you enjoyed “The Goonies” in the past and it is a film you are known to watch over and over again, you will surely watch it over and over again on 4K as it looks out of this world. If you are new to the film (in the minority like myself), I can’t really see you getting much out of this film as a first-time viewer. Even though it is a children’s movie, I wouldn’t recommend it for young children today based on some of the language and innuendo. While films and shows today owe a great deal of gratitude to “The Goonies,” it is very much a film of its era. I can’t say it holds up very well.
* * out of * * * *
4K Info: “The Goonies” is released by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment on a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which comes with the Blu-Ray and a digital code. The film has a running time of 114 minutes, and it comes in the following languages: English, Latin Spanish, Canadian French, and Brazilian Portuguese.
Video Info: The film comes on 2160 Ultra High Definition for the 4K Version. The Blu-Ray comes in 1080p High Definition.
Audio Info: The 4K Audio is DTS-HD MA: English 5.1 and Dolby Digital: French and Spanish. For the Blu-Ray, it comes with Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1, Dolby Digital: English 5.1, English 2.0, French and Spanish. Subtitles for both versions are in English, French, and Spanish.
Commentary (with Hidden Video Treasures) by Richard Donner and select cast members.
The Making of the Goonies Featurette
Cyndi Lauper “The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough” Music Video
My goal with this review was not to be a contrarian, but I realize I’m probably one of the few people in the world who is not in love with “The Goonies.” As mentioned, it had everything, on paper, I was looking for in a film like this. All of the pieces just didn’t add up in the final product. It was tough to finish this one, as even though the action is wall-to-wall, I found myself checking out of the story because of a lack of interest in the people involved in the action. I’m glad to say I have seen it, so I can check it off my list of highly thought of films I need to see. However, I can’t recommend this one as a purchase unless you absolutely love the film. You will be thrilled with the transfer, the 4K look of the film, which is beautiful, and the astounding high dynamic range that comes with 4K releases. For everyone else, if you really want to see it, get it from your local library.