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A band of young boys find a treasure map and embark on a magical adventure.
For more about The Goonies and The Goonies Blu-ray release, see The Goonies Blu-ray Review
Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, John Matuszak
Director: Richard Donner
» See full cast & crew
The Goonies Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 1, 2008
A joint effort between Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner, "The Goonies" premiered in the summer of 1985. Since then, it has grown into a cult picture with millions of dedicated fans insisting that it is the best kid movie ever made. "The Goonies" makes its debut on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Brothers-UK. In English, with optional English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Korean, and Traditional Chinese subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Mikey (Sean Astin, Where the Day Takes You) and Brand (Josh Brolin, Hollow Man) are told that their house will be demolished and a brand new country club erected in its place. The boys share the terrible news with their best friends, Chunk (Jeff Cohen) and Mouth (Corey Feldman, Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever), who suggest that they find something valuable, sell it, and help their parents keep the house.
While playing in the attic, the boys, who have nicknamed themselves Goonies, discover an old map supposedly pinpointing the exact location of notorious pirate One Eyed Willie's hidden treasure. They are not entirely sure the map is real but decide to give fate a chance and see if there really is a treasure waiting to be uncovered.
The Goonies end up at an abandoned restaurant, which has become a hideout for a family of Italian crooks (Robert Davi, Anne Ramsey, Joe Pantoliano, John Matuszak). Before kids can leave, however, the cooks appear, forcing them to enter a tunnel leading to an underground cavern.
I should probably say it upfront so that, if needed, you could ignore the rest of my review: I am not a very big fan of The Goonies. I've seen it a number of times and I think that it is a fairly entertaining film, but nowhere near as great as some people insist. There, I said it. Now you can stop reading and go do something productive. But before you go, you've got to give me some credit for being honest with you.
Now, if you are still reading, allow me to tell you what I like and what I dislike about The Goonies.
I like its energy. Once the Goonies embark on their journey, the action is relentless. There is always something happening, and for the most part the humor is mixed very well with the action. I also like the fact that there is a good dose of vulgarity in the film. I think that it is well justified because when kids are not around their parents they like to use certain words that make them feel older.
What I don't like about The Goonies is how annoyingly glossy and cliched it is. Everything in it is well measured, too sweet. In most great adventure films something goes terribly wrong, there is an element of surprise, yet in The Goonies everything is predetermined. It is too comforting and not as unpredictable as a great kid's film should be.
Only a year after the The Goonies was released, Rob Reiner directed the marvelous Stand By Me (1986), a wonderful film about a group of friends on the road to adulthood. Unlike the boys in The Goonies, the gang in Stand By Me was slightly older and wiser. Their adventure was also slightly darker, slightly more real. Reiner's film also had a heart, soul, and poetic beauty that made me dream and admire its characters. The Goonies never ever made me feel the same way.
Note: In 1986, The Goonies was honored with Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress (Anne Ramsey) by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. The film also won Young Artist Award for Best Starring Performance by a Young Actor - Motion Picture (Sean Astin).
The Goonies Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, encoded with VC-1 and granted a 1080p transfer, Richard Donner's beloved The Goonies makes its debut on Blu-ray via Warner Brothers-UK.
Well, those outside of the Kingdom hoping for a solid release of The Goonies should not be disappointed by Warner's package. This is a clean, very natural looking, and free of artificial sharpening transfer. It certainly reveals a somewhat dated look but all of the basics appear to be intact - contrast is adequate, the color-scheme is natural, and the actual transfer appears free of specks, dust, and debris. This being said, those of you hoping for a sharp transfer with a strong popping look will be disappointed. The film certainly does not support such an appearance, and the Blu-ray transfer does not reveal such a modern look. In fact, during some of the poorly lit scenes (the cave footage in particular), the 1080p transfer enhances the grainy structure of The Goonies tremendously. With other words, the film reveals a type of dated appearance I would be enormously surprised to see mishandled in any future releases. On the other hand, where there is an adequate amount of inconsistent lighting, contrast appears strong, and detail impressive. Finally, I must note that when blown through a digital projector The Goonies retains a good, and overall, tight look. The picture does not break down and contrast, clarity, and color reproduction remain considerably strong. (Note: This is a region-free release, which you will be able to play in your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
The Goonies Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are a number of audio options on this release: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish: Dolby Digital 1.0, and English: Dolby Digital 2.0. For the purpose of this review, I opted for the English Doby TrueHD 5.1 mix.
Folks, this is where The Goonies benefits the most from this Blu-ray release: the audio department. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track Warner have provided is potent and very strong. There is a great deal of activity in the rear channels (the action in the cave offers all sorts of bells and whistles you are likely to have never heard on your SDVDs). From the water splashes to the explosions to the action at the ship, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix delivers. The dialog on the other hand is crystal clear and very easy to follow, and I did not detect and disturbing pop-ups, cracks, or hissings. The soundtrack by Dave Grusin is also well mixed with plenty of depth that anyone familiar with this film will appreciate. Frankly, Warner's audio treatment is very solid. Lastly, the disc also offers French and Spanish dubs. Optional English, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Chinese subtitles are added up as well. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
The Goonies Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: All of the supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc are perfectly playable on North American Blu-ray players and PS3s.
Commentary - in this hilarious commentary director Richard Donner, actors Jonathan Ke Quan (Data), Corey Feldman (Mouth), Sean Astin (Mikey), Kerri Green (Andy), Martha Plimpton (Stef), Jeff Cohen (Chunk), and Josh Brolin (Brand) recall their work on The Goonies, how specific scenes were shot, etc. In English, with optional English SDH, French, Dutch, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles.
Hidden Treasures - a pop-up video version (the director and cast occasionally show up in a small box in the right corner of the screen) of the audio commentary (114 min, 1080p).
The Making of The Goonies - a standard featurette, produced in 1985, in which Richard Donner and Steven Spielberg address the production process. Raw footage from the shooting of the film is also included. In English, with optional English SDH, French, Dutch, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles. (7 min, 480/60i).
Deleted Scenes - a collection of deleted scenes. In English, with optional English SDH, French, Dutch, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles. (7 min, 480/60i).
Music Video - Cindi Lauper's classic video "The Goonies R Good Enough". (13 min, 480/60i).
Trailer - the original theatrical trailer for The Goonies. (3 min, 480/60i).
The Goonies Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
It is difficult for me to criticize The Goonies. I know that it is a beloved by many film, and as far as I am concerned indicative of a time when cinema was a lot more exciting. There is also a veiled sense of innocence in it, which many films could not reproduce after the early 90s. From a purely technical point of view, The Goonies still delivers - the editing is great and so is the pacing, a factor I always thought was incredibly well handled. The story and acting, however, feel very dated. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Warner Brothers-UK, looks and sounds good. It is also Region-Free. RECOMMENDED.
The Goonies: Other Editions
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