Cards on the table straight away with this one. I never watched The Goonies as a child, so haven’t got the huge sense of nostalgia for it that many people do. I feel there are certain things you have to get into as a child in order to foster a deeper love for it later in life- computer games, professional wrestling and films like The Goonies. If you have a massive affection for The Goonies, don’t worry, I’m not about to slate it or anything, I just wanted to explain why my review could be seen as less enthusiastic and effusive than others.
In the film, we’re introduced to a group of young kids who call themselves “The Goonies”. Our core members are Mikey (Sean Astin), Mouth (Corey Feldman), Data (Ke Huy Quan) and Chunk (Jeff Cohen). With their homes about to be foreclosed, The Goonies hatch a plan to find legendary pirate treasure and save their neighbourhood. They soon run afoul of the villainous Fratelli family who become the biggest obstacle between the gang and the pirate riches.
The teaming of Steven Spielberg, Chris Columbus and Richard Donner is a great one. They collectively know what the younger audience wants and deliver. The genius of The Goonies is that it’s a laser-guided missile aimed at all the stuff kids like. We have a diverse gang that kids will recognise themselves in at least one of them. It has a big treasure hunt as its central premise, packed with humour, warmth and gadgets. It’s the kind of adventure every kid wishes they could go on. It’s the ultimate childish wish fulfilment and I completely understand how it has remained in people’s hearts and minds for thirty years. It’s a pacy little number too, ensuring that the audience won’t get bored. Once our heroes find the first clues whilst messing about in the attic, it’s all high energy until the credits roll.
The Goonies is very much of its time. What was once considered fine for a PG has been bumped up to a 12 for re-releases. The sense of humour can be quite mucky and I was surprised at the number of s-bombs the kids dropped. It can also be quite scary at times and I reckon that modern parents may raise a few eyebrows when it comes to certain scenes. That’s part of the fun though. It’s a secret joke between children. Both the swears and scares do enough to cut through the most of the saccharine. This would have been nigh-on insufferable if all the characters talked in an old-school Disney “golly gee!” kind of way.
My one real gripe with the film is that everything is a little too neat. Despite some doubt over whether the treasure actually exists or not in the beginning, there’s no real question over whether the Goonies are going to find it and there are no proper twists and turns. Even the reveals proving Mikey right don’t have any real power to them as the gang quickly move on to the next thing. There’s not much surprise or unpredictability, which I think is an essential element when it comes to the all-time great childrens’ films.
However, that doesn’t spoil what is a fun film. To quote Cyndi Lauper, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” and it has and will continue to resonate with the younger generations for a long time yet. Recommended, no matter what age you are.
Family, Adventure | USA, 1985 | 12 | Warner Home Video | 9th November 2015 (UK) |Dir.Richard Donner | Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Jonathan Ke Quan |Buy: [Blu-ray]