Some kids had Star Wars. I had The Goonies.
As iconic an 80s film as, surely, it’s possible to find, it’s a quite brilliant action adventure, and very, very funny too. Heck, I never had an urge to go and fight Darth Vader as a kid, but I damn sure wanted to be one of those kids heading off on an adventure to find One Eyed Willy’s treasure.
Directed by Richard Donner, and starring a predominantly young cast of adventures, The Goonies is that rarest of things – a kids action movie, with broader appeal, that doesn’t talk down to its target audience. The catalyst for it is the discovery of a treasure map, which jolts Mikey (played by Sean Astin) and his pals (including older brother Josh Brolin) off on the hunt for it, hopefully to save his parents’ house from being taken away.
It doesn’t take long, though, to encounter the Fratelli family, led by the quite brilliant, late, Anne Ramsey, and also featuring future Bond villain, Robert Davi. They, combined with the tests that the treasure hunt presents, add up to quite a challenge for the young stars.
And yet they’re up to it, in a film that gives them a plethora of classic scenes to work through. We’ve got Mouth (played by Corey Feldman) doing translation work for the new housekeeper. We’ve got Chunk (played by Jeff Cohen) doing the infamous truffle shuffle. Then there’s Data (Jonathan Ke Quan) with his brilliant, and often-failing, gadgets). The kiss with Andy (where are you, Kerri Green?). And arguably the best scene of the lot, where the Fratellis interrogate Chunk, as he reveals the worst thing he ever did. It’s genius, and the kind of film that never gets tired of being rewatched.
So how does the Blu-ray fare? Quite well, as it happens. It ports across extras from the DVD release, including the excellent group commentary, and the music video. That said, there’s nothing new in the supplements that you won’t have found before.
But there’s some decent work done on the transfer of the film itself, most notably the surprisingly active audio mix. Presented with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix, the film’s soundstage is more expansive here than we remember from the DVD edition, and all the better for it. The picture doesn’t quite match the same standards, and you’re in little doubt that it’s an 80s movie that you’re watching. It seems quite soft and a little faded in comparison to more modern fare. We couldn’t spot any blemishes or dust, and it’s a solid enough transfer, but it’s not a hefty upgrade.
Thus, The Goonies Blu-ray isn’t a must-have for an owner of the strong special edition DVD. It does have some presentational advantages to it, and if you’ve got the audio equipment to make the most of it, then fair enough. In its favour, it’s quite competitively priced, though, and when push comes to proverbial shove, it is, after all, The Goonies on that disc. And this is the best edition of the movie to enjoy at home right now.