I’ll admit that years later there are certainly parts of the film that are cheesy, lines that come off corny, and acting that feels stilted. But if you dwell too much on realism or logic in a movie filled with elaborate Rube-Goldberg pirate traps and an Asian kid strapped with gadgets like a living cartoon, than you may be out of your comfort zone. This is an adventure movie and a family film in the broad, grandiose tradition of the 1980s, carefree and reveling as a product of its time—a time when kids could act like real kids (cursing included) and there could be darker subject matter and adult themes in family movies. And THE GOONIES doesn’t hold back. The treasure hunting aspect is thrilling with a number of memorable set pieces and moments. And the Fratellis make for some scary villains, the kind that you believe would actually kill children.
The young cast is also lighting in a bottle, not only for the talent they all display but also for their immeasurable chemistry together. The four main kids just feel effortless as a group, as if they’ve really been friends for years and their personalities still shine through even when they’re the manically yelling over top each other. There’s little moments of humor, funny reactions, and line readings that I can’t imagine working with any other group of actors. And yes, you’ll see the work of a young Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, and Corey Feldman but special mention goes to Jeff Cohen who played Chunk, which could’ve been a very annoying, one note character yet emerges in to a relatable and likable half of a very odd couple.
Along those lines, the addition and execution of Sloth is a great example of the kind of creative and unique touch that’s helped the film to live on. THE GOONIES would’ve been completely fine as a movie without the character, but the bizarre existence of a “creature,” apparently just a guy who was dropped as a baby, isn’t really an obvious choice to be the emotional knockout punch to the movie, yet still adds something inexplicably endearing to the proceedings. I don’t know anybody from my generation with a functioning circulatory system that doesn’t feel utter joy when Sloth emerges triumphantly in the end, Superman shirt blazing amidst John William’s iconic score, to save the day.
Is that nostalgia? Probably in some small way. But if you can’t at least see why these qualities appeal to so many people, than you’re not Goonie material.
Commentary by director Richard Donner and the cast: Taken from the previous DVD release, all seven grown up Goonies turn up for this and the result is one of my favorite commentary tracks ever. It’s obvious everyone’s having a blast rewatching the film and reminiscing and their chemistry is again apparent with the constant jokes and complete lack of silence for the entire two hours. A lot of great trivia and stories are shared, some that are even new to everyone else; just make sure to pay attention as there’s naturally lots of people talking over each other.
Hidden Treasures: You can watch the same commentary above but in sporadic video pop ups that show the cast hanging out in the studio. Not only is it fun to see what everyone looks like now, but watching everyone talk helps you discern who’s saying what in a very busy track.
The Making of THE GOONIES (6:49): It’s fun to see not only the kids, but also a very young Steven Spielberg on set in this original 1985 piece. There’s some nice vintage behind the scenes footage from the more iconic scenes, as well as interviews with cast and crew, including Anne Ramsey who seems like the opposite of her onscreen persona. Directed by future horror filmmaker Mick Garris, this has the feel of a PR publicity video, but a really well done and entertaining one.
Additional Footage (6:53): Three scenes, including more set up that shows the group as social outcasts, more Data gadgetry, and the long awaited giant octopus scene that’s mentioned at the end by Chunk but was cut out.
You also get the Cyndi Lauper music video for “The Goonies 'R' Good Enough” and a Theatrical Trailer.
Extra Tidbit: The actor that played Chunk had chicken pox when he filmed the truffle shuffle scene. If you pause the Blu-Ray you can actually see them