I will never betray my Goon Dock friends, We will stick together until the whole world ends, Through heaven and hell and nuclear war, Good pals like us will stick like tar. In the city or the country or the forest or the boonies, I am proudly declared one of the Goonies.
If ever there was a film that had timeless charm it’s Richard Donner’s The Goonies. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that the Spielberg and Chris Columbus scribed adventure comedy was made a whole three decades ago (to put it into context, it came out a year after Gremlins and the year before Top Gun). There’s likely an entire generation of people who haven’t ever watched this cult classic, possibly never even heard of it either, a travesty in the eyes of Goonies everywhere.
Now, as the film celebrates its 30th anniversary, Warner Bros. have released a special Collector’s Edition, bringing nostalgia to those of us who grew up dreaming of treasure maps and pirate ships, and new-found delight to the youngsters who have yet to discover what it means to utter the words “Goonies never say die”.Starring a young Sean Astin (that’s Samwise Gamgee to basically everyone), Corey Feldman and Josh Brolin, The Goonies follows a group of kids from Oregon who discover a tattered Spanish treasure map and embark on an underground quest to find One Eyed Willy’s golden doubloons. With the threat of foreclosure on their homes, these young adventurers have nothing and everything to lose. Stumbling through caves and secret passages, the Goonies have to dodge life threatening booby-traps and the skeletons of explorers who never lived to tell the tale, all the while being pursued by the dastardly Fratelli family, who are after the treasure themselves.
From the first scene – where opera singing Jake Fratelli breaks out of prison with the help of his bumbling brother and Mama – to the heart-warming final moments, The Goonies is every bit the swashbuckling adventure all kids yearn for. It’s not just the outrageous adventure that makes this film so fun to watch though. These ragtag kids are witty, sarcastic and partial to the odd swear word; the actors, all so young at the time, display a flawless mix of youthful naivety and maturity, each of them loveable in their own way. Whether it’s Chunk’s confession under Fratelli interrogation or Mouth’s fabricated Spanish translation, the comic timing is perfection.The baddies might be caricature villains but it’s their blundering nature that makes them such a joy to watch. The beating heart of the film, however, is a mild-mannered monster of a man who truly epitomises the phrase ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Just you try not to break out in a smile when Sloth rips open his shirt and reveals his superhero t-shirt.
To me, The Goonies has a rare kind of magic found only in family adventure films like Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me and, to a lesser degree because of the sci-fi element, J.J. Abrams’ Super 8. They don’t need complex storylines or real life villains because they have hope, heart and a sense of childlike fun that’s appealing to everyone, no matter what their age. The Goonies really is a treasure trove of a film that, simply put, never gets old.I first watched it on VHS – remember those? – and the quality left much to be desired by today’s standards. With an HD revamp, the film looks better than ever, making the extra cash splashed on Blu-Ray worth every penny. The 30th Anniversary Edition also contains collector’s merchandise including a souvenir ‘making of’ magazine, art cards and an Empire ‘Cast – Where Are They Now’ feature. With Christmas coming up, it’s the perfect gift for any Goonie.
The Goonies Special 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray is released on 9 November 2015.