Rewind Reviews – The Goonies – Maps, skeletons, caverns and treasure!

Posted on 8 June 2020
By Andrew Siddall
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Inspired by a 1985 movie, many young boys and girls ventured out in search of treasure. In this Rewind Review, we take a look at that movie that still has the power to inspire a sense of adventure and influenced many family films since: The Goonies.

Written by Chris Columbus and Steven Spielberg, and under the direction of Richard Donner, The Goonies sees a group of young misfits discovering an ancient map to the long-lost pirate treasure of One-Eyed Willy and setting out to find it, but soon find themselves in danger when evil thieves known as the Fratellis come looking for the “rich stuff” too.

The Goonies are made up of a group of seven: Mickey (Sean Astin), Brand (Josh Brolin), Mouth (Cory Feldman), Data (Ke Huy Quan), Chunk (Jeff Cohen), Andy (Kerri Green) and Stef (Martha Plimpton).

There’s definitely a few names (or faces) you will recognise, as this is where many of the actors first started working in movies.

The Goonies takes full advantage of its ensemble cast, by giving them each their own unique quirks and skills that each come into play during their adventure. None of them are just there for the sake of it, making each one of them memorable in a way that most ensemble movies can’t.

Arguably, the most iconic character of the movie is Sloth, played by John Matuszak (The Ice Pirates). Disfigured, but lovable, Sloth instantly makes an impact and even gets to say the movies most quotable line. The prosthetics are fantastic, and the performance by Matuszak really brings him to life.

Pursuing the Goonies on their journey are the Fratellis, played by Robert Davi (Die Hard), Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix), and Anne Ramsey (Scrooged) as the mother and leader. They do have considerable threat and can be scary for younger viewers. They are good, and occasionally funny villains that help to raise the stakes.

The story for the film is well crafted. It may have a few elements that appear fantastical, but it approaches the treasure hunt pretty believably. It also establishes the stakes well too, with their homes under threat early on. It does take a while for the actual adventure to start, but all of that time is dedicated to establishing the characters and their dynamic, which is just as fun.

But once the adventure begins, the story properly kicks into gear. Most of the action takes place in caves lit only by candles and lanterns. It feels mysterious and does make the audience wonder what’s in store for the characters.

It’s an adventure movie done well, especially when the characters genuinely want to explore and push the story forward.

Even though it might have distracted from the story, it might have been helpful to have seen a little of what the parents are doing in a scene or two, just to help show what happened after the kids disappear.

One thing that helps enhance the sense of adventure is the sets and locations. There was the possibility of visuals getting rather repetitive, with most of the journey in dark caverns, but each section is completely different from the last. From the creepy skeletal organ to the impressive pirate ship, the choice of locations and detailed work from the set designers is simply fantastic.

The Goonies also makes good use of practical effects too, as well as the occasional green screen effect. The practical stuff holds up brilliantly, but the green screen, not so much.

It wouldn’t be an adventure if there was no peril for the protagonists, and this is full of it. With booby-traps littering their path and the Fratellis hot on their tail, there’s enough of a challenge for the Goonies to struggle on their quest, making the movie more interesting and thrilling as we can never be too sure of the outcome.

To lighten the mood, there is a fair amount of comedy sprinkled throughout. Most of which hits. The comedy is used sparingly, mostly coming from Mouth, Chunk and Data’s inventions, and it does make the film even more fun.

The score was created by Dave Grusin (Random Hearts), who has created a memorable soundtrack that manages to be both fun and mysterious. With a little help by Cyndi Lauper’s The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough, the soundtrack is instantly recognisable and enhances any scene.

The movie made a real impact on families in the 80’s, and that influence The Goonies had on cinema and TV is still being felt today, with movies such as IT (2017) and Netflix’s Stranger Things being prime examples.

Overall, this is a great family adventure movie. It may not be deep, and nor should it be, but it really gets and keeps your attention. With memorable characters, a good story and fantastic sets, this is a movie that audiences of all ages can enjoy.

Purple Revolver rating: 4.5/5. HEY YOU GUYS!