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“The Goonies: 25th Anniversary Edition” {Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
11/02/10
Special Features:

Commentary, pop up “treasures”, outtakes, theatrical trailer, music video, deluxe packaging Rated: PG

Review:

I need to state my bias upfront; I’m not a fan of writer/director/producer Chris Columbus. As a writer with some guidance, he’s not bad but most of his stuff falls into the category of ordinary, poorly plotted clichéd filmmaking. In fact the first couple of “Harry Potter” films are so generic they might have been made for TV by a very, very ordinary director. The only thing that keeps those films afloat is the magic of the books themselves and performances (admittedly he did coax good performances from the child actors at the time). His films are to paraphrase John Lennon, “thick and ordinary” compared to his mentor at the time Steven Spielberg. Columbus tends to represent the WORST instincts of Spielberg without those rare moments of insight, cinematic brilliance or dramatic weight that make even his weakest films somewhat worthwhile. ***

Working with a talented technical director like Richard Donner MIGHT have worked for “The Goonies” if Donner had a better sense as a storyteller himself—he’s great at directing other people’s well written scripts but rarely comes up with anything inspired if the script itself is weak. Putting Donner behind the camera for “The Goonies” wouldn’t have been a mistake (because he’s great at working with actors and has a nice visual sense as a director) IF the writer were better but it isn’t and there’s A LOT wrong with “The Goonies”. The only thing right about the film is Donner’s direction which tries to whip create magic with very ordinary materials and a poorly thought out plot/characterizations (particularly for the villains of the film). At the time “The Goonies” was made Spielberg was all over the place (much as J. J. Abrams is now) resulting in diluted efforts both as a director and producer and, unlike “Back to the Future”, “The Goonies” didn’t have a solid writer putting together the material allowing Spielberg to chip away at and hone the material to fit his style. ***

If I’ve just trashed a childhood favorite I apologize but I believe aside from the solid sense of nostalgia that would drive you back to viewing “The Goonies” to quote Gertrude Stein “there’s no there there”. The film lacks substance and is little more than a collection of plot contrivances dreamed up around specific action sequences. For Hitchcock this worked because he often worked with the best writers of the day and usually had a solid story to form the backbone of the screenplay. As escapist material, viewers could do much worse than “The Goonies” but not by much as the film quickly sinks. ***

A film about a group of friends who homes are threatened and discover a map for hidden treasure, goofy incompetent villains, a hidden cove with a pirate ship and a “monster” who turns out to be a big friendly goof, “The Goonies” arrives with some nice extras and a nice looking transfer that although hardly earth shattering, looks decent enough on Blu-ray. ---

Image & Sound:

“The Goonies” receives a relatively clean looking transfer with solid colors throughout and nice skin tones. The film looks a bit soft but that could come down to the choices made by the cinematographer and there’s no noticeable edge enhancement nor any excessive DNR applied. Grain management is nicely done allowing the film-quality in the form of small grain to remain intact. It’s not a perfect presentation but certainly adequate. ***

Audio sounds quite good with a nice 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless audio track with clear dialogue and nice directional effects.

Special Features:

The deluxe packaging is nice for those who want a collectable but for everyone else it’s kind of a waste of money. The cardboard packaging opens up to a map similar to the one from the film, a reproduction of the 1985 magazine put out to help promote the film, 10 storyboard reproductions. The discs are housed in a traditional Blu-ray case. ***

Director Richard Donner is joined by some of the cast members on the commentary track and it’s enjoyable with some nice stories about shooting the film. If I recall correctly, the commentary track was on the DVD edition. ***

We also get “Hidden Video Treasures” a clever conceit cleverly titled that allows video pip’s to appear with comments about the film. These are new to this set. ***

“The Making of the Goonies” is a a vintage promotional piece. ***

We get outtakes, Cyndi Pauper’s music video and the theatrical trailer are included as well. None of the extras is in HD

Final Words:

A nice set that isn’t essential, “The Goonies” looks good but could have used more extras.

 

 
 
 
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