The Goonies

The Goonies (1985)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Joe Pantoliano, Sean Astin
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Music Video, Trailer, Board Game, Booklets and more

Celebrating the movie's 25th anniversary, Warner Home Video has just released a beautiful Blu-Ray version of "The Goonies, " bringing this awesomely inspired adventure film to high definition for the first time. Written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner, this movie is a family classic from the 80s and certainly this film deserves nothing but the best. No wonder I was eager to check out this release when it landed on my desk and filled with anticipation I gave this Blu-Ray Disc from Warner Home Video a thorough check-up.

A group of suburban children are desperate for some adventure. Riding bikes and watching TV just doesn't cut it any more, so while going through long forgotten stuff in the attic, they find a map – the map to a hidden treasure of One-Eyed Willie, a mysterious pirate. Smelling the adventure of a lifetime, they immediately set afoot to uncover the treasure and find themselves in a rambunctious adventure that is no mere child's play. Chased by criminals, exploring underground tunnels larded with deadly boobie traps they slowly make their way towards their goal – to find One-Eyed Willie's hidden pirate ship with all its treasures.

Full of funny moments and great action, "The Goonies" is a film you simply have to fall in love with. It is an adolescent dream come to life, filled with all the elements that make up a young boy's (and girl's?) imagination. Treasures, pirates, traps, danger, monsters, fear – you name it; all the bases are covered.
But "The Goonies" also has a very sumptuous visual style, which makes it very appealing. Shot in widescreen and making conscious use of the wide framing, the image is beautifully composed at any time. Elaborate details in the background, haunting lighting and cool set pieces set this film apart from most other comparable fare. The acting is good throughout – given the age of the cast, especially – and there are some truly terse and touching moments in the film, full of emotion and suspended disbelief. In a word, "The Goonies" is a great and wildly entertaining film!

Warner Home Video is releasing "The Goonies" in a beautiful 1080p high definition transfer on this 25th Anniversary Edition. Correctly framed at the movie's 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio, the presentation has a richness and a level of detail that is beautiful to behold. The print is free of defects and no scratches or speckles mar the film, and without noise or other problems, it guarantees a clean and clear presentation throughout that makes the most out of the high definition format. Colors are beautifully rendered, bringing the atmospheric imagery of the movie to beautiful live with strong hues. The colors are never oversaturated though, and always render a natural-looking image that is firmly rooted. Blacks are deep and solid while the shadows are perfectly delineated, creating sharp edges that enhanced the high definition look of the movie without ever feeling artificial.

"The Goonies" comes with a variety of audio tracks, lead by a beautiful 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD mix. This track is highly directional and makes very good use of the entire speaker set-up. Active surround usage creates an immersive surround field and a solid sonic spread in the front creates a wide sound stage that makes "The Goonies" a wonderful experience. The frequency response is very good, reproducing the highest end of the spectrum without hiss, distortion or sibilance, while giving the lower end a dynamic and powerful extension. The overall dynamics of the track are also very good, making it possible to distinguish even the most subtle arrangement in the string section during low volume scenes, but at the same time leaving plenty of headroom to make a powerful impact during the high volume moments.
Dialogues are extremely well integrated and remain understandable at all times, without ever being drowned out by the music or the sound effects.

Arriving in a large packaging, this Special Edition includes not only the movie but also a solid number of bonus materials, including an entire Goonies board game and various booklets, such as a reproduction of the original 1985 souvenir magazine and a reprint of Empire magazines lengthy "Where are they now?" article. For the real movie buffs among you, 10 cardboard cards featuring original storyboards from the movie are also packed in this box.

Among the digital extras, the release also contains the commentary track from the DVD version, featuring director Richard Donner along with all seven Goonies – who have matured quite a bit. The track is spiced up with a Hidden Video Treasure option, which turns it into a picture-in-picture commentary track, giving you the chance to watch the cast members during the commentary in select locations. The commentary itself is very entertaining, although only marginally informative in technical terms. While the participants are eager to share anecdotes about the making of the film and reminisce about their pranks and problems on the set, little to nothing is revealed in terms of how the film was actually made – apart from a few references to stunt scenes and more or less "dangerous" moments.

The disc also contains the original 7-minute "Making Of" promo featurette that was produced when the film was originally released. Featuring some interviews and lots of behind-the-scenes footage, the featurette is an exciting addition that gives viewers a glimpse at how hard it must have been to coordinate and wrangle a bunch of seven rascals to make a big budget movie such as this. While again it does not reveal any technical information, it is an entertaining segment well worth watching.

Outtakes, which are three deleted scenes, are also included, assembled together, including the infamous Octopus scene. Upon watching them it is obvious why they have been deleted. The octopus scene doesn't work and borders on the ridiculous, while the other scenes don't add anything to the film. Still, they are fun to see and certainly make a great addition to the disc.

Cyndi Lauper's music videos for "Goonies 'R' Good Enough" rounds out the release with a good dose of nostalgia. Presented in two separate music videos, this is one of those a rare videos that go beyond the typical song 'n' dance approach. It is basically a 12-minute "Goonies" short film with musical interludes, featuring Cyndi Lauper, Steven Spielberg, Andre The Giant, "Rowdy" Roddie Piper and the principal cast of "The Goonies" as well as sets and props from the film, larded with footage from the actual movie. It is a fun romp and since chances are you haven't seen it in 15 years or more, this is a phenomenal time-capsule addition to the disc. Don't miss to check this extra out, even if you typically don't care much for music videos.

"The Goonies" is a great adventure movie for children and grown-ups alike and this Blu-Ray version is a presentation befitting kings. The supplements are entertaining and clearly targeted at average viewers, which is absolutely appropriate for this particular release. Available in the gift set version, as well as without the wonderful printed extras, either version of the disc is a true gem and deserves to make it into any Blu-Ray owner's collection. Too bad they just don't make movies like this one any more.