DIRECTOR: Richard Donner
I first watched this seminal 80’s classic in 1988, when it first appeared on TV and I was blown away by it. I was 10, roughly the same age as the lads and here was a film with a raucous sense of humour, strong child characters and large-scale plot which has made this film a multi-generational classic, with our parents, us as parents and our children all investing in the spirit of adventure of The Goonies.
Named after the Goon Docks of which they inhabit, a group of kids, after finding a treasure map, decide that this is their last chance to save the town, which is to knocked down in favour of a Country Club. This leads them on an adventure through the booby-trapped underground catacombs of the town, as they follow the map to One Eyed Willie’s treasure.
They get mixed up with the Fratelli’s, a matriarchal crime family who get wind of the treasure and follows them into the caves.
The first ting that struck me about this, is after all these years what that it was still fun, enjoyable and even though I might not bother watching by myself, I would defiantly enjoy seeing again with the right audience. The raucous nature of a group of children together in a room is captured so expertly here, with a young Sean Austin, now famous for his portrayal of Samwise Gamgee in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, holding the pack together; but the chaos is portrayed perfectly.
The language is good here too, with casual swearing amongst the kids, meaning that this must be one of the rare family films to truly capture the interplay between tweenage and teenage kids. Overall, this is a classic for all the right reasons, with the story by Steven Spielberg with only goes to further reinforce his status as one of Hollywood’s greatest visionaries and a sharp, tight screenplay by Chris Columbus, who penned Gremlins the previous year and went on to direct the first two, but the weakest two Harry Potter movies.
There is also the questionable issue of the way that the Fratelli’s treat Chunk. When you think about it he is threatened with torture after being kidnaped and spending time with the murdered corpse of two ‘Feds’ who have been shot in the head, murdered in cold blood.
I love this, treating the horror in a mature way, allowing it to used as humour but in a way to playfully scare kids, which it does. It is fun, but I do wonder where the PC brigade would let some of these plot points go in to a child friendly romp in 2011? I hope so, as it is the combination of elements that made this film what it is today.