TBT – Goonies (1985)

30 years, anniversary, family, review, TBT
On June 7ththis year the classic ’80s movie The Goonies celebrated it’s 30th anniversary. Now who doesn’t love The Goonies? It’s the kind of film that will appeal to anyone with a sense of adventure and fun. A great watch for all the kids out there that still believe in Pirates and all the adults that used to. I can’t put into words how much I love The Goonies, which considering I’ve made it the subject of this TBT post is a fucking disaster. It never gets old and I will never be too old to enjoy it. It still has such a huge impact on my life. I mean it gave the name to one of my favourite online retailers. I work with a guy who does his own version of the Truffle Shuffle to cheer me up… which definitely isn’t as mean as it sounds. He loves it. I swear. From the first time I watched this film I knew I was a Goonie and 30 years on it’s still worth celebrating.

Richard Donner’s 1985 family adventure film follows an intrepid band of misfits as they go to desperate measures to save their town. How? By following the ancient treasure map of One-Eyed Willie to his secret Pirate bounty. Following the clues, they stumble across the hideout of runaway criminal family, the Fratellis, and find themselves trying to outwit them as well as the Pirate’s dangerous booby traps. Will the young friends find Willie’s gold and will they survive long enough to help their families?
In terms of narrative, The Goonies isn’t exactly revolutionary but there is enough excitement jammed into it to keep everyone happy. Visually there is a great deal to keep an audience engrossed and plenty of references to other films to give adults a fun game to play. The narrative moves at breakneck speed and offers more than enough thrills for your money. With plenty of rolling boulders, deadly spikes and collapsing walkways for the youngsters to work their way around, it’s edge of your seat kind of stuff. The greatest sequence by far has to be the moment the group cascade down an exhilarating waterslide into an underground cave. It’s a fucking stunning reveal.
It’s an almost exhausting experience to watch this film because there is so much enfolding on screen. The group themselves are loud and speak over each other constantly. It can be confusing at times but adds a certain amount of realism to proceedings. The Goonies themselves may fall into Hollywood clichés but they still feel very real. The kids are all likeable and funny; the actors deal with all of the absurd situations wonderfully and have enough passion to make it work. Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus’s script captures youth incredibly well and creates characters that feels natural.
Obviously, there are some issues of stereotyping when it comes to the token Asian techno-wiz, the put-upon chubby kid and the pathetic girls who are only included to be romantic interests and damsels in distress. Yes, there are problems with the characters but ultimately their message is worthwhile. They are a ragtag bunch of kids who have been overlooked by everyone. This is a film that shows their loyalty to each other and their determination to help their town. I can forgive a certain amount of lazy characterisation when they are so bloody inspiring.
I can see why a lot of people might not love this film. I have to admit that it hasn’t aged as well as other films of the time. There are a lot of dated references and the special effects are obviously nothing in comparison to the latest blockbusters. However, The Goonies is more than that. It’s a film about unlikely heroes having the kind of adventure we all wanted when we were kids. It’s one long fantasy sequence that you can’t help but get caught up in. Once you’re subjected to the Goonie’s endless spirit, you’re right their with them. Because this is our time.
The Gooniesmay not be the best film you’ll ever see but it will live on forever. Nobody will every be able to kill its spirit. After all, Goonies never say die.

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