Dave and Rachel's movie reviews.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Goonies

Year: 1985
Running time: 114 minutes
Certificate: 12
Language: English
Screenplay: Chris Columbus
Director: Richard Donner
Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Jonathan Ke Quan, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano, Anne Ramsey, John Matuszak

Mouth still hadn't realised the map was upside down.
There are many films that you remember fondly from your childhood, but a good percentage of them aren’t so wonderful when you revisit them in later life. Fortunately, The Goonies is one film definitely not in that camp. It's great fun right from the off, with intro music that catches the mood of the period exactly (somehow the film feels stranded in its 80s time period and yet is still timeless) sound-tracking great introductions to our main characters.

A group of kids are soon to be evicted from their homes by evil developers and only a big pile of money coming from nowhere will save them. After finding an old treasure map, they decide to go on an adventure in the very best Spielberg tradition, but the criminal Fratelli family - Mama (Anne Ramsey), Jake (Robert Davi) and Francis (Joe Pantoliano) - are giving chase.

The scenes of the central cast together are buzzing with a natural comedic energy that only kids having fun have, going off at bizarre tangents, but the plot still races along like it’s on rails.  Every one of the characters, with the unfortunate exception of the girls Andy (Kerri Green) and Stef (Martha Plimpton), who are there mostly to scream and kiss, is a gem, but in particular it is Mouth (Corey Feldman) and Chunk (Jeff Cohen) who stand out as the comedy highlights – witness the ‘translation’ of simple house-keeping instructions into Spanish (not real Spanish, but, hey, it's a kids comedy/adventure/fantasy movie, accuracy be damned!) and a well-timed Marx Brothers-esque line by Mouth and the time when Chunk is locked in the freezer with a corpse, or he tells the Fratellis everything, culminating in a genius confession of a time when young Chunk had fun with some fake vomit. These were talented youngsters to have such outstanding comic timing and delivery.
One-Eyed Willie was proving a poor choice of dinner guest.

The central character of Mikey, played by a young Sean ‘Samwise Gamgee’ Astin is a little less convincing, but still, as Cyndi Lauper might say, good enough. The more sombre moments don’t come across as well as the comedy, with the exception of Corey Feldman’s Mouth, who is surprisingly effective when he turns off the laughs and reveals the disillusioned kid underneath who’s bitter about losing his home and effectively his childhood before he was ready.

On top of everything, the character of Sloth (John Matuszak) is simply a masterstroke – what kid could fail to love this neglected, ice-cream and chocolate-loving giant? The gang finally make their way to the X on the map, realised by an impressively large set filled with water and a huge pirate ship captained by the skeleton of One-Eyed Willie himself, where the showdown with the Fratellis takes place (complete with another great physical gag from Feldman who, thanks to some clever cutting, appears to have a mouth that can hold enormous quantities of treasure).

Huge fun and a childhood classic (depending on your age, obviously) that has never lost its touch.

Score: 8/10

As you might expect, the strong streak of nostalgia mixed with the quality of the mood and cast chemistry makes The Goonies well loved out there - see these reviews by Samuel and Mat.