The Goonies (1985)
Dir: Richard Donner
Story by Steven Spielberg (lots of films, including E.T.). Screenplay by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Harry Potter, Gremlins). Directed by Richard Donner (Superman)…
This was always going to be a big hit with kids!
‘The Goonies’ are a group of youths whose neighbourhood is set to be demolished, and they can’t see any way of having enough money to fight against it. However when they find a pirate map in Mikey’s (Sean Astin) attic, the kids go on an adventure with crooks, booby-traps, and lots of antics in a last desperate hope of saving their homes.
Packed with child stars including Jonathan Ke Quan (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), Corey Feldman (Stand By Me) and a young Josh Brolin (You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger), this is at least fun to watch as a reminder of these people in the 1980’s.
I know I’m now in my mid 20’s and many would consider that I should have seen this many years ago while I was still a kid myself, but somehow I never did, my parents didn’t like it at all and never put it on, even turning it off when I tried. I have however known of it, especially with hugely famous elements such as the ‘Truffle Shuffle’.
What surprised me quite a bit was that this contains some really mature jokes and drug references, things that now would be either veiled more nowadays and not as blatantly clear as they are here, or kept to films of a higher rating. This was a PG (UK and USA) when released, interestingly re-rated recently in the UK to a 12 (similar to a PG-13) for the home media market. Donner and Spielberg were clearly not aiming so much for the whole family audience, but more for groups of kids going to the cinema on their own as entertainment in the summer school holidays.
It’s obvious from their wealth of experience and success that Donner, Spielberg and Columbus know what appeals to a youth audience, and apparently certain things are enduringly appealing as this film has had continued success for 28 years.
It is a fun adventure story, with the gross-out humour and well-considered levels of threat and peril that doesn’t overly soften the story so as to make it dull,but rather to appeal exactly to the target audience.
As stated, I’m about 10 to 15 years older than the key demographic, and don’t have the history with the film that many people my age and older do of having seen it at the perfect age and now holding it dear as a childhood memory, yet I still enjoyed it quite a lot. Admittedly possibly more for the people-spotting, such as a young Martha Plimpton, but also as the fun adventure that it is.
The people behind this clearly had a plan in mind, of taking childhood fantasies of adventure with caves,pirates, baddies, gadgets,and all your bed friend including a loveable fat kid, and rolling it all together into something that hasn’t aged anywhere near as badly as a lot from the 80’s, and that would be so enjoyed by groups of kids together that would stick in their mind and later want to pass on to their own children many years later.
When I have kids I will probably let them watch this, unlike my parents did with me.