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THE GOONIES ($25) is probably one of the best "kid’s movies" ever produced, which is why it has a strong following of fans that had been vocally clamoring for it to be released on DVD. Actually, I had never seen THE GOONIES until the DVD had shown up on my doorstep. However, after viewing the film I could understand why so many people wanted to see this Richard Donner / Steven Spielberg collaboration released on DVD. In a nutshell, THE GOONIES is a whole heck of a lot of fun- it’s filled with thrills and chills, plus a good deal of slapstick humor that will appeal to the kids of every age.

The plot of THE GOONIES revolves around a group of young friends, dubbed The Goonies, that are being forced to move out of their Oceanside neighborhood by a money grubbing developer that wants to use the land to cater to an upscale clientele. However, before The Goonies leave their homes for good, they set off on one final adventure. After finding a map that they believe shows the location of a hidden pirate treasure, The Goonies go in search of the gold in an effort to save their homes. Unfortunately, not only do our young heroes have to deal with deadly booby traps left by the pirates in the caves beneath the town, The Goonies also have to square off against a family of desperate bank robbers, who also want to get their hands on the treasure. The engaging cast of THE GOONIES features Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Ke Huy Quan, John Matuszak, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano and Anne Ramsey.

Warner Home Video has made THE GOONIES available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Overall, the transfer is very good, although one can still tell that THE GOONIES is a product of the mid 1980s. The motion picture film stock used back then has a somewhat different look than newer stocks, which are more sensitive in low light situations and produce more vivid colors. Don’t get me wrong the image on the DVD is very appealing, it just doesn’t "snap" the way that newer movies do. In fact, the picture is quite crisp and there is always more than a respectable amount of detail. Depending upon the lighting, the colors can be quite vividly saturated, although they never "pop off the screen" as they sometimes do in newer movies. Flesh tones are usually very appealing, although in some of the overcast outdoor scenes they come across as a little pale. There are no problems with chroma noise or smearing during the presentation. Blacks are solidly rendered, although shadow detail is a bit reserved in places. The print element used for the transfer is pretty much free from blemishes and apparent film grain. Clean dual layer authoring keeps digital compression artifacts from becoming noticeable.

For this release, THE GOONIES is offered with a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Bearing in mind the action/adventure elements of the story, THE GOONIES has a rock ‘em sock ‘em sound mix that can be pretty aggressive. There is very clean channel separation across the forward soundstage and there is plenty of activity in the rear channels, although I couldn’t detect any split surround deployment. The sound itself has a very clean and open quality, which keeps the track from sound as old as it is. Obviously a lot of care went into the original sound recordings for THE GOONIES. Dialogue is always completely understandable and the actors’ voices sound natural. The bass channel is fairly potent, which will give one’s subwoofer the opportunity to shake up the listening environment from time to time. English and French surround, plus a Spanish monaural soundtrack have also been encoded onto the DVD. Subtitles are provided in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Clever animation and sound serve to enhanced the DVD’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few nice supplements. Topping things off is an audio commentary featuring director Richard Donner along with the seven actors that portrayed The Goonies. The commentary is video enhanced and during the course of the track, the video feed for the film drops down into a small window, giving the viewer a chance to see the actors and the director talk about the film. While the commentary is highly entertaining and will appeal to fans of the film, it is very light on technical details of how the movie was made. Also included on the DVD is a short, but entertaining, making of documentary produced for the film’s release back in 1985. Cyndi Lauper’s music videos for the song Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough is also present on the DVD. This two-part video is a hoot to watch because it is so absolutely goofy and utterly cheesy- see if you can name all the old wrestlers that make appearances in the video. Closing out the supplements are the three deleted scenes, plus a theatrical trailer.

THE GOONIES is a delightful comic adventure that will appeal to the kids and everyone who is young at heart. Warner has produced great looking and sounding DVD that does complete justice to enjoyable film. Fans will definitely want to own a copy of THE GOONIES on DVD.


The Goonies


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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