The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985)
A band of young boys find a treasure map and embark on a magical adventure.
Strong from the succes of E.T. : the Extra-Terrestrial, Steven Spielberg who is credited as executive producer and for the story of The Goonies, went on to produce Gremlins, Poltergeist and Back to the Future. Family movies that each had different levels of success. As The Goonies director, Richard Donner (original Superman franchise) was nice fit for the children play of no harm and full adventure. In fact, The Goonies is more like a play on Raiders of the Lost Ark for children without the edge that the Harrison Ford vehicule would carry.
It is also a case of film that targets a certain age and may speak to them. The targeted audience in this case is young preteen boys. Or if I want to be a bad mouth, the mental age of some of the comic book guy you would find in a comic book store. And by that, I think of an enthusiast Steven Spielberg’s towards this second class entertainment.
Second class, indeed, because everything is fake, the sets, the blue water, the acting, the blend of « cool » characters and annoying brats, the Asian Inspector Gadget and the over the top bold bad guys. The exterior scenes are those who have the best potential and give a break to the rest of the production. We are thousands of miles away from Raiders of the Lost Ark and still it feels like The Goonies wants so bad to be as good. However, it is too thin as a story and too impossible. As a kid, I know, I would have bored to death by this. Spielberg’s work as a producer has never been as interesting as his work as a director. Except for Back to the Future.
By saying all this I know I would hurt many people who vow a cult to this and I’m not casting my contempt on them, well a little. But, I can understand how a childhood memory can be hard to get criticized. Let’s call a cow a cow.
To me, The Goonies is a product made to appeal to kids and especially little boys who like to be taken into fantastic stories. Lately, I’ve watched The Princess Bride and reviewed it quite favorably but with a certain hold. With The Goonies I’m sure it is clear that I didn’t liked the film and felt it was too long, annoying, and took children for simple minded individuals. And I really hate when I feel a movie or the moviemakers take me for an idiot.