[Fresh on 4K] ‘THE GOONIES’ a new rendering that’s more of a booby trap than a treasure


Connor Bynum // Film Critic


Rated PG, 114 minutes.
Director: Richard Donner
Cast: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Ke Huy Quan, John Matuszak, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano and Anne Ramsey
Now available on 4K Ultra HD.

Following the 35th Anniversary release of GREMLINS last year, Warner Bros gives the same treatment to another iconic generational classic in 4K UHD… THE GOONIES. Yet unlike with GREMLINS, fans may want to think twice about double-dipping for this one.

Movie Grade: C+

THE GOONIES follows a quirky gang of young neighborhood friends who go on a grand adventure to discover the lost treasure of legendary pirate, One-Eyed Willy, to stop the bank from foreclosing on their homes. However, after running into the Fratellis crime family, their dangerous journey becomes a treacherous race to escape with the treasure and their lives.

Like many beloved classics from the 1980s, THE GOONIES features a unique combination of endearing charm and cringe-inducing campiness. Fans of the film will likely view it with unconditional nostalgia, while viewers who somehow missed it until now will often fail to see why people like this movie so much in the first place. Admittedly, it is amusing to see celebrities like Sean Astin (THE LORD OF THE RINGS) and Josh Brolin (AVENGERS: ENDGAME) acting their hearts out in the early days of their careers. The practical sets paired with matte paintings offer a sense of heartwarming simplicity long removed from big Hollywood movies of today. 

With all of that out of the way, I have to say, I ultimately do not care for this movie. Diehard fans will love this movie for nostalgia alone, and no review will change their minds. Perhaps having a handful of youngsters gathered around the TV might result in a better experience for the grown-ups in the room, but THE GOONIES will more likely leave the parents feeling old rather than young again.

Video/Audio Grade: B-

Unlike many Warner Bros 4K releases in recent memory, the film is derived from a native 4K digital intermediate. Despite the native resolution providing some improvements in details like set dressing and hair textures, the film’s visuals feel tonally muted and bland. Much of the film’s scenes in the daylight are shot with overcast skies, and even home interiors feel overwhelmingly dull. Meanwhile, the scenes in the latter half of the film that are primarily underground in dark caves and tunnels have little to work with as little can already be seen in the first place. The iconic pirate ship also comes across as visually washed out, which is a shame considering how impressed the actors appear to be with the notoriously practical set. 

The inclusion of HDR-10 provides a somewhat mixed bag of improvements as well. Costume colors and candle flames fare quite nicely with the increased color spectrum. Still, many instances in the darker scenes are bogged down with unintentional purple clouding due to poor compression. This effect can be seen at its worst when a swarm of bats attacks the children. The rotoscoping used to comp in the bats is painfully obvious due to the inconsistent lighting on the bats that were added in over footage of the kids reacting to their own imaginations. 

The same DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track is a slight improvement over the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix from the 2010 Blu-ray release, although some would consider it a lateral change rather than an upgrade. There are definitely some fun moments in this mix that make abundant use of the front and rear left and right channels like the aforementioned bats scene and especially during the initial journey through the tunnels. Water trickles and damp cave sounds are in full swing during these moments, and the immersion is undeniably cool. 

Extras Grade: C

There are no features on the 4K disc. The bonus material found on the included 1080p Blu-ray is the same as what was released for the 2010 25th Anniversary Blu-ray, so fans hoping for any new trips down memory lane or even an upscaling for the features to 4K will be disappointed. There is also a digital copy code included in the case.

Included special features listed below:

  • Cast Audio Commentary
  • Hidden Treasures Pop-Up Track
  • “The Making of The Goonies” Vintage Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cyndi Lauper Music Video – “The Goonies R Good Enough”
  • Theatrical Trailer

Final Grade: C+

Much like GREMLINS, THE GOONIES will have a hard time winning any new fans with this 4K release. Existing lovers of the film will likely be disappointed with the lackluster improvements and overall lack of fresh bonus content, while newcomers should probably spend their money elsewhere.

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