What do you get when kids are left to their own devices, and decide to go on a treasure hunt, using a map they found while rummaging around in the attic? You get The Goonies, a rambunctious, noisy, pirate-themed treasure-hunt action-fantasy that almost everyone seems to love.
This is a delightful tale by Steven Spielberg, adapted by Chris Columbus, and set in and around Astoria, Oregon. The story follows a group of slightly misfit kids nicknamed “Goonies” as they search for One-Eyed Willie’s buried treasure in a subterranean cavern. During their adventure, they fall into all kinds of trouble and mayhem.
The Goonies are comprised of Mikey Walsh, who is an eternal optimist, his older brother, Brandon, their friends, Data, an ever inventive kid, Mouth, who is always talkative, and Chunk, the lovable overweight and clumsy child. Mikey and his friends discover a treasure map and a gold doubloon in their attic. The younger kids quickly escape Brandon’s kind of watchful eye, and head down the coast. Shortly thereafter followed by Brandon, Andy, a cheerleader who has a crush on Brandon and Andy’s friend, Stef.
After finding the map, they head down the coast on their bikes, and come upon a seemingly deserted seaside restaurant that seems to match coordinates set by the map and the old doubloon. They are unaware that the Fratellis, a family of fugitives, are using the restaurant as their hideout. Fortunately, the kids manage to befriend Fratelli’s soft-hearted but hideously deformed son “Sloth,” played brilliantly by John Matuszak, who comes to their rescue.
They escape into a cave under the restaurant, and encounter a trail filled with devices and booby-traps, apparently designed by the legendary “One-Eyed Willie,” a pirate who was trying to keep his plunder safe. All the while, the Fratellis are hot on their trail, but the kids manage to stay one step ahead of them and out of harm’s way and find the pirate ship in a huge underground cavern in a lagoon.
After boarding the ship, the kids are overjoyed to find One Eyed Willie’s treasure. Unfortunately for them, the Fratellis find them, and make them all walk the plank into the lagoon. With the children no longer a threat, the Fratellis ransack the rest of the ship, including the share of the treasure that was sitting on a scale and that Mikey insisted when the kids originally found the treasure that it be left as a tribute for Willie, whom Mikey considers the original Goonie. The Fratellis take the “Tribute” on the scale immediately setting off a final booby trap, causing the cave to begin collapsing. The Goonies flee through a hole in the cave, finding themselves on a beach. Two passing policemen spot them and call in for help. The Fratellis soon follow and are taken into custody by the police. Chunk “adopts” Sloth and invites him to live with his family.
As Mikey frets about the end of their last adventure, the Walshs’ maid discovers that Mikey’s hidden marble bag contains a large handful of jewels taken from the ship. Mikey’s father quickly estimates that its value is more than enough to save everyone’s homes and tears up the foreclosure papers. As the families celebrate, they spot the unmanned Inferno, now free of the cave, sailing off into the sunset.
This movie is truly an action-packed, fun-filled adventure, made even more heartwarming by the tight bond the friends form to fight “the man,” by taking on the property development company which plans to destroy their homes to build a new country club.
The only downside, if you can even call it that, is that the special effects that dazzled us in the 80s aren’t so special in today’s world of computer generated, high-def camera work and postproduction tweaking. However in my opinion, they are just fine, and the story holds up very well today.
Tami Danielson is the main in-house blogger and Director of Operations for Pop-Daze. She was raised in California and Florida and currently resides in Oregon. Tami has written for a variety of periodicals and has provided digital marketing services for a number of artists. She can be reached at [email protected]