The Goonies 4K UHD Review
At this point, on its 35th birthday, just about everybody who enjoys a good movie has seen The Goonies. The film with the warm embrace of the familiar 'Steven Spielberg Presents' tag involves a ragtag bunch of teens who, on the verge of losing the area where they live to greedy developers, set out on an adventure to find the 'rich stuff' and maybe learn more about themselves along the way.
The Goonies has travelled through pretty much every home video format in its lifetime. Starting out on VHS (which at certain times was hard to find), then DVD (multiple times), Blu-ray, and finally the 4K UHD format with a cleanup job that while not altogether perfect, gives a timeless classic a new lease of life. (Note: for the purpose of this review the film was watched via a 55" LG 4K HDR TV and the disc played through an XBox One S system) .
The Goonies was shot by cinematographer Nick McClean in a way that lent itself to a soft palette. With the limited effects work available at the time (remember kids CGI wasn't really a thing back then) the film strived to be as cinematic as possible, and as an overall package, it works if you have those rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia placed firmly over your eyes. Some of the shots work seamlessly, but others in this new presentation stick out like a sore thumb. Director Richard Donner (responsible for the first Superman and Lethal Weapon series) gives the film an epic as possible feel, making a little go a long way.
The film starts with muted tones front and centre of the rain soaked Oregon coast really sinking into the films cinematography. Rather than the fuzzy texture seen in other formats, here the 4K really stands out, making the soaked clothes of the kids really 'soak in'. Once they enter the Walsh's attic, Donnar utilises the close up shot, focussing on the kid's faces to bring intrigue and a sense of 'being one of the gang' to the film. This complements the warm flesh tones offered by lantern light, softening the harsher tones of the dark attic.
Other areas that seem to utilise the upscale into 4K include moments where Mikey first goes down stairs at the Fratelli's restaurant, with extra textures seen where they weren't visible before. Water can be seen dripping down the walls in the rat infested, diseased coridor leading up to where Sloth is sitting chained to the wall. Little extra details like these not seen since its original theatrical run (and even then it may have been missed) show what a format like 4K can do.
For a film that is awash with dark areas once the kids venture underground, the 4K spec handles spaces where blackness envelops the screen well, keeping crush to a minimum and outlining the characters when wearing contrasting colours. A good example of this is when we see Mikey alone with the yellow of his raincoat clashing with the dark. The HDR capabilities are utilised well, blacks are inky and don't choke the minutiae of the scene, dust can be seen where it may have been missed before, with the overall texture abundant.
Now for the negative. Other than in areas of close up, the facial textures often do not show the intimate intricacy available with the format. Scenes where the gang is in medium shot look no different than a standard Blu-ray, and certain effects look even worse than previous formats. A good case in point is when Mikey holds up the doubloon to fit the rocks out at sea, with Mouth, Data and Chunk seen clearly in a green screen shot, the thick outline of each actor screaming 'this was shot later' and sticks out like a sore thumb.
The other moment this reviewer was looking forward to seeing pop on 4K is the pirate ship scene during the film's climax. Where the haul of One-Eyed Willie's gold was once a fuzzy melange of gold coins and jewels, now, well, there's not a huge difference at all. There is definitely an improved sharpness around the tabletop full of gold in front of Willie, but there is still a softness that can never seem to be fully removed. Where the jewels really need to pop, it falls flat.
Overall, the package as a whole doesn't offer anything new in the way of extras, but a simple spit and polish with a great 4K render makes this reviewer say "Hey yoooouuu guys!...buy it again!"
Commentary with director Richard Donner and Cast (including hidden treasures): Same as previous additions - watch the film with the cast and crew. An entertaining extra and one which at this point was filmed more than 15 years ago!
Featurette: 'The Making Of'. Says what it does on the tin - an at-the-time making of the film. Look at how young everyone was.
Music Video: 'The Goonies 'r' Good Enough' by Cyndi Lauper: The full length video for the supertastic-no-more '80s song, with added WWE wrestlers because you know..it was the '80s!
Deleted Scenes: Now you can see what Data means at the end of the film when he says "The octopus was scary!" and more shenanigans with the gang at a convenience store.
Theatrical Trailer: Film trailer in 4K.