The Goonies – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review
Film Title: The Goonies (1985)
Release Date: 2020
Runtime: 114 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
High Dynamic Range: HDR10
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Release Date: 9/1/20
Director: Richard Donner
Cast: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Ke Huy Quan, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, Robert Davi, Joe Pantoliano, Anne Ramsey, Lupe Ontiveros, Mary Ellen Trainor, John Matuszak
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Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom
“The Goonies” was a 1985 film directed by Richard Donner. The film’s director, Donner, is best known for directing the films “The Omen” (1976), “Superman” (1978), “The Toy” (1982), “Lethal Weapon” (1987), “Scrooged” (1988), as well as “Lethal Weapon 2” (1989) and “Lethal Weapon 3” (1992).
The film’s original story was written by Steven Spielberg, who also served as an executive producer on the film. The 1980s were pretty kind to Steven, and most know him not just for producing this film but also others like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (1978), “Used Cars” (1980), “Poltergeist” (1982), “Gremlins” (1984), as well as “Back to the Future” (1985), and even its two sequels. The man had a talent for working with other filmmakers, but he will forever be best known as a director. Spielberg directed such classic films as “Jaws” (1975), “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “The Color Purple” (1985), and countless others.
The screenplay to The Goonies was adapted from Spielberg’s original story by Chris Columbus. Fun fact, Columbus had actually previously worked with Spielberg on “Gremlins” a year before which he wrote the screenplay to. Columbus also made a name for himself as director after this, as well, with films like “Adventures in Babysitting” (1987), “Home Alone” (1990), and “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) — to just name a few. It’s safe to say that this film had one amazing combination of a director (Donner), a story and producer (Spielberg), and finally a proper screenwriter (Columbus). These three ended up making a great film, let’s just leave it at that.
The story to The Goonies revolves around a young boy named “Mikey” (Sean Astin) and his group of friends that call themselves “The Goonies” — hence the film’s title. Mikey and his three friends end up going on a bit of a modern treasure hunt, along with some unexpected guests along the way. First, though, it is worth discussing that Mikey’s family is preparing to move, as they are being forced to sell their house, along with some of the other people in their small town of Astoria. So, Mikey is rather bummed out about the idea of moving and looking to have one final adventure with his friends that include “Mouth” (Corey Feldman), “Data” (Ke Huy Quan), and “Chunk” (Jeff Cohen).
The boys are having some time alone in Mikey’s house to themselves, while his mother is gone, goofing around with his older teenage brother “Brand” (Josh Brolin). The boys manage to end up going through the house’s attic and discover some old historic pirate memorabilia and even a real treasure map. That’s what leads to Mikey getting the idea that they should really go searching for a treasure that countless locals have tried and failed to ever find. The guys decide to leave Mikey’s older brother behind and go off, on their bikes, on their journey.
Meanwhile, across town, a criminal is busted out of a local jail, as we’ve seen in the opening credits of the film, and a crime family has been reunited. This shady but loveable family (also known as “The Fratelli gang”) includes “Mama Fratelli” (Anne Ramsey), “Francis Fratelli” (Joe Pantoliano), and “Jake Fratelli”(Robert Davi). I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say The Fratellis and The Goonies cross paths a few times throughout the course of this film. Also, some unexpected teenage females join The Goonies later on, along with Mikey’s big brother. The females include a cheerleader “Andy” (Kerri Green) and her best friend “Stef” (Martha Plimpton).
That should about set it all up for you if you’ve actually never seen this film. The Goonies is a very fun, funny, and heartfelt film that almost everyone has related to growing up, or as an adult thinking back to their childhoods. Sure, none of us really ever had adventures this wild but it does bring back childhood memories. For sure. This is one of my personal favorite films, as it always has been and always will be. I have to end by saying that.
Movie Rating: 5 (out of 5)
“The Goonies” arrives on 4K UHD Blu-ray, in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio with the HDR10 form of High Dynamic Range. It is worth noting that during its original theatrical run that the film was presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, according to IMDb. The movie was shot on 35MM film using Panavision cameras and lenses, and it has (as of 2020) now received a 4K DI (digital intermediate) master for this specific home video release. Essentially, that means that it has received a new 4K remaster.
Next, let me get technical, for a bit, in regards to the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc itself here. This is using a BD-66 (66 gigabytes) disc, 58.68 gigabytes total, and 56.9 gigabytes for the film itself. The movie runs bitrates around 60Mbps range pretty much all throughout, peaking out not too much above that. It may not run the highest bitrates, compared to some other films, but it does its own thing.
There’s an admittedly soft visual feel to this film and that much is for certain here, now even more so, in this 4K video presentation. Sure, there’s a pretty nice amount of detail to be found in some close-ups, but believe it or not, there was actually a pretty decent amount of detail (pixilated as it may have been) on the original 2010 Blu-ray presentation. With that being said, let’s first take a look at some comparisons between this new 4K release and that original 2010 Blu-ray from roughly a decade ago. For the first time here, you not only have the choice of viewing my typical still screenshot comparisons between the 4K UHD Blu-ray and the Blu-ray but you can also watch a slideshow video of them.
SOURCES: 2020 4K UHD Blu-ray (left), 2010 Blu-ray (right)
As you can tell, this comes with an obviously much more solid black level. That’s for sure. The color timing has been changed slightly and the flesh tones appear to be a tad bit more accurate, as a result, just with a slightly darker feel to them. There’s no abundance of film grain present but it’s somewhat there. I do believe a tad bit of DNR (digital noise reduction) was used here and smoothed over some of that film grain and in turn, perhaps a very tiny bit of detail seems to have been lost in the process. It feels like, to me, in all due honesty, that some of the obvious film grain, dirt, and such you’d find usually has either been smoothed over or touched up a bit much. Now, that’s not to say that this 4K presentation doesn’t offer an improvement over the HD (high definition) with its detail and the addition of high dynamic range.
Undeniably, some of the (likely) visual optical effects in the film (especially near the end) look a tad bit dated by today’s standards when showcased in a 4K resolution. However, in all due fairness, those few effects aren’t very much used throughout the film. The movie proves to be pretty impressive in its debut to 4K UHD Blu-ray, while some may find it a bit much of a change. One reason the presentation might be so dark, in fairness here (realistically), would be the fact that over half of the film itself takes place indoors, during the rain with cloud coverage or during the nighttime, and most importantly underground. Things are only bright in the opening of the film, for the most part, and that seems natural when you think about it, rationally.
A lot of people tend to think that brighter always means it’s better in terms of video quality, I’ve learned when presenting my readers with 4K versus HD comparisons. Oftentimes, it’s actually the HDR making an image (and the video presentation) seem darker than what they’ve become used to with overly vivid and a bit too much brightness along the way. The benefits from HDR are something that cannot really entirely be seen in screenshots, as you have to witness it on a 4K HDR display in-person to be able to fully get the experience.
In closing, in regards to this 4K presentation of the film, it’s one that I found to be a nice improvement and to be well-worth making the upgrade for — having previously owned the Blu-ray release. The Goonies on 4K UHD Blu-ray earns itself a pretty impressive 4.25 rating for video quality. I’m happy with how it turned out, but it’s not perfect and there are certainly a few things I would have done differently. Namely, I wish it had more film grain left in and a bit sharper amount of detail.
Video Quality Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
“The Goonies” arrives on 4K UHD Blu-ray in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround, instead of the (also lossless) Dolby TrueHD 5.1 found on the original 2010 Blu-ray release. Sure, there’s no Atmos mix here but that sometimes really isn’t too much of a surprise as the sound material didn’t really make for the best to essentially create a mix with height channels factored in. So, we once again get a lossless 5.1 mix, but is this one any better or different aside from being in a different audio format? Honestly, this is not really any different, of a 5.1 mix that is. However, it does give you a different audio format to deliver it and in my opinion, it sounds just as good. It also still manages to do the film justice, but more on that later.
The film is a comedy and it relies mostly on dialogue throughout, which is delivered distinctly from the center channel speaker in this 5.1 lossless presentation. However, this film also is an action and adventure film with kids hunting for treasure and lots of loud mishaps along the way. Hell, the movie starts out with a police chase and that makes some pretty nice use of the rear channels from the very beginning. The front left and right channels get used predominantly for the sound effects, with some panning and use of the rear channels for certain sounds. The music, composed by Dave Grusin or the Cyndi Lauper song, for example, gets a nice amount of rear channel presence but is primarily driven by the front channel speakers.
The subwoofer gets a pretty good share of bass delivered from its end and represented throughout the other speakers. The 5.1 sound mix found here packs enough of a punch to still do a film like this justice. Is it the same mix just re-encoded in another audio format? I can’t say for sure there, but I can say it sounds as good as it has ever had, and still holds up. This said, The Goonies on 4K UHD Blu-ray may not have received anything too fancy like an Atmos mix but it did fine with a 5.1 mix and earns itself a still pretty impressive 4.25 rating for audio quality.
Audio Quality Rating: 4.25 (out of 5)
Bonus materials physically on this release include:
- A FREE 14-Day Trial for HBOmax is included with this release via a physical paper insert with a redemption code.
- A Digital Copy of the film is included, via a physical paper insert with a redemption code, which is compatible with Movies Anywhere. That means you’ll get a 4K digital copy of the films on services like VUDU and Fandango Now. However, my copy on iTunes seems to only be HD? Odd. But, yes, it does also work with iTunes.
The 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc includes no bonus material, just the options to choose audio languages and toggle subtitles on/off as well as choose languages.
The Blu-ray Disc includes bonus materials, which are presented in a variety of HD and SD (standard definition) video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. These include the following:
- Commentary with Director Richard Donner And All Seven Actors (HD) is the very same video commentary that I’ll describe further below.
- “Hidden Treasures” (1:53:55 – HD) is a video commentary track that has the stars from the film and will play throughout your viewing of the movie itself. This is essentially the very same thing you get when you opt for the above feature. I’m not sure what caused there to be two options for the very same thing here. This is great though and was originally recorded for a DVD release, a bit back before the Blu-ray format was around.
- “The Making of The Goonies“ (6:49 – SD) was an original 1985 featurette. Here you’ll find lots of on-set footage as well as interviews with Steven Spielberg (executive producer), Richard Donner (director), as well as both the older and younger cast members. This was produced and directed by Mick Garris. How cool is that? This is one of the early examples of what really launched all of the extras we now find on home video releases of films. Folks like Mick Garris were pioneers in this field.
- Deleted Scenes (6:53 – SD) offer up some additional footage, that didn’t make it to the film. These sadly aren’t framed correctly for widescreen and come in one giant black frame of bars. It’s distracting, and could honestly be fixed through some very simple video editing cropping techniques. Still, these prove to be enjoyable and it’s a shame that some of the scenes didn’t make it to the movie.
- Music Videos for “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” (12:04 – SD) by Cyndi Lauper is included. A song that not only was on the soundtrack but was also featured in the film. It’s also a very extended cut of the music video, clocking in at over 12 minutes. This is great fun and brings back childhood memories. You’ll also probably recognize some WWF wrestlers, from the time here, making cameos like Roddy Piper. “Good love” and good times. “It’s good enough for me.” This video actually is a spoof of the film too, which is very cool. You’ll get to see the cast members, all seven, make cameos here as well. Watch for one other cameo from Steven Spielberg. It’s worth mentioning, as you’ll find out, that this music video was so long because it originally aired on MTV in two parts, for the exact same song. Hey, it was a good song. I’m not going to lie. I don’t mind hearing it twice.
- Theatrical Trailer (2:41 – SD)
Overall, the bonus materials are just the original Blu-ray content and include nothing new of any kind. Still, though, they prove to be a decent set of extras. Especially when you take into consideration that the film’s director and primary cast sat down for a video commentary track that proves to be worth the watch for any fan. Then you have one of the first really impressive featurettes of its time (1985) with Mick Garris‘ “The Making of The Goonies” at around 7 minutes in length. Then, there are some deleted scenes, the Cyndi Lauper music videos, yes plural (as you’ll see explained above), and a theatrical trailer. It all adds up to around 30 minutes, not including the video commentary, which is the feature-length of the film almost (nearly two hours).
And finally, you get a digital copy of the film via Movies Anywhere that redeems in 4K on platforms like iTunes and Vudu. That’s not too bad in terms of bonus materials for a catalog film, but sure it could have used some new content. I won’t lie and say that it wouldn’t have been fun to see some bit of an even more modern retrospective from the cast and crew, but what we have here will do.
Bonus Materials Rating: 3 (out of 5)
“The Goonies” was a fun film from the mid-1980s that became one of my personal favorites, as well as one of the favorites for most folks of my generation. Steven Spielberg as a producer and storyteller (coming up with the original story), in the 1980s really started to captivate moviegoers not just with the films he directed but also those he presented [executive produced] such as this. Richard Donner also brought us some amazing films in the 1980s, and this is just another one of them. The film’s stars like Sean Astin and Corey Feldman were iconic actors during the 1980s and were in countless other films and become household names. It’s safe to say that some 15 years after its theatrical release that this film holds up extremely well to the test of time and to me still, as an adult.
Here in its debut to 4K UHD Blu-ray, The Goonies gets a pretty impressive 4K visual presentation with the addition of HDR10 form of High Dynamic Range making things look a tad bit different than before. That said, in comparison to the original 2010 Blu-ray, as discussed further above, it is undeniably a bit darker, and as a result, some people tend to actually like the Blu-ray over the new 4K UHD Blu-ray. I can’t argue with that because it’s usually a human tendency to dislike new things and feel that the older version of something is usually better, however, this does come with an undeniable newfound amount of detail. And, the color palette is a bit more accurate this time around. Overall though, it’s an impressive 4K presentation, but some might not find it as much to their liking and/or take some time to get used to the new 4K version.
In terms of sound, this is just another audio format [Dolby] this time around using different lossless audio coded [TrueHD] and again in a 5.1 surround configuration. Essentially, it’s no different really from the lossless mix you heard a decade ago and it’s just being used again to go with the 4K presentation. Does it hold up for a 10-year-old lossless 5.1 mix? Yes, it actually does. I’d go as far as to say it still proves to be somewhat impressive.
Finally, you get the same bonus materials found on the original 2010 Blu-ray Disc release. In fact, they’re entirely on that very same  original disc. You get a really great video commentary with the film’s director (Richard Donner) as well as the seven primary cast members which is a must-watch. Then there are some other really fun extras thrown in as well. Plus, there’s a digital copy of the film [in 4K] through Movies Anywhere which is nice. It’s a pretty decent set of extras, even if they are lacking any new content.
In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.25 (out of 5) for video quality
4.25 (out of 5) for audio quality
3 (out of 5) for bonus materials