Review: The Goonies (4K)

Old-fashioned yarn about a band of adventurous kids who take on the might of a property developing company which plans to destroy their home to build a country club. When the children discover an old pirate map in the attic, they follow it into an underground cavern in search of lost treasure but come up against plenty of dangerous obstacles along the way.

Plot: A group of young misfits called The Goonies discover an ancient map and set out on an adventure to find a legendary pirate’s long-lost treasure.

Director: Richard Donner

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Runtime: 114 min

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: The Goonies is an energetic, sometimes noisy mix of Spielbergian sentiment and funhouse tricks that will appeal to kids and nostalgic adults alike.

Online Ratings:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes 75% (Audience 91%)
  2. IMDB 7.8
  3. Metacritic 62
  4. Roger Ebert 3/4

“If you don’t like The Goonies… then something is wrong with you.”


The Goonies was originally shot on 35mm, but for this release it was given a brand new 4k digital intermediate! On top of that, as per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in HDR10.

This movie is going to have people sitting on both sides of the fence, but something that can’t be argued is the fact that this new UHD is big improvement over the Blu-ray. That disc had a muddy appearance, and rest assured, it’s been completely cleaned up in this release.

This transfer boasts a new level of detail that will be noticed the most in the few well-light outdoor shots under natural light — every layer of texture look more defined. Continuing on that note, skin tones are more improved in every close up and, on top of that, you’ll noticed little things like dirt on the kids faces and clothes, wet pavement and walls, rust, grime, cobwebs, etc — it’s never looked more real. You can tell that this transfer was handled with care because there are no signs of compression and the image rarely appears soft. Shockingly there is a lack of grain too, which you would think would scream DNR, but you (almost) can’t tell a thing.

The Goonies has never been a eye-popping film, full of color and bright sequences — instead everything has the appearance of being a rustic and gloomy like the beach-town they live in. This leads to dark spaces with overcast skies and hometown vibes. On top of the dark color palette, the majority of this movie takes place at the Fratellis’ hideout and in dark caves under the house. As you can expect, that leaves little room for light to shine so the HDR tries and do it’s best holding black levels, shadows and contrast. In my opinion, it easily passes the bar for a rock-solid release, but with long stretches of darkness, this disc (unfortunately) won’t allow for demo-worthy visuals.

Where you will see some of those colorful HDR highlights is on Troy’s red sports car, Chunk’s red jacket and Mikey’s yellow rain coat. There are just little touches here and there that POP! like they never have before. Something else to look out for is the subtle warm glow of lanterns in the dark caves, the bluish-green tint of water and the gold glimmer of One Eyed Willy’s buried treasure.]

Overall, this isn’t a top notch disc, but it’s not too far off and it does wonders to the original source.

In conclusion —

I’ve always been a big fan of the The Goonies because me and my siblings watched this film a bunch of times as kids. Like most of Steven Spielberg touched movies, this film still holds up today for the current generation. There’s just something about the magic of this film that works — I can’t really explain it, but it takes me back to the good times of my childhood.

I know a lot of reviewers are going to hone in on the dark part of this release, but I will have to disagree, with context. Like I mentioned above, HDR not only brings out color in many layers, but it makes the darker scenes even darker. When this movie get lost in the caves, I think it enhances what Spielberg & Donner were trying to do — not to mention, it’s a lose-lose situation. Currently, the movie appears dark, even slightly muddy at times because of the lack of light, but at least it stays true to the original release. Imagine if they tried to brighten up the dark scenes and everything ended up looking too-bright and over-saturated… it would be even worse. What we got is the best case scenario and I’m more than happy with it. Does it stop this disc from being an amazing release? Yes, but that’s okay… at least in my opinion. (While this UHD presentation isn’t as top notch as other Warner Brothers releases, it’s still the best version you can buy on the market today.)

Taking everything I’ve said into account, you can be sure that The Goonies gets my recommendation to own if you not only loved it as a kid, but if you have children of your own that have yet to see it — it’s a fun time with the family and multiple viewings never get old. No matter what you decide to do, you can grab a copy at your local retailer on 4K & Blu-ray today. 

Are you a fan of The Goonies? Will you be picking it up to own? Let me know what you think in the comments below.



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