MOTW: Why "The Goonies" Has No Need for a Sequel

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Following a mysterious treasure map that leads into a spectacular underground realm of twisting passages, outrageous booby-traps and a long-lost pirate ship full of golden dubloons, the kids race to stay one step ahead of a family of bumbling bad guys... and a mild-mannered monster with a face only a mother could love. Richard Donner directs and co-produces a screenplay written by Chris Columbus from a story by Steven Spielberg.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
November 15th, 2013

MOTW: Why "The Goonies" Has No Need for a Sequel

When it comes to beloved cult classics, few are more iconic than "The Goonies." The 1985 film is the quintessential coming-of-age story for the generation that grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. The film tells the tale of a band of young friends who all grew up in the same suburban neighborhood. One summer, the ragtag band of misfits discovers that their entire neighborhood is scheduled to be demolished because a group of developers has decided to build a huge golf course in its place. Desperate to save their childhood neighborhood and prolong their friendships, they band together and call themselves the Goonies, a task force dedicated to saving the neighborhood from its commercial fate.

"The Goonies" focuses on two brothers, Mikey and Brandon Walsh. Their friends Chunk, Mouth, Andy, Stef, and Data join them in their quest to save their neighborhood and prevent their families from selling their homes. The little group gets some semblance of hope when they hear a rumor about a mysterious treasure hidden somewhere in the neighborhood. As it turns out, the treasure is buried in a cavern beneath one of the suburban homes. Unfortunately for them, that home turns out to belong to none other than Mama Fratelli, the most notorious thief in town. She lives with her sons, Jake, Francis, and the disfigured Sloth. When the Goonies set out to explore the underground cavern, they are confronted by Sloth, who decides to help them to their great surprise. Armed with friendship and a new, unlikely ally, the kids embark on a quest to find the legendary treasure and save their beloved neighborhood.

"The Goonies" has everything that a film needs to earn iconic status. Coming-of-age stories have always had a way of captivating American audiences, and for good reason. Nothing is more relatable than adolescents struggling to find their way in the world, navigating friendships, family drama, and change. The entire premise of the film resonates with anyone who ever had to move away from a beloved childhood neighborhood and face the uncertainty of life in a different town at a new school. At the time of the film's premiere, American neighborhoods were still filled with children riding bikes outside and playing with friends until suppertime. These days, "The Goonies" is an idyllic piece of nostalgia more than a modern tale. Although the storyline and acting are still phenomenal nearly three decades later, the film is perhaps even more beloved now than at the time of its release because of how much of a welcome departure it is from modern life.

Considering how idyllic "The Goonies" was, it's no surprise that die-hard fans of the film are skeptical about any possibilities of a sequel. To transport "The Goonies" storyline into modern American life would either require following the cast of the first film as adults or retelling the story in a modern setting. As many fans have noted, completely resetting the storyline and giving it a modern update would probably not work as well as it has for other remakes, such as "Carrie." For one thing, the elements that fans loved about the film had nothing to do with modern technology. It's difficult to imagine a modern version of "The Goonies" in which the main cast is busy launching an online fundraiser on their mobile phones rather than playing outside and hunting for buried treasure. Truth be told, some films are so beloved and so well made that they simply don't require a fresh coat of paint to keep them relevant. "The Goonies" is one of those films, if fan reactions to the idea of a sequel are any indication.

Other critics of a potential sequel to "The Goonies" have pointed out that all the remaining cast members are now well into middle age. The actors who played the Walsh brothers are approaching forty, and several other cast members, including those who played Mama Fratelli and Sloth, have passed away. Additionally, the remaining cast members have all gone on to careers outside the entertainment industry. "The Goonies" is in an interesting case when it comes to the world of film remakes. Typically, moviegoers are resistant to a sequel because they don't want to see more of a film. In this case, fans don't see a need for a sequel because "The Goonies" was such an amazing film that it requires no follow-up. After all, some stories are simply told right the first time.