In 1982, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial arrived on the scene and set a high benchmark for movies that were both for kids and about kids. At the heart of a film about a boy and the stranded alien he befriends is a tale about the power of kid spirit, and it affected a generation. The 80s were our time. For popular film, it was an era that demonstrated that kids could be the heroes. In the years that followed, we saw the trend develop, with films like WarGames, Footloose and The Karate Kid arriving in '83 and '84. And then came 1985, the year of Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club and The Goonies. Kids mattered, and not just as an audience. Their stories mattered. Films about adventure, growing up and having the power and opportunity to make a difference blew up and left a lasting impression.
When we consider the prospect of a Goonies sequel, it forces us to ask a few key questions. We'll put aside the obvious ones: What is it about? And Will the original cast return? The answers to those are, we don't know and we don't know. From what Richard Donner said recently, it sounds like there's a story idea in place, courtesy of Steven Spielberg. And it sounds like it may involve the original cast, however Donner's remarks suggest nothing is set in stone there. Beyond that, we can only speculate as to what this sequel might be about.
The ones we as Goonies fans need to be asking relate more to the intention of this sequel, including its potential audience, and the timing.
Can The Goonies 2 possibly be as wonderful and memorable as the original?The optimist in me wants to say at least, "maybe," but let's be real here. A story that leaves an imprint on our hearts likely sets an impossibly -- or nearly impossibly -- high standard. An adult in their thirties could probably watch The Goonies now for the first time and acknowledge that it's a good or even great movie, but it's not going to affect them the way it might have if they'd seen it when it first released. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and while it might lure many of us into theaters -- especially if the original cast is involved -- it could very well work against the new movie, if it doesn't measure up.
The fact that it's a sequel and not a remake is something that may work for it. Take two of the examples we mentioned in our intro. The remakes of Footloose and The Karate Kid were both fine movies and decently updated concepts. But were either all that memorable? Or did we watch them and then essentially ignore them and go back to appreciating the originals? A Goonies remake that tried to retell the same story might tap into nostalgia in its own way, but in the end, unless it's drastically changed enough to stand on its own -- see RoboCop -- it'll probably be hyped, seen and then eventually filed under other 80s remakes, leaving no major lasting impression. It will not be a movie people remember line-for-line thirty years from now.
If a Goonies follow-up stands any chance of capturing some of the original magic, a sequel seems like the best approach to take. Whether or not it lives up to our hopes or manages to win the hearts of a new generation remains to be seen.