If you want a pure unadulterated ride in to the middle of the eighties, “The Goonies” is an inadvertent trip in to the complete mindset of the decade. Cyndi Lauper, adventure, escapism, work out obsession, coming of age, nostalgia for the sixties, a humongous Steven Spielberg influenced narrative, Corey Feldman, Richard Donner, Jonathan Ke Quan, if it was in the eighties, it’s likely here. That doesn’t act as a caveat, thankfully, as “The Goonies” is a very decade relevant film that still manages to work as an excellent child oriented fantasy adventure in the vein of “The Hardy Boys.”
If anything, while “The Last Crusade” is considered the weakest film of the first three films, director Steven Spielberg teams up the world’s most popular James Bond actor, with the newest adventure hero Indiana Jones. Once considered the finale in the adventures of Indiana Jones, “The Last Crusade” takes another step back and examines the Indiana Jones from when he was a young man. Played by the late River Phoenix, director Spielberg chronicles many of the beats that turned Indiana Jones from a young daring man who cherished hallowed treasures, to an actual man who risked life and limb to return hallowed treasures back to their homes.
“The Temple of Doom” is one of the few prequels ever made that works, and works well. Though it gets a bad rap by some fans of the series, “The Temple of Doom” follows in the Lucas tradition where the ante is upped, and the sequel garners a much darker atmosphere with a unique premise not centered on the Nazis and their quest for world domination. “The Temple of Doom” is a great change of pace, in the end. And it’s damn fun, to boot.
Before it was re-branded “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,” it was simply titled “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Though the title promised great adventure, director Steven Spielberg and writer Lawrence Kasdan managed to deliver a hero every audience member could watch and relate to, no matter what the circumstance. Harrison Ford managed to depict a ruthless space pirate in “Star Wars” and brings that same charisma and enthusiasm to Indiana Jones, a big screen hero who is dashing and cunning, but just as average as anyone else venturing in to his world.
The 2002 Spielberg fueled mini-series “Taken” is one of the few mini-series I’ve ever watched two times in a row. It’s at least fourteen hours in length. And I watched it two times in a row. “Taken” is just that good. The epic mini-series aired in the summer of 2002 on the Sci Fi Channel here in America, and on the 25th anniversary of “Close Encounters of The Third Kind.” While Science fiction was never really my niche as a pop culture fan, “Taken” is a whole new level of the genre that defies any and all conventions. It’s a mini-series that doesn’t just build up to something humongous, but it leads somewhere pretty incredible.
Say what you want about “Hook.” Many people do. And many movie fans love it because it’s been a part of their childhood. Those who didn’t have the fortune of watching “Hook” as a child consider the 1991 Peter Pan throwback to be a gaudy Spielberg misfire dripping with sap. By virtue of nostalgia, “Hook” is still great. But as a fan of JM Barrie’s “Peter Pan” novel, and the mythos in general, “Hook” is a solid effort, that still manages to pack in the entertainment at all corners. True, it’s by no means a mastepiece with cloying acting by most of the child stars, and some odd casting. I mean, bringing aboard Robin Williams as the dashing Neverland warrior is still poor casting, and while Williams does his best, the movie suffers with him on board.
Richard Zanuck is a man who spent most of his life living under the shadow of his father Darryl F. Zanuck, and what is most peculiar and quite riveting about Richard Zanuck’s story is that rather than trying to step out of his dad’s shadow, he embraced his father’s status and used it to his advantage. Often times we hear of someone chastising their own status as a wealthy successor, but Richard Zanuck used this fact as a means of bettering himself, and carving his own niche in the Hollywood business.
I love how Steven Spielberg continues to skirt expectations from his core fanbase by providing them with films that are mature and often times thought provoking. Where in “Lincoln” could have been another hollow biography about one of the greatest presidents of the United States, he transforms it in to an intellectual exercise and exploration in to the most important event in American history. “Lincoln” is a beat by beat relaying of the events before and during the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation and how the passing would come to affect everyone within the inner circle of Abraham Lincoln. “Lincoln” is mostly a look in to the seething fear of the American status quo whom spent most of their time worrying how freeing the slaves would affect their own luxuries and lot in life. The irony of the conflict is that most of the men featured were against the bill passed because they worried the African Americans would soon become an equal voice in America thus turning the white man in to a minority.