Hey you guys, don't sign up for a 'Goonies' sequel!

Every few years rumors percolate of an imminent sequel to the 1985 film classic "The Goonies." Director Richard Donner reignited the buzz last week, telling TMZ that the project is in the works, echoing star Sean Astin’s 2012 claim that a second movie is "1,000% certain." Warner Bros., for its part, won't confirm or deny that a "Goonies 2" is in the works.

If there is, that is a 1,000% terrible idea, and any plans for a "Goonies" sequel should be buried in a cave and surrounded by booby traps.  

If you grew up in the VHS era, chances are you have strong feelings about this movie. The adventure of a gang of small-town kids on the verge of seeing their neighborhood turned into a country club remains lodged in the minds of many children of the '80s. Yet those of us who bristle at the talk of a sequel are not just recoiling out of nostalgia. We're accustomed to seeing our childhood remade and rebooted by studios looking to make some "rich stuff" off the next generation. 

But this is where I draw the line. 

Here's why: "The Goonies" was one of the last and finest exemplars of analog movie magic, a relic of a time before CGI became the norm. Aside from minimal use of blue screen, almost every prop and set could be touched. The fake skeletons, the rubber bats, the playful water slide leading to a pirate ship may not have been real, per se, but compared to the pixelated adventures that kids these days watch ...

OK, OK, as I write this, I can feel myself turning into a cantankerous old man, but hear me out.

Beyond the glorious production values of the original film, "The Goonies" story was born of a completely different era and world, one that deserves to be preserved and not remade. Here is what childhood felt like before smartphones and iPads. When adventure didn't have to take place in another dimension or be fueled by magic but rather in caverns running underneath your own town, where your only superpowers were your own stubborn heart and some crazy inventions like slick shoes or "the pincers of power."

I'd like to believe that the Goonies themselves would fight against the sequel, just as they resisted the encroachment of a country club developer with dollar signs in his eyes. They understood that profit and progress can come at the expense of what's magical about a place.

Donner hopes to bring back as much of the original cast as possible, but despite Sean Astin's claim that he would "bet his children" that a sequel will happen, I hope the original cast knows that there's no use going back -- that even with a perfect script, a sequel risks becoming a hollow, CGI-infused dud.

Mikey, Brand, Chunk, Data, Mouth and the gang: If Warner Bros. comes calling with a contract in hand, remember what Rosalita the housekeeper said at the end of the original movie when she peered into a bag of jewels that could save the old neighborhood from demolition: "No firme!" "Don’t sign!"

Tear it up. Walk away. Protect your treasure.


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Chris Feliciano Arnold is a recipient of a 2014 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. He has written essays and journalism for the Atlantic, Salon, the Millions, the Rumpus and Los Angeles Review of Books. Follow him on Twitter @chrisarnold.

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