IoT ruins movies: The Goonies

By | 4 minute read | March 9, 2017

I recently watched The Goonies, having been forced into it by more than one ardent fan’s effusive reminiscence of happy childhood viewing. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, The Goonies is supposedly an adventure film about a gang of Enid Blyton-esque pre-teens who go on a quest for undiscovered treasure. What it actually is is 114 minutes of near-constant and incomprehensible screaming from a bunch of kids only distinguishable by their trademark actions: hair kid brushes his hair. Inventing kid makes gadgets. Asthma kid is on his inhaler. ‘Chunk’ (where do I start with the bad?) makes constant references to food. As you can probably tell, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

I will say one thing in its defense. The gate-opening contraption thingamy is awesome. There. I said something nice.

As I’m probably in the minority here, (everyone else seems to love this film), I’ll take a different tack on the IoT ruins movies front. This time, the IoT is here to save the film, by providing a plausible solution to what might otherwise be called (dare I say it) plot holes.

The film: The Goonies

The Goonies is a 1985 adventure film directed by Richard Donner, with Steven Spielberg as executive producer. It tells the tale of a band of pre-teens who try to save their home from demolition, and accidentally discover an old Spanish map that leads to the long-lost fortune of legendary pirate One-Eyed Willy. Along the way they come up against the Fratellis, a family of criminals who want the treasure for themselves.

How the IoT could save The Goonies

Problem #1: Security at the prison is shot to hell

In an early scene, a lone, unaided prison guard returns to the cells to check on the whereabouts of a prisoner missing from roll call. The prisoner knocks the guard unconscious and escapes. The main problem seems to result from an unlikely lack of personnel – no one spots the prisoner making his way unchecked from the cell to the front door. Also missed is the blatant gasoline-pouring stunt right outside. 

IoT solution: A connected prison would have IoT-enabled cameras to spot and record unusual activity, motion-sensors connected to an early warning system to detect the presence of intruders, and possibly even a line of robot security guards like these ones designed by Cobalt, who could pick up the slack in case their human colleagues were unavailable. Or sleeping.

Problem #2: How did Brand find the Goonies?

Brand, incapacitated when Mikey and the other kids scamper on their treasure hunt, successfully tracks them down despite having no idea where they were headed.

IoT solution: If Mikey had been equipped with a kids’ smartwatch, complete with GPS tracking like these ones, his whereabouts would have been shared automatically with his parents’ smartphones. Which Brand could have checked.

Problem #3: The local paper’s print schedule

The Goonies become aware of the Fratellis thanks to a report in the local daily paper proclaiming their escape. Unless there had been an emergency reprint, the paper wouldn’t have released the story until the following day.

IoT solution: Instant news and notifications don’t fit well with a daily print-run, so let’s assume the kids had smart phones, push notifications, and Twitter to give them the lowdown.

Problem #4: The surprising longevity of the booby traps

Thin pieces of rope survived in a damp cave without rotting for three hundred years. Perhaps they were subject to a predictive maintenance IoT solution that detected wear and tear and scheduled a part replacement when needed. I suppose the visiting engineer would probably have found the hidden treasure had that been the case. Well, good for him.

Problem #5: You can’t value jewels with the naked eye

Brand and Mikey’s father, Mr Walsh, rips up the contracts that detail foreclosure on their house when he learns of the treasure the Goonies have uncovered. But how would he know whether its value would equate to that of his house? Or whether it was even genuine in the first place?

IoT solution: What Mr Walsh needed was a spectrometer, able to identify the exact chemical composition of any object by sending out a pulse of near-infrared light (causing materials in an object to vibrate). The Changhong H2 (as seen at CES 2017) is an eight-core phone that has a spectrometer built-in, so let’s give him one of those for an instant analysis on the authenticity of the loot.

So there you have it. A whistle-stop tour of how predictive maintenance, connected security solutions and GPS tracking could plug the plot holes and save the Goonies.

IoT ruins other movies

If you enjoyed this, you might be interested in how the IoT could ruin other movies too. Check out our IoT ruins movies series or recommend films for the IoT ruins movies treatment in the comments below.

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