the Stone/Jewel Of The Nile - Special Edition DVDs
Romancing the Stone (Special Edition)
Sound: B- Extras:
B+ Film: B+
Romancing the Stone became the sleeper hit of the spring of 1984,
and even though it's one of those hit films that never finished No. 1 for a
weekend (No. 2 was the highest it ever got), it was nevertheless an amazingly
steady grosser throughout that spring. In an example of what the
industry calls "legs," it finished among the
top five films for nine straight weeks.
It's also the movie that established Michael Douglas as a bankable
leading man, rejuvenated the career of director Robert Zemeckis (he went on to
direct the blockbuster Back to the
Future the next year) and proved Kathleen Turner could do
a lot more than act sexy.
Produced by Douglas, Romancing
the Stone is a high-spirited cocktail of action, comedy
and romance that's one of those rare movies with something for almost everyone.
Turner plays Joan Wilder, a romance novelist whose
recurring main character is a tall, dark and handsome stranger named Jesse, who
always arrives just in the nick of time to save the damsel in
distress. But Joan herself is somewhat distressed. She leads a
lonely life writing in her New York City apartment with only her cat to
care keep her company.
However, things quickly go from humdrum to downright scary for
Joan when she receives a phone call from her sister in Colombia, who informs
Joan that she's been kidnapped, and Joan must come to Colombia immediately and
bring along a treasure map that's been mailed to her which the kidnappers
will accept as the ransom.
Joan gets to Colombia as soon as possible, but gets waylaid
after boarding the wrong bus, which leaves her stranded in the middle of the
rain forest. But just as she's being threatened by a murderous
Colombian general, who also wants the map, she's rescued by one Jack T. Colton
(Douglas), an American expatriate looking to strike it rich. Could this
be her Jesse? If so, he's a lot rougher around the edges than the
stalwart hero of her novels.
As bickering turns to bonding then romance, Joan and Jack
are thrust into a series of adventures involving deep mountain gorges,
raging rapids, waterfalls and deadly crocodiles as they constantly must
elude the Colombian general. The comically inept henchman (Danny De Vito
as Ralph) of the sister's kidnapper (Zack Norman as Ira) also joins the
More than 22 years after it initial release, Romancing the Stone is great fun to
revisit. It holds up extremely well as a fast-paced, energetic
and smartly-written action/comedy/romance with never a dull
moment. An essential ingredient to the movie's winning
formula is the genuinely great chemistry between the charming Douglas and
a radiant Turner. The combination of Douglas, Turner and De Vito proved
so effective, and they got along so well, that they went on to make two
more successful films together before the end of the '80s.
Fox's new special edition of Romancing the Stone presents the film in 2.35:1
anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Surround sound. This edition offers
brand new extras that include retrospective interviews with Douglas, Turner and
De Vito, a tribute to screenwriter Diane Thomas, who died in an automobile
accident in 1985, and several deleted scenes. For some odd
reason, the original theatrical trailer is absent from this edition, and
there's no audio commentary even though the sequel, Jewel of the Nile, does offer a
trailer and a commentary.
Jewel of the Nile (Special Edition)
Picture: B Sound:
B+ Film: B
If Romancing the Stone
was released by Fox in late March of 1984 without much fanfare
and modest expectations, its sequel, Jewel of the
Nile, was Fox's big Christmas release of 1985. It
did nearly identical business, finishing in the top five for
seven consecutive weeks, but like its predecessor, it never got higher than the
weekend's No. 2 movie.
Jewel of the Nile doesn't quite reach the heights of Romancing the Stone -- the script
isn't as sharp -- but it's still a lot of fun and better than most sequels.
This time Joan, Jack and Ralph find themselves in a
North African desert country where the "jewel" turns
out to be a benign holy man who's supposed to be the savior of a
people currently ruled by a ruthless dictator. Much derring-do ensues.
The sunny desert setting contrasts nicely to the rainy
jungle setting of the first one, and De Vito's role is expanded here
in a subplot that's quite amusing in its political incorrectness 21 years
Fox's Special Edition of Jewel of the Nile is another solid 2.35:1 anamorphic
widescreen transfer. The sound is 4.0 Dolby Digital
Surround. Like Romancing,
this features recently-recorded retrospective interviews with the stars,
director Lewis Teague (Cujo,
Cat's Eye) and screenwriter Mark
Rosenthal. There's also deleted scenes and an audio commentary by Teague.
- Chuck O'Leary