Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, on Special Edition DVD
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito star in this pair of broad romantic adventures that are now available on Special Edition DVD, either separately or together.
In Romancing the Stone, director Robert Zemeckis (who later would helm the Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, Contact, The Polar Express, and more), brings us the tale of city slicker romance writer Joan Wilder (Turner), who is thrown into an outrageous adventure a la Indiana Jones when she heads to Colombia to rescue her kidnapped sister by turning over a treasure map to her captors.
Stranded in the jungle, lost and frightened, she meets Jack Colton (Douglas, who also produced the film), an American in the country to capture exotic birds and sell them to fanciers. Thus begins the roller coaster ride that takes them from jungle to waterfall, from drug runner and romance novel fan, and finally to corrupt politician and zealous alligator.
And of course along the way Wilder and Colton fall in love, are torn apart from each other, and towards the end you aren't sure if they'll ever be in each other's arms again.
It's very lighthearted, and sometimes borders on silly, but there's plenty of action and humor and, in all, it's a very entertaining romp in the home theater.
The DVD is good, too. Though there's some grain, for the most part the picture (which is presented in anamorphic widescreen) is very good indeed, with rich color and good detail.
The Dolby Digital Surround audio is also very good and, though it isn't full 5.1, you probably won't notice that too much.
For extras, you get some deleted scenes, a "looking back" retrospective featurette, another feature on the screenwriter, Diane Thomas, a "Michael Douglas Remembers" feature and the three stars all talk about their favorite scenes. It isn't the best example of a "special edition," but it's perfectly acceptable.
The success of Romancing the Stone propelled the genesis of the inevitable sequel,
When we last saw Joan and Jack they were heading down a New York City street on his yacht, apparently about to embark on an around the world adventure. And apparently they did, 'cause when we next see them they've been spending an easy life on the yacht, but since familiarity breeds contempt, they're bored.
Then, Joan accepts an invitation from a handsome stranger to visit his North African kingdom, much to Jack's chagrin. But when she finds herself in danger as the chase for the mysterious jewel heats up, Jack sets off to rescue her and, aided by old nemesis Ralph (DeVito) is determined to save her.
It's pretty good, but like so many sequels it lacks the originality and charm of "Romancing the Stone.," Where in the original we saw Joan blossom from urban dweeb to adventuress, and Jack go from cynical loner to romantic hero, this time around they've already been there and done that.
The DVD's pretty good, though, with a good anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Digital 4.0 surround.
Extras include a commentary track by director Lewis Teague, deleted scenes, and a couple of featurettes. Again, not spectacular Special Edition stuff, but this isn't a spectacular sequel, either.
Romancing the Stone, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Jewel of the Nile, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Jim Bray's columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.
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