Romancing the Stone – Special Edition (1984/2006)

by | Oct 2, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Romancing the Stone – Special Edition (1984/2006)

Starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Studio: Fox
Video: 2.35:1 enhanced for 16:9, color
Audio: DD 5.1, 2.0, English/French/Spanish (mono)
Subtitles: Captioned, English, Spanish
Extras: Looking Back Featurette, Screenwriter Featurette, The three lead actors choose their favorite scenes, Deleted scenes, Michael Douglas Remembers Featurette
Length: 106 minutes
Rating: ****

Douglas’ first feature film after the Streets of San Francisco TV series was this one, for which he was originally the producer and had not planned on taking the lead role. The interesting special features section  may be well worth watching first, especially if you saw the film in the 80s.  Douglas reveals that he paid the highest amount at the time for a first movie screenplay – $250,000 – because he thought the writer’s meld of adventure, action, comedy and romance was unique. The writer was a waitress in Malibu who penned the plot in her spare time.

Turner plays a highly successful writer of popular romance novels who lives in a fantasy world.  Suddenly her real world becomes wilder than her fiction as she is involved in saving her sister who is kidnapped in Columbia.  Douglas’ character is a rugged American hanging out in Columbia who seems to be a hero straight out of one of her bodice-busting novels. DeVito is a relative of the man who has kidnapped her in order to get his hands on a treasure map her late husband had owned. But there is an even more evil adversary in the brutal head of the Columbian police. The Douglas and Turner characters have to escape from all the baddies and bandits plus the snakes, crocodiles and other dangers in the jungle to free her sister and find the treasure indicated by the map for themselves.

The mix of all the seemingly opposing elements works very well, and the acting is fairly convincing – not like the throwaway wink-wink sort of approach some stars would affect in a story of this nature.  The settings are quite real – Douglas really did take everybody to the jungles to film this and the actors did roll around in the mud of the rain forest.  This was my first viewing of the film, but the campfire scene inside the wrecked marijuana-running DC-3 must surely rate at least as high a popularity among the heads as any Cheech & Chong movie.  The transfer looks great and there’s good usage of the surrounds in both interior and exterior scenes.

 – John Sunier

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