‘Romancing the Stone’ Blu-ray Review
‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’ has been a huge influence on many action/adventure films over the years. In 1984 an action/adventure/romantic comedy would make its debut by the name of ‘Romancing the Stone’ which would heavily borrow elements from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ but with a direction of its own. The film was directed by Robert Zemeckis with a $75 million dollar box office smash making stars out of our heroes.
The story in ‘Romancing the Stone’ revolves around a very successful novelist Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) who writes romantic adventure novels. The film actually begins with the pages coming to life out of Wilder’s novel, The Savage Secret. The opening sequence is a sign of things to come later on for Joan Wilder. Wilder receives a package from her murdered brother-in-law Eduardo. Then things get interesting as her sister, wife of the dead brother-in-law calls Wilder to tell her that she is being held hostage in exchange for the package that was just delivered and she must come to Columbia.
Wilder takes a trip to Columbia with the package in tow to help free her sister from the captives. What is in this package you may ask? Well, it’s a treasure map that these kidnappers are after. Once she is down in Columbia, the chaos begins for her that really makes the first act of the film a very fun filled adventure that would last till the end. This is where Wilder meets Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas) and for $375, she recruits him to help her save her sister. It was a good thing for Joan to recruit Jack, because they meet a few pesky villains along the way that want to stop them at any cost. They have their hands full when they run into the leader of the secret police Zolo (Manual Ojeda), two bandits Ralph (Danny DeVito) and Ira (Zack Norman). We begin an even wilder ride for both Jack and Joan as they try to escape the three protagonists to save her sister and find out what is all about this treasure that had her brother-in-law murdered.
‘Romancing the Stone’ is a very fun filled adventure that combines many genres into one. I haven’t had this much fun with a film in years when I originally watched this in the 80’s and yet again still holds up very well here in 2008. While a lot of comparisons are made to ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, this film does stand on its own. The screenplay was written years before ‘Raiders’, the popularity of Spielberg’s classic paved the way for adventure films like ‘Romancing the Stone’ to be released.
For a film from the 80’s, the lush environments that we are taken to are also beautiful on screen. This is what I miss in films of today where CGI and green screens take center stage over filming in real actual environments like the old days of film making. From the wild chases, a bus crashing, hungry crocodiles, and all kinds of crazy action sequences this film keeps you glued to the television set the entire time.
The print is presented in a 1080p transfer with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I will say the word amazing for how good the film looks in its debut in high definition. Yet again FOX engineers deliver the goods in the picture department. The previous DVD Special Edition from 2006 was an upgrade from the original DVD release and the trend continues here with very vibrant and strong colors. The colors really pop off the screen, especially in any of the jungle scenes and the outside scenery. Details are good considering that this is a 24 year old film. I found the transfer to be rather clean with very small hints of grain that you would have to really look hard to notice.
The audio is presented in an English 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless audio mix. While the audio was never something to brag about with the DVD version, it is actually much better here with ‘Romancing the Stone’. I found the audio to be rather clean with light dynamic sounds coming through the rear surrounds. Dialogue comes through the center channel very clear and crisp. Again, the original sound track was available in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround mix, so don’t be expecting a spectacular sound experience.
All of the extras from the Special Edition DVD have made their way to the Blu-ray version. I really enjoyed ‘Rekindling the Romance: A Look Back’ as Douglas, Turner, and DeVito take a look back at what it took to bring this film to the screen.
- Deleted Scenes (Jack T. Colton, By the River, Keep Quiet, Treasure Map, Campfire on a Cargo Plane, Romancing the Stone, Alligator, and The Book Signing)
- Rekindling The Romance: A Look Back Featurette
- A Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter Featurette
- Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favorite Scenes Featurette
- Michael Douglas Remembers Featurette
I have been a fan of ‘Romancing the Stone’ since first viewing the film back in the 80’s and I highly recommend the Blu-ray version as an upgrade over the DVD Special Edition. This is a very joyful action/adventure/romantic comedy that will have you glued to your television throughout the entire ride.
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