Romancing the Stone (1984) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Comedy / Romance
Fox || PG - 106 minutes - $34.98 || October 14, 2008
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-11-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer(s): Diane Thomas (written by)
Cast: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito


Theatrical Release Date: March 30, 1984


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Rekindling the Romance: A Look Back
  • A Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter
  • Michael Douglas Remembers
  • Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favorite Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin

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.::THE FILM::.

The 1980s is remembered for many movies and television shows ó Raiders of the Lost Ark (and two subsequent sequels), The Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future, ďMagnum, PIĒ, numerous teen sex comedies (Porkyís) and Ghostbusters. And while a film like Romancing the Stone rarely gets mentioned, it is one that when you watch it, you realize that it probably aged better than most of the era.

Romancing is a fine enough action-adventure-romance-comedy and the first for its time, but there really isnít a singular moment that screams classic like the Indiana Jones movies, a good deal of which Michael Douglas owes for his character, Jack T. Colton. Honestly, the character itself isnít all that intriguing but Douglas does give him life and some 3-diemensionality.

Itís a simple story: famous romance novelist, and homebody, Joan Wilder (Turner) travels down to Colombia where her sister has been kidnapped. The kidnappers want a map her sisterís (dead) husband sent to her in exchange for the sisterís life. After she gets on the wrong bus, her own life is saved by Jack (Douglas) when a corrupt official, who is also after the map, tries to kill her. With the promise of money, Jack guides Joan through the jungles of Colombia with not only the police after them, but the kidnappers as well. Of course, things get complicated when Jack discovers the map and the possible treasure it leads to...

Romancing the Stone works on many levels. 1. As an action-adventure with Michael Douglas portraying a heroic, though self-centered, hero; 2. The romance that develops between Jack and Joan is great and the chemistry between Douglas and Turner is excellent; 3. It doesnít pretend itís something itís not. Itís just an all-around fun movie that both men and women can enjoy; 4. Finally, this is a film with grand scope, helped that it was filmed in a wide 2.35 aspect ratio. This gives the movie a larger than life feel that really helps convey the story.

The movie was written by Diane Thomas and directed by Robert Zemeckis who was on his way out of Hollywood at the time and with this, made an incredible comeback that would lead to Back to the Future. This was also Diane Thomasí first screenplay and, sadly, her last as she died a year later in a car accident.

What Zemeckis, Douglas and others did was incredible. This film brought together 3 Hollywood stars and future award winners. Remember, Michael Douglas at the time was known as a producer and television star and Danny DeVito was very much unknown and the fact all the pieces fell into place is probably the main reason why the film should be remembered for years to come beyond the great story and star chemistry.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features have been ported over from the 2006 Special Edition:

Deleted Scenes (18:47) Ė There are 8 scenes, most of which werenít needed in the final film, but there was one with Jack and Joan camping in the jungle that actually was pretty good.

Rekindling the Romance: A Look Back (19:45) is the grown jewel, so to speak, of this set. It includes new (2006) interviews with Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito recounting how the project got done, interesting story on how DeVito got involved and how new this genre was for its time.

Finally, there are 3 short featurettes: A Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter (3:15), Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favorite Scenes (3:54) and Michael Douglas Remembers (2:22) are all good featurettes with more interviews and footage from the movie as they discuss certain scenes or, in the case of ďA Hidden TreasureĒ, Douglas talks about the short life of writer Diane Thomas.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The movie is presented in 1080p high-definition with its OAR of 2.35. I always pay special attention to older films that get the HD treatment and although the picture looks good, it isnít anything that would make it worth the money or an upgrade for those who already own the DVD. Fox delivers the movie on a single 50GB Blu-ray disc (AVC codec).

The big disappointment on the Blu-ray release is the DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio mix. I was kind of stunned on how little my speakers were used and in many instances it failed to have any depth whatsoever. I even checked to make sure the Dolby Surround track wasnít accidentally being used.



.::OVERALL::.

Romancing the Stone on Blu-ray is fairly disappointing. Itís no surprise that Fox only ported over the features with nothing new to entice an upgrade but the video, while good, wasnít spectacular and the audio was pretty bad. Although overall I give it a moderate recommendation, if you already own the DVD, donít bother upgrading unless you can find this at a bargain price.