Romancing the Stone: Special Edition

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is a romance novel writer. You know, those romance novels with heaving breasts and rippling muscles, the Harlequin type. Anyway, she’s just finished her latest book, and she’s ready to deliver it to her publisher. She gets all the pages together, heads out the door, then a neighbor hands her an envelope that was too large to fit through her mail slot. She takes the envelope, and drives off to the publisher. Upon returning to her apartment, she finds the place ransacked, even though she heavily locks her door. Before she can even asses the damage, the phone rings, with her sister on the other end. Her sister went to Columbia, after her husband’s tragic death. Her sister tells her that she needs to bring the envelope to Columbia, or she will die. The envelope contains a treasure map, which shows the way to precious booty, and many have died to get their hands on it. Joan leaves right away for Columbia, beginning an adventure she will never forget. Once there, she ends up being chased by the man who burgled her apartment, and saved by an unwilling hero, Jack Colton (Michael Douglas). Colton learns of the treasure map, and persuades Joan to beat the bad guys to the goodies, which kicks off an adventure filled with danger and romance. But will this adventure end up like one of Joan’s romance novels, or will it turn out more like a Stephen King book?

This movie is a fun filled adventure movie, with some good performances and great direction. While the not the best film in the adventure genre, it’s a great pick for fans of the genre. Let’s face it, nothing can beat Indiana Jones, so I won’t compare the two. This movie is great in it’s own right however, with a terrific blend of thrills and romance. The stunts are frequent and entertaining, but the dialogue between the main players is even better. I hadn’t seen this movie in quite a while, and I must admit, it seems a little dated when viewing it now. But since I enjoyed the film before, I still like it, I just feel that people finding it here for the first time may not like it as much. So, if you are a fan of adventure movies, this is one of the best, and you should check it out. In my review of the original disc, I told fans to hold out for a Special Edition and while the wait has been an extensive one, now it has indeed arrived. A new anamorphic transfer and a few supplements later, Romancing the Stone is prime for purchase, so if you’re a fan, snatch this release right up.

Romancing The Stone is fueled by two main characters, with a primary supporting actor, and a few other smaller supporting roles. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner take on the leading roles, and have some fantastic chemistry. The banter between these two, especially during arguments, is classic. Douglas (Wall Street, Falling Down) is excellent, playing Colton with perfect texture, both macho and bumbling. Turner (Serial Mom, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) also turns in a great performance, transforming Joan from sheltered dreamer to worldly woman. Adding even more humor to the film is Danny Devito, as a kidnapper and all around shady character. Devito (Twins, Living Out Loud) is perfect for this part, and adds depth to the cast, which is much needed. Also featured are Manuel Ojeda, Alfonso Arau (Three Amigos, El Topo), and Zack Norman (Cadillac Man, Lush Life). Romancing The Stone was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who also helmed Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Contact, and the Back To The Future series.

Video: How does it look?

Romancing the Stone is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. In my original review, I stated that the image was very good, but just lacks the sharpness to achieve greatness. This time around, thanks to the new anamorphic treatment, the sharpness is amped up and detail is much more impressive. As before, the colors are bright, yet natural, with the tropical greens looking very lush. Black levels are a little dark, but nothing drastic. I didn’t feel the need to adjust the brightness level, and I doubt you will either. Flesh tones are correct, and no bleeding or other woes are evident. In the end, we have a welcome improvement that brings the movie up to date, so fans should be quite pleased.

Audio: How does it sound?

I wasn’t too pleased with the 2.0 surround option found on the original release and since it is still here now, I remain displeased. he audio is handled by a Dolby surround track, which is good, but doesn’t take advantage of the audio opportunities the movie offers. The surrounds are used, but nowhere near as much as they should be, with several glaring missed chances. What audio is present sounds good, with effects and music that sound full. The dialogue is clean and clear, with no separation issues to be found. This movie needed a new 5.1 overhaul, but sadly, that didn’t happen with this new edition. This disc also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.

Supplements: What are the extras?

I would have loved a commentary from director Robert Zemeckis, but no such luck and instead, we have some deleted scenes and some retrospective interviews.

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