This is one of the best movies of the 1980s. It is a perfect blend of comedy, adventure and action.
I would have liked a commentary track with Danny Devito, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.
Romancing the Stone tells the tale of Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), a romance novelist who must come to the aid of her sister who has been kidnapped in Colombia. In order to save her she must bring a treasure map that many people want to get their hands on. As she travels through the jungles, she meets up with Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) who embodies the macho, male characters that she fantasizes about in her novels. They band together to save her sister but it is never clear until the end whether Jack Colton is on her side or just along for the ride. Playing into all this is Ralph (Danny Devito) who is trying to control Joan behind the scenes. There are many hijinks, thrills, spills and laughs along the way as we are taken into a good old fashion jungle adventure.
There are eight of these in total and for the most part, aside from some minor audio drop outs, everything sounds really good. With titles like "Jack Colton" and "Alligator," I think that these scenes are mainly excess footage that was better served left on the cutting room floor. Clocking in at 106 minutes, the film itself has just the right tone and pace and these scenes don't really do much other than show us more things about the characters that are revealed later or simply unnecessary.
Rekindling the Romance
Micheal Douglas, Danny DeVito, Kathleen Turner and other creative types look back at the making of this movie. They all talk about the script and why it grabbed them for various reasons. It is a mix of present day footage and interviews shot when the film itself was in production. There's some interesting stuff here, especially when Danny DeVito talks about his role and Michael Douglas explains how director Robert Zemeckis got hired.
A Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter Featurette
A bittersweet look back at Diane Thomas who wrote the screenplay when she was a waittress and was rewarded $250,000 for her troubles. She wasn't able to work on Jewel of the Nile because she was writing Always, but she did offer many notes on the script. Sadly, she was killed in a car accident while her Jack Coltonesque boyfriend was driving the Porsche Michael Douglas had bought her.
Actors Choose their Favorite Scenes
This is a lot of fun as we see Turner, DeVito and Douglas talk about their favorite scenes in this movie. One of them for DeVito was when he's being chased by a car and he's shooting at it while running away. For Turner, she loved the scene where she is recognized at the Hacienda by Juan (Alfonso Arau) for being a romance novelist, and for Douglas he loved the discourse between him and Turner after they are dumped over the waterfall.
Michael Douglas Remembers
Since I am a huge Michael Douglas fan, I really enjoyed watching this. It looks at his career when he started work on The Streets of San Francisco, being Danny DeVito's roommate, becoming a producer and how he got his shot (and made the most of it) in movies. Mixed with older footage and people like Danny DeVito talking about him, I highly recommend this to Michael Douglas afficionados.
Widescreen - 2.35:1. Try as studios might, I haven't seen an action movie with this much humor and scope in a long while. While the colors of this movie are more muted than I remember them being, I think that has more to do with the type of stock used and the time period in which it was shot than anything else. The DVD transfer has done a very good job of preserving this film in all it's size and glory.
Dolby Digital. English and French Dolby Surround. Spanish Mono. Close Captioned. Subtitled in English and Spanish. This movie is a fantasy yet it is always grounded in some form of reality. While the audio isn't used in any way that I think people are going to see as groundbreaking, it does help to put this story across and I think if this movie was bumped up to HD-DVD or Blu-ray, it certainly could take people's systems for a spin.
The one sheet artwork from this movie's theatrical release is employed on this front cover. Utilizing a romance novel vibe, Michale Douglas and Kathleen Turner swing through the jungle on a vine. The back offers up a description of the film, a Special Features listing and technical specs. There are also some shots from the movie as well. They have even included a production booklet that looks at this film from it's inception, to it's creation and finally to it's release and beyond. Overall, solid packaging for a Special Edition.
When I first saw Romancing the Stone in 1984, I didn't get what all the hype was about. Quite frankly, I think that the movie was a tad over my head. Having watched the film over the years (and been able to appreciate Diane Thomas's humorous screenplay), I look at Romancing the Stone as one of the best action adventure films ever made. This movie isn't mindless popcorn entertainment but at the same time it's also a lot of fun. While it is filled with interesting characters that help move the story along, what really keeps everything together is the obvious chemistry between Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas.
Presented in a Special Edition, Romancing the Stone finally gets it's just deserts on DVD.
Romancing the Stone was released March 30, 1984.