The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1984
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 106 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. English/French Dolby Surround, Spanish Mono
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin
Starring: Michael Douglass, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Alfonso Arau, Manuel Ojeda
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Music by: Alan Silverstri
Written by: Dian Thomas
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 14, 2008
"She’s a city girl. He’s a soldier of fortune. Together they share the ultimate adventure"
Timid romance/adventure novelist Joan Wilder (Turner) finds herself thrust into real-life adventures in South America as she learns that her sister is being held captive in Colombia by Ralph (DeVito) and Ira (Norman). Isolated and lost in the jungle, Joan is rescued by swashbuckling opportunist Jack (Douglas), and through a series of hilarious adventures, opposites attract and love is found within this unlikely couple.
I can clearly remember seeing this film when it originally came out in theaters back in 1984. I liked the movie then and wondered how it would fair against the test of time. Well it has held up pretty darn good. Kathleen Turner plays Joan Wilder a romance novel author who longs for excitement and fulfills that need through her writing and the characters she has created. As it turns out her sister gets wrapped up with some heavys down in Colombia and is ultimately kidnapped. She turns to Joan and asks her to come to Colombia and at the request of her captors bring along a treasure map which had inadvertantly come into Joan's possession. Upon arriving in Colombia she gets lost and meets Jack Colton ( Michael Douglas ) who reminds her very much of the character she created in her novels. Add to that Danny Devito who portrays Ralph a bumbling thief who starts out on the wrong side but ultimately ends up on the right one and you have a recipe for laughs, adventure and of course romance.
The story was pretty original at the time of it's release and in fact spawned a sequel (The Jewel of the Nile). While it may seem dated by today's standards for action/adventure films it is still plenty entertaining. Douglas and Turner have great chemistry together and Devito is perfect as Ralph. He steals just about every scene he is in. This film does not take itself too seriously which is one of the reasons it works so well.
The rating is for thematic material, language, and violence.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Romancing the stone comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 channel Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.
The video presented on this catalog release title looked surprisingly good. Images were clearly defined with crisp textures, and above average shadow detail. Occasionally sharpness waivered which softened the picture slightly but these occurrences were rare. Black levels were slightly elevated which tended to make dark scenes containing mixed content look flat. Colors were well saturated with vivid hues that while not eye popping, had excellent vibrancy and depth. The lush green jungles, and various mountain villages/locations in Mexico, used to shoot the film, exhibited remarkable detail and visual acuity that looked great for a 24 year old film. Skin tones were vivacious with excellent tonal delineation among the varying skin types in the cast. Grain was intact and never appeared visually intrusive. This was a high bitrate encoding that didn’t suffer from any obvious indications of edge enhancement, or compression related artifacts/noise. The DTS-HD lossless soundtrack made the most of what it had to work with in the source elements present in the recording. Dialogue was crisp, well intonated and mixed to a prominent position within the front soundstage. Sound effects and panning sequences emanating from the main channels were seamlessly integrated with discernible separation and average sound field penetration. The 1980’s techno pop music score didn’t have the feeling of authority and quantifiable dynamics that you might find with today’s digital recordings but it exerted tangible influence with crystal clear instrumentation. There was no subterranean bass contained in this mix however low frequency detail was present and detectable during a handful of scenes (such as the chase through the jungle with the pick up truck). The surround channels were used mainly for ambient spatial cues that provided a better sense of envelopment but not to the level of being engagingly immersive. I thought it sounded fine.
- (HD) 8 Deleted scenes
- Rekindling the Romance: A look back featurette
- A hidden treasure: The screenwriter featurette
- Douglas, Turner, DeVito: Favorite scenes featurette
- Michael Douglas remembers featurette
Romancing the stone succeeds at being just what it intends to be which is lots of fun. The chemistry among the three main cast members is unmistakable and a big reason why the film works so well. I am pleased to report that Fox has done a wonderful job with its debut on high definition Blu-ray Disc as it looks great. The inclusion of the bonus features from the 2006 DVD release is pure icing on the cake and should make this an easy upgrade decision for fans.
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