The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1985
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 4.0 Surround, Spanish Dolby Mono
Subtitles:English, Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin
Starring: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Directed by: Lewis Teague
Music by: Jack Nitzsche
Written by: Mark Rosenthal & Lawrence Konner
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 14, 2008
"Their back againand romancing a brand new stone"
Six months after Joan and Jack sailed off into the sunset, their relationship is looking rocky at least until they encounter the mystery of the jewel. After Joan accepts an invitation to visit a Middle Eastern country as a guest of a sheik, she is abducted and finds herself involved in the mystery surrounding the jewel. Jack arrives to save her with their hot-tempered foe Ralph still in pursuit. The intrepid trio must brave the raging storms and fierce desert tries, whirling dervishes and the cavernous labyrinth of the evil Omar to solve this mystery and discover that life doesn't always live up to romantic fantasies.
Where Romancing the Stone succeeded as a fresh approach to the action/adventure genre it's sequel Jewel of the Nile came up a bit short. The film pretty much picks up where Romance left off. Jack and Joan are living on Jack's sailboat in the French Riviera. Their romance has fizzled a bit and Joan is suffering from writer's block while trying to complete her latest book. When a foreign national who claims he is about to become an emperor in North Africa approaches Joan about writing his biography (which included traveling to Africa for the coronation) things heat up. Jack has no intention of going to Africa and Joan sees this as an opportunity to write something meaningful. The two decide to go their separate ways. Upon arriving in North Africa Joan quickly finds out that her host is not what he seems and that she has become entangled in a political and religious coup. He has taken possession of the Jewel of the Nile which he has future plans for. There is what appears to be a radical group who oppose him and attempt to assassinate him. Jack's sailboat is suddenly and unexpected blown to pieces at which time Ralph resurfaces seeking to even the score with Jack for sending him to prison. The leader of the radical group approaches Jack and Ralph and convinces them to help in the retrieval of the Jewel of the Nile. The film then begins to drift a bit. Joan decides that she is going to take on the emperor and right the wrongs he is attempting. Jack and Ralph end up in North Africa with the radical group only to become separated. Their sole intent is to find the Jewel and keep it for themselves which of course leads to further problems for them both. Jack and Joan are reunited and joined by a religious leader who had been imprisoned by the emperor. There are some plot twists one of which is that the Jewel of Nile is not what it would appear to be.
The screenplay appears to have been written with the sole intention of putting together comedic oneliners along with splashes of action sprinkled throughout. The recipe really does not work that well and the result is poor pacing and corny dialogue. Danny Devito returns as Ralph and again steals the show. Both Douglas and Turner appear to be trying too hard to recapture to essence of the first film.
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:
Jewel of the Nile 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.
This video presentation was very similar to that of Romancing the stone and looked very good overall. The only noticeable difference was some occasional light background noise that could be related to compression. I noticed it more during darker sequences but I didn't find it obtrusive. Here are my comments from the Romancing the stone review:
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. Skin tones were vivacious with excellent tonal delineation among the varying skin types in the cast. Grain was intact and never appeared visually intrusive.
The long range camera shots of the Moroccan deserts/landscapes (where the film was shot), the texture of the stone structures and intricate weave patterns of the middle eastern costumes were well resolved with crisp lines and visible articulation.
The audio quality was definitely an improvement over Romancing the stone although it had similar attributes. Here are my comments regarding the audio quality from the RTS review: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.
There was a discernible improvement in dynamics that delivered clearer definition to sound effects and weightier impact in general. Surround activity offered a nice blend of ambient and discrete sounds that better enveloped the listening position which broadened the soundfield. Where as RTS's aspect felt more one dimensional Jewel had better room penetration and depth. Bass reproduction wasn't prodigious but its presence was purposeful and tangibly obvious. The recording elements sounded somewhat dated but overall I found this to be a satisfying surround sound presentation.
- Commentary by Director Lewis Teague
- (HD) 6 Deleted scenes
- Romancing the Nile: A winning sequel - 21 minute featurette
- Adventures of a romance novelist - 8 minute featurette
- Theatrical trailer
Jewel of the Nile tries to pick up where Romancing the stone left off but lacks the same freshness and originality. The return of the original cast and larger set pieces/action sequences does make it a fun watch though. As with its predecessor Fox has done a wonderful job with its debut on high definition Blu-ray Disc. Audio/video quality is quite good and the inclusion of the bonus features from the most recent special edition DVD release is a plus for fans considering an upgrade.
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Ralph C. Potts
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