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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Romancing the Stone - Special Edition



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#1 of 17 Michael Osadciw

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Posted September 08 2006 - 06:56 AM





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ROMANCING THE STONE
SPECIAL EDITION

Posted Image
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Film Year: 1984
Length: 105 minutes
Genre: Adventure/Comedy/Romance

Aspect Ratio:
  • 2.35:1 Theatrical Ratio

    Colour/B&W: Colour

    Audio:
  • English Posted Image Posted Image 2.0 Surround

  • French Posted Image Posted Image 2.0 Surround

  • Spanish Posted Image Posted Image 2.0 mono

    Subtitles: English & Spanish
    Film Rating: Posted Image


    Posted Image Posted Image






  • Release Date: August 29, 2006.


    Film Rating: Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    Starring: Michael Douglas (Jack T. Colton), Kathleen Turner (Joan Wilder), Danny DeVito (Ralph), Zack Norman (Ira), Alfonso Arau (Juan), Manuel Ojeda (Zolo)

    Written by: Diane Thomas
    Directed by: Robert Zemeckis


    She's a girl from the big city. He's a reckless soldier of fortune. For a fabulous treasure, they share an adventure no one could imagine... or survive.


    One of our favourite ‘80s action/adventure films has finally received a much-needed remastering on DVD. Special Editions of Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile (not reviewed) are now available and I'll tell you it is worth the upgrade from your old non-anamorphic widescreen edition.

    Romancing the Stone stars Kathleen Turner as Joan Wilder, a romance novelist who can’t seem to find a spark for another man. She lives alone and buried in her writings, dreaming up adventure/romance stories women shed tears over.

    It’s not until she receives a desperate phone call from her sister from Columbia when her own adventure begins. Joan’s sister has been kidnapped and in order to save her, she needs to bring a mysterious treasure map to Columbia and hand-deliver it to her captors.

    Joan finds herself in a story worth writing about while getting entangled in jungles, mudslides, bullets, and crocodiles. With the help of Jack T. Colton, a wanderer deep in the Columbian jungles, they will escape the bad guys, search for the treasure and save her sister.

    This version of the film has the alternate versions of subtitles vs. dialogue. Some people have expressed discontent that some subtitles have been removed from the DVD versions (when comparing them to the TV version). Different dialogue is also substituted at some moments. Many films go through some changes over time and this isn’t unheard of, but it is the version on this DVD. I wouldn’t expect a different one to ever come out on SD-DVD.


    Posted ImageVIDEO QUALITY Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    What a relief it is to see an improved transfer of this title. It looks much better than the previous non-anamorphic version displaying more resolution, less edginess, and slightly greater colour detail. The print does look aged and isn’t free from all artefacts as dirt and film grain is periodically noticed. There is also some soft photography during the climax of the film as many shots appear out of focus and very blurry. Every source of Romancing the Stone I’ve seen always had these shots out of focus and I imagine this can’t be corrected.

    Contrast is very good and black levels, while deep, can look a bit undefined in the deepest shades. Edge enhancement doesn’t appear to be a problem and there are only very small, minor compression artefacts seen on my 8-foot screen.

    The film is presented in its ratio that appears to be correct at 2.35:1. Oddly enough, some shots look somewhat squeezed as if they weren’t completely unsqueezed from its original photography. From memory, there are a few shots of Joan Wilder slightly after the bus crash that exhibits this.


    Posted ImageAUDIO QUALITY Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround presentation is adequate but not all that exciting. Dialogue sounds thin and weak throughout the frequency range and occasionally comes out of the left and right channels rather than being focused in the center channel. It can also be distorted and a bit strident depending on how loud the person talks/yells. Sound effects sound equally dated and many are stereotypical catalogued sounds. Gunshots are cheesy sounding and weak and rarely shake up an ambience with the environment they are shot in. Bass is very limited; this is more of a 100Hz and up presentation. The music track is the better performer, despite having the obvious ‘80s synthesizer sound. But that is one of the things that make this movie so lovable.

    TACTILE FUN!! ZERO / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
    TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: OFF

    Tactile ratings are based on the information in the dedicated LFE channel only. Bass from any other channel has not been rerouted to the LFE. For “shaking” purposes, I’m interested only in the bass the LFE provides to enhance the bass in all other channels. It also gives me a good indication of how much of that “.1 LFE” channel is used on each film. A Clark Synthesis TST-429 is used on an AudioSource AMP5.3, an AudioQuest Diamondback interconnect and Crankin’ Cable 12-awg speaker wire.

    There is no LFE channel and I didn’t redirect any bass to it from the main channels.


    Posted ImageSPECIAL FEATURES Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    There are eight deleted/alternate scenes on this disc. Some scenes are clearly deleted and others feature similar conversation that already appears in the movie, just with a different setting. Most of these deleted scenes are in the first half of the film when Joan is walking through the jungle with Jack. They clearly slow the film down and it was wise not to include them in the film. They are always appreciated in the special features area. They are 2.35:1 and widescreen enhanced, but don’t look as polished as the final film.

    Three featurettes follow and are filled with both new interviews clips from 1984.

  • Rekindling The Romance: A Look Back (19.45) features Douglas, Turner, and DeVito remembering the days when the film was made.

  • A Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter (3.10) features Douglas remembering the creator of Romancing the Stone, Diane Thomas, who a few years later died tragically in a car crash. Douglas is saddened about the crash especially since it was in a car he gave to her. He probably feels slightly responsible…but he can’t stop DUI.

  • Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favourite Scenes (4min) is basically what the title implies. The three actors point out their favourite scenes with them in it.

  • Michael Douglas Remembers (2.20) is another looking back featurette.


    IN THE END…

    It was fun to watch this movie again since it’s been years I’ve seen it last. This DVD is worth the upgrade for the improved picture quality. The special features are average, but good enough for me. Maybe the inclusion of the full 1984 interviews, and a bit of participation from Robert Zemeckis would be nice, but I don’t often watch special features so for the amount included on this film was just right for me. Recommended.

    Michael Osadciw
    September 8, 2006.
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    #2 of 17 Frank@N

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 07:09 AM

    I bought both titles and thought they were a tremendous value for $10 each.

    Each set also comes with an 8-page booklet and fancy slipcover.

    Both films are sometimes dismissed as Indiana Jones clones, but I found little resemblance.

    The 'Stone' movies are present day and are more light-hearted because the world isn't hanging in the balance (just a couple of nice people).

    #3 of 17 PeterTHX

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 11:39 AM

    My Dolby Digital decoder gives it an oddball "2/1" decoding, instead of the 2/0 decoder readout for normal Dolby Surround soundtracks.

    I had to manually set it to THX Surround Cinema because of this.

    Anyone else have an issue?

    #4 of 17 jim.vaccaro

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 11:59 AM

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PeterTHX
    My Dolby Digital decoder gives it an oddball "2/1" decoding, instead of the 2/0 decoder readout for normal Dolby Surround soundtracks.

    I had to manually set it to THX Surround Cinema because of this.

    Anyone else have an issue?

    Do you mean 2.1 or 2 front channels and one rear? My old JVC reports this as a 2 front 1 rear track, which is odd. No issues with the sound itself, though.

    #5 of 17 PeterTHX

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 12:25 PM

    yes, 2 front, 1 surround

    #6 of 17 jim.vaccaro

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 01:27 PM

    I've noticed that my decoder does this with some Dolby 2.0 titles...some get recognized as 2/0, some as 2/1. I have no idea why, but it doesn't affect the sound as I said: RTS played fine. Were you getting sound through the center channel before setting to THX surround?

    #7 of 17 Travis Brashear

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 03:18 PM

    Sorry to switch tracks to the sequel for a second but I won't be able to look at my own DVD of the new JEWEL OF THE NILE: Special Edition for a while so can anyone tell me--is the trailer on it the 90-second teaser that begins with Danny DeVito running into a phone booth in the middle of a desert and ends with him saying, "And if I've gotta go..." [turns to the camera and sneers at the audience] "...then you've gotta go!"?
    Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part...
    --Det. William Somerset, SE7EN

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    #8 of 17 PeterTHX

    PeterTHX

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 04:14 PM

    Quote:
    Were you getting sound through the center channel before setting to THX surround?

    No, that's how I noticed something was unusual about the channel configuration. My Onkyo TXSR803 receiver is set to "neutral" when a new channel config is played, and then my preferred surround setting is set manually (it keeps the setting until changed). So there is 2 front channels and 1 discrete surround (L-R-S) apparently. Which is really weird. I would have expected a 4.0 configuration (L-C-R-S) for this film.

    #9 of 17 Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 04:19 PM

    Peter it is not a 4.0 presentation. Correct indicators for this 2.0 surround soundtrack is L, R, S. Surround and center is derived from left and right channels.

    Mike
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    #10 of 17 PeterTHX

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    Posted September 08 2006 - 04:50 PM

    Of course. But the encoding is flagged 2/1. 3.0 isn't correct because there isn't a center channel, and of course no 3/1 (4.0). I've just never had a film flagged in this manner before.

    According to my research, there were 70MM prints made, which would indicate that some master out there *does* have a 4.0 mix. Fox is normally pretty good about these things so I have to wonder. Will we have to wait for the Blu-ray edition to get a proper soundtrack?

    #11 of 17 Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw

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    Posted September 09 2006 - 03:32 AM

    Every 2.0 Surround soundtrack I have is flagged this way. I see nothing abnormal about this soundtrack.
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    #12 of 17 Dave GR

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    Posted September 09 2006 - 11:59 AM

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Travis Brashear
    Sorry to switch tracks to the sequel for a second but I won't be able to look at my own DVD of the new JEWEL OF THE NILE: Special Edition for a while so can anyone tell me--is the trailer on it the 90-second teaser that begins with Danny DeVito running into a phone booth in the middle of a desert and ends with him saying, "And if I've gotta go..." [turns to the camera and sneers at the audience] "...then you've gotta go!"?

    Just watched JotN, and enjoyed it a whole lot more than I remembered from years ago. And yeah, that trailer is on the disc.

    #13 of 17 Travis Brashear

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    Posted September 09 2006 - 12:08 PM

    Dave GR, thanks a million!
    Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part...
    --Det. William Somerset, SE7EN

    http://www.dvdanthol...-movielist.html), http://LDDb.com/coll....user=Filmmaker

    #14 of 17 Anthony Neilson

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    Posted September 09 2006 - 10:40 PM

    I just watched this last night and I agree with the comments above. The PQ is excellent but the audio is noticeably weak.

    But ROMANCING THE STONE is just one of many,many movies that is near-to-ruined for me by the crappy 80s music. Why did we not notice how awful synth-drums and Kenny G sax were at the time? Personally - and I say this only partly in jest - I think there's a case for goIng back and re-scoring several 80s movies with music that's a bit less dated. Do RUNAWAY TRAIN as well.

    OK - bring on the abuse!
    I've been going to bed early . . .

    #15 of 17 WaveCrest

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    Posted August 17 2011 - 11:04 AM

    Have done a HTF search for existing threads about Romancing the Stone (1984) and Jewel of the Nile (1985), and found this seemed the most suitable one as it covers both films (even though the review is just for Romancing the Stone).


    These two adventure films I have been meaning to get on DVD for ages. However, when I found the Region 2 (UK) releases in 2005 were either barebones or had just trailers for DVD extras, and the Region 1 boxset of both films together had a few DVD extras I was considering getting the Region 1 release.


    When seeing Romancing the Stone on TV, I do remember some shots being out of focus.


    And I liked the end credits of Jewel of the Nile with Billy Ocean's track When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.


    Which is the better of the two films? For me, Romancing the Stone just edges it.


    Is there much chance of these two films being re-released on DVD (or released on Blu-ray)?



    #16 of 17 Will*B

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    Posted August 19 2011 - 08:11 PM

    I've always loved these films. For me, Romancing the Stone is way better than Jewel.


    They've both been out on Blu-ray for a while - with some fairly interesting extras.


    I picked up the double-BD pack here in Australia for $7.99. Definitely recommended.


     

     


    #17 of 17 WaveCrest

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    Posted August 21 2011 - 04:41 AM

    Have checked Amazon.com for Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, comparing the extras on the DVD and Blu-ray releases, and it appears they're identical. Are they region locked and have an improved picture? I remember when seeing Romancing the Stone on TV, that the night scenes were grainy.


    Glad that they've used the original artwork. Thought they might have included the music video for Billy Ocean's music track, but that's just a nit-pick.