An old-fashioned adventure tale from director Robert Zemeckis, this 1984 feature still retains a strong following thanks to the fact that it seems like this kind of flick is so rarely made anymore - and, despite not reaching the heights of the "Indiana Jones" series - it's still a good deal of fun more than 20 years after its release. The film opens with romance novelist Joan Wilder (an enjoyably fussy Kathleen Turner) getting a call from her sister, who's been captured in Columbia. If Joan doesn't bring a newly found treasure map to Columbia, she may never see her sister again.
So, she heads off to South America, only to find herself on the wrong bus and find herself in the wrong place at the wrong time before being rescued by Jack Colton (producer Michael Douglas), who quickly becomes her guide. The remainder of the picture has the two being chased, bickering and gradually warming up to one another.
It's nothing too terribly original, but "Stone" works largely due to a number of factors, such as terrific chemistry between Douglas and Turner (who both offer great performances) and a consistently quick pace once the film gets going and jumping between action scenes. A supporting effort from Danny Devito as one of the villains after John and Joan also adds to the fun. It's a breezy, entertaining movie that manages to not take itself seriously and yet not seem so lightweight to be forgettable. Aspects of the picture now feel rather dated, but the movie still has a lot to offer and balances romance and adventure well.
VIDEO: "Romancing the Stone" is presented in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) by Fox. While this transfer isn't going to shock anyone, I was at least pleasantly surprised by this top-notch presentation of the nearly 25-year-old picture. Sharpness and detail are excellent throughout much of the picture, and there's even very nice depth to the image at times, too. While a few minor instances of artifacting were spotted and a few print flaws were seen, the majority of the picture looked unexpectedly smooth and clean. Colors looked natural and bright, with nice saturation and no smearing. Black level looked solid, while flesh tones looked accurate. Overall, this was a very nice presentation that fans should enjoy. Overall, this excellent transfer was a clear winner over the one included on the previous DVD Special Edition and probably the best the film has looked since it was originally released.
SOUND: The film gets a DTS-HD 5.1 presentation on this Blu-Ray release. The prior DVD release offered 2.0 audio only. The repurposed soundtrack offered mild use of the surrounds, as well as a decent spread across the front soundstage. Sound effects seemed rather dated-sounding, even for a movie from 1984. Effects could also sound slightly harsh/distorted at times, as well. Dialogue fared well, however, sounding clear and clean.
EXTRAS: Same extras as the prior DVD release:
"Rekindling the Romance" is a 19-minute documentary that features new interviews with Douglas, Turner, Devito and others. The documentary serves as a pleasant "look back", going over the script, production stories and more. It provides some good memories, goes by fairly quickly and should be fun for fans. "Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter", " Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favorite Scenes" and "Michael Douglas Remembers" are short featurettes - the first discussing screenwriter Diane Thomas (who tragically passed away not long after the film) and the second having Douglas providing some additional memories. Finally, " Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favorite Scenes" is just what it says: the three share their favorite moments in the film. Rounding out the package are a set of worthwhile deleted scenes (although unfortunately, no commentary.)
Final Thoughts: "Romancing" remains good, old-fashioned fun, with solid performances from Douglas and Turner. Although aspects of it appear dated, it still stands up pretty well. The Blu-Ray presentation offers much better video quality than expected, good (considering the age of the film) audio quality and some minor supplements. Recommended.
The Film B+