Romancing the Stone/B+,B+

Fox/1984/106m/WS 2.35

       A thoroughly delightful romp that capitalizes on the outstanding screen chemistry of stars Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. Turner plays romance novelist Joan Wilder who receives a desperate call from her sister a kidnap victim in Cartagena, Colombia. If Wilder does not deliver a treasure map she received from her brother-in-law in the mail, it's curtains for her sister. A wrong bus and a roadside collision brings Jack Colton to Wilder's rescue. It's a wild ride through the jungle as the pair are pursued by villains behind every lush tree. Once Colton gets a gander at the treasure map he forms a strong resolve not to abandon Wilder to the bad guys.    


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Sealing the bargain©Fox

     The villains are led by Ira and Ralph, a pair of adventurers looking for one big final score. There's a time-honored crooked Army officer using the local troops for his own gains, and village of drug pushers turns out to be very different than expected. The refreshing battle for the prize winds up as a battle royal with the chief victor a cold-blooded animal.
     Romancing the Stone firmly established Kathleen Turner's star power. A comfortable farceur, she combines blatant sexuality with a sense of humor about herself. This was the first of her three movie partnerships with Michael Douglas, including the sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, and the wonderful satire on marriage, The War of the Roses. Douglas is terrific as the world weary Jack Colton. Quick on his feet and quick with his wit, Douglas gives a consistently snappy performance. Danny DeVito is a joy as the hapless Ralph, pursuing Wilder and Colton with bumbling perfection. Alfonso Arrau has some nice moments as a drug dealor with a passion for romance novels and Zack Norman gives cousin Ira a formidable bite.
     Robert Zemeckis does an outstanding turn at the helm of Romancing the Stone. The action is almost non-stop, save for an itty bitty fling at romance. Zemeckis uses the landscape as a great prop and mines the most treaure from his actors. Diane Thomas has produced a nifty screenplay that borrows successfully from Walter Mitty. The photography by Dean Cundey adds lots of pizzazz as does the upbeat score by Alan Silvestri.
     Another first rate widescreen transfer from Fox which is very sharp without breaking up into a mass of NTSC artifacts. Contrast ratio is outstanding resulting in a punchy picture. Day or night, the DVD is virtually free from any grain. Color is intense and accurate. The range of reds is especially pleasing and the verdant jungle lively. The matrixed Dolby Digital 2-channel sound has lots of surround activity and Alan Silvestri's upbeat score has plenty of bounce and energy. The effects work is dynamic.

































































































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