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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Lewis Teague
Cast:
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Spiros Focás, Avner Eisenberg, Paul David Magid, Howard Jay Patterson, Randall Edwin Nelson, Samuel Ross Williams, Timothy Daniel Furst, Hamid Fillali
Writing Credits:
Mark Rosenthal, Lawrence Konner, Diane Thomas (characters)

Tagline:
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Synopsis:
Plucky romance novelist Joan Wilder is thrust back into a world of murder, chases, foreign intrigue ... and love. This time out she's duped by a duplicitous Arab dignitary who brings her to the Middle East, ostensibly to write a book about his life. Of course he's up to no good, and Joan is just another pawn in his wicked game. But Jack Colton and his sidekick Ralph, old friends from her previous adventures, show up to help our intrepid heroine save the day.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$68.275 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 4.0
Spanish Monaural
French Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 8/29/2006

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Lewis Teague
• Deleted Scenes
• “Romancing the Nile: A Winning Sequel” Featurette
• “Adventures of a Romance Novelist” Featurette
• Booklet
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Jewel Of The Nile: Special Edition (1985)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 29, 2006)

After 1984’s Romancing the Stone became a hit, the studio wasted no time churning out a sequel. The Jewel of the Nile made it to screens little more than a year and a half after the initial release of Stone. I thought Nile bombed, but if we can trust IMDB, I recalled incorrectly. While Stone took in $74 million, Nile pulled in $68 million. That’s close enough to make one think that Nile should be viewed as a decent success.

Perhaps it’s the common critical opinion of the two flicks that left me with the impression that Nile tanked. While most view Stone as a winner, few feel positively about its sequel. Does Nile deserve to been seen as the lesser of the two flicks? Read on and see!

When Stone ended, adventurers and lovers Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) and Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) sailed off into the sunset. Nile finds them during their extended boat-oriented travels. However, Joan tires of all this. She needs to finish her novel but suffers from writer’s block and wants to slow down their lifestyle.

Intrigue re-enters Joan’s life when a suave, rich admirer named Omar Khalifa (Spiros Focas) approaches her. He wants her to travel the Nile with him and write about his story as he attempts to unite the tribes of the Nile and bring peace to the area. Jack doesn’t cotton to that idea, so the pair split – perhaps temporarily, perhaps forever.

Inevitably, additional complications ensue. For one, Omar doesn’t seem to be as pure as he’d like Joan to believe. Tarak (Paul David Magid) tries to kill him and then tells Jack that Omar stole a special jewel precious to his people. This occurs after Ralph (Danny DeVito) – a low-life from the first flick – confronts Jack. Ralph still wants that titular stone and tries to wheedle it out of Jack.

When Tarak tells the guys about this “Jewel of the Nile”, they get involved. Jack wants to do this to help Joan, while Ralph just seeks fortune. The movie follows these themes as Joan sees the reality of Omar’s regime and the others work to get the Jewel.

Since I wasn’t wild about Stone, that should have left me more open to like Jewel. After all, I didn’t maintain high expectations for the sequel, so it became more difficult for it to disappoint me.

To that degree, I thought it succeeded. Jewel isn’t a great film, but it provides a reasonably satisfying follow-up to Stone. I like the fact that it tries to show that sailing off into the sunset doesn’t guarantee happiness. Joan sees that her romance novel dreams won’t necessarily come true and that she and Jack actually have to work at a successful relationship.

That sounds awfully heavy for what remains a light action flick at heart. Don’t worry – the flick doesn’t weigh us down with those themes. They simply bring out an interesting side of things that I wouldn’t expect.

Although I read some comments that Jewel took a more comedic bent than Stone, I find the opposite to be true. Indeed, Jewel offers quite a few light moments and jokey elements, perhaps more than we saw in the original. However, it emphasizes action to a greater degree. Whereas the first flick balanced comedy, romance and action to a fairly even degree, this one puts a stronger value on the thrills. Even an inherently comic scene like the one in which Jack must battle a tribesman for Joan’s virtue becomes action-oriented.

And that’s what I prefer about Jewel. I thought Stone tried too hard to please all its potential audiences. It didn’t bring out a strong thematic feel as it endorsed various genres. These failed to mesh in a satisfying manner.

With its more concentrated emphasis, Jewel proves more consistent and moderately more enjoyable. To be sure, I won’t call it a great flick. The action is never better than good, and the characters don’t grow a whole lot past where they stood in the first movie. We don’t find much complexity, and the flick tends to veer toward cookie-cutter action film status too much of the time. It never quite turns into “product”, but it edges in that direction.

Nonetheless, Jewel kept me entertained better than Stone. This may stem from expectations, as I thought I’d like Stone and dislike Jewel. Whatever the case may be, Jewel was a moderately enjoyable flick.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

The Jewel of the Nile appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. After the solid transfer that came with Stone, the lackluster visuals of Nile were a disappointment.

Sharpness varied. While some shots presented very good definition, more than a few others suffered from lackluster delineation. The movie often looked vaguely soft. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but I saw some light edge enhancement. As for print flaws, I noticed sporadic examples of specks and marks. Though these never seemed dominant, they created occasional distractions.

Colors were another lackluster element. Despite all the movie’s exotic and potentially vibrant settings, the tones tended to appear somewhat flat. They could come across as reasonably vivid at times but too often they were a little on the drab side. Blacks were similarly decent but unexceptional, and shadows tended to come across as moderately thick. Although I never found this to be a bad transfer, it showed too many concerns to rate higher than a “C”. It simply looked a bit too murky to satisfy.

On the other hand, the Dolby Digital 4.0 soundtrack of The Jewel of the Nile worked pretty well. The soundfield seemed oriented toward the forward channels, where they showed very good stereo imaging for music and effects. Elements meshed together well and moved smoothly. Localization was also very good. The surrounds were somewhat limited but they added more than acceptable reinforcement to the image.

Audio quality was positive. Dialogue seemed slightly weak at times, as I occasionally heard some mild edginess, but it generally appeared warm and natural. Effects were consistently crisp and clear, with no audible distortion, and few times we witnessed some nice bass as well. Music sounded clean and lively, as the score was reproduced in a satisfying manner. Given the age of the flick, I founded little about which to complain when I listened to the soundtrack.

As we shift to the package’s extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Lewis Teague. He presents a running, screen-specific chat. Teague talks about what attracted him to the project and how he came onto it. He also looks at his career prior to Jewel and his desire to depict “Recognizable Human Behavior”. Additional subjects include locations and shoot specifics, the story’s development and the rushed nature of the production, casting and working with the actors, challenges making a film in Morocco, and visual effects.

At the start of the track, I thought it’d be a great one. Teague begins well; he comes across as charming, likable, informative and funny. Unfortunately, the commentary soon starts to sputter as Teague goes silent an awful lot of the time. He still churns out some good info, but the gaps become problematic. I think Teague offers enough useful data to make the track worth a listen, but don’t expect it to be a thorough winner.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 40 seconds. These include “A Toast to Joan Wilder” (1:11), “With the People” (1:00), “’Need Water’” (0:41), “’This Ain’t Easy You Know’” (0:58), “’Jack, I Wish We Would Have Gone to Greece’” (0:22) and “The Ceremony” (1:28). “People” is mildly interesting as it shows Joan an early sign that the citizens don’t like Omar, and a few of the others allow Danny DeVito a little more comedic screentime. None of them come across as memorable, though. They’re not as tedious as the cut scenes that accompanied Stone, but they’re not very entertaining either.

Next comes a featurette called Romancing the Nile: A Winning Sequel. In this 20-minute and 57-second piece, we get movie clips, archival materials, and interviews. We hear from Teague, actor/producer Michael Douglas, co-screenwriter Mark Rosenthal, and actors Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. The show looks at why the filmmakers pursued a sequel, its rapid production, and related pressures. We follow the project’s development and then go through screenwriting and story, problems with the script and its refinement, challenges related to the notion of a sequel, casting new actors, locations and related experiences, props and art direction, and general thoughts about the project.

The program acts as a pretty solid examination of the production, especially when tied to Teague’s commentary. The “making of” for Stone was lackluster, but this one proves more informative and provocative. It fails to present great insight, but it touches on the appropriate notes well and gives us a nice look at the flick.

Another featurette entitled Adventures of a Romance Novelist lasts eight minutes. It offers notes from Douglas, Rosenthal, Turner, and Teague. “Novelist” looks at the decisions related to the creation of a sequel. Those involved let us know the concerns they dealt with and why they chose to take the story in the direction selected. Some of this information repeats notes from the prior show, but “Novelist” expands the topics well. It covers the requisite story and character related material in an interesting fashion.

The set also includes a Booklet. This eight-page text includes some good production notes. Some of these repeat information found elsewhere, but the booklet sums up the shoot pretty well.

An ad for The Sentinel opens the DVD. We also get a fun trailer for Nile that features unique footage of De Vito. Unfortunately, the Billy Ocean video for “When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” doesn’t pop up here. It’s terrible, but it’d be fun to see for kitsch value.

After the disappointment of Romancing the Stone, I didn’t expect much from its sequel. Nonetheless, The Jewel of the Nile provides some decent entertainment. At no point does the flick threaten to become memorable, but it keeps us reasonably interested. The DVD suffers from surprisingly bland visuals but boasts pretty solid audio along with a mix of reasonably interesting extras. The mediocre visuals disappoint, but the rest of the package satisfies.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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