Romancing the Stone 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. Overall, I felt the transfer seemed very good, as it aged well over the last 22 years.
Sharpness appeared positive. The picture came across as crisp and detailed throughout the film. I noticed no significant indications of softness or fuzziness during this distinct presentation. Jagged edges weren’t an issue, but some light moiré effects appeared at times, and I also noticed some minor edge enhancement. As for print flaws, this was a surprisingly clean transfer. A few speckles popped up but nothing more significant than that occurred.
Stone provided a naturalistic palette, and the DVD replicated the hues accurately. With its jungle setting, greens dominated. The tones looked nicely clear and realistic, and they showed no distinct signs of noise or bleeding. Blacks appeared reasonably deep and rich, while shadows were clean and concise. This was almost an “A”-level transfer, as it consistently looked very good.
The Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Romancing the Stone was fine but unexceptional. Given the age of the film, I didn’t expect a very active soundfield, and what I heard seemed good considering those restrictions. The mix favored the forward channels and created a reasonably engaging sense of atmosphere. Music showed fairly positive stereo delineation in the front, and effects popped up in logical locations. They blended together in a decent manner. The surrounds usually just reinforced the music and sense of environment, but they did provide some occasional unique elements, such as when a plane flew from front to back.
Audio quality appeared acceptable across the board. Speech seemed reasonably clear and distinct, and intelligibility never turned into a problem. Effects presented fairly clean and accurate material. Some distortion occurred – usually attached to gunshots and crashes – but those concerns weren’t significant. Music was rich and warm, with pretty solid low-end response. This track failed to stand out as memorable, but it worked pretty well considering the age of the film.
When we head to the DVD’s extras, we start with eight Deleted Scenes. These fill a total of 18 minutes and 48 seconds. We find “’Jack. T. Colton’” (2:12), “By the River” (4:21), “Keep Quiet” (1:46), “Treasure Map” (1:39), “Campfire on a Cargo Plane” (3:11), “’Romancing the Stone’” (1:02), “Alligator” (0:27) and “The Book Signing” (4:07). If fans hope to find gold in these clips, they’ll emerge disappointed. The scenes range from mediocre and tedious to simply useless. “Colton” goes a long way to throw out a minor character point, and the others add nothing particularly useful to the table. Many simply offer slight extensions on existing pieces, and none of them bring out anything positive.
“Stone” and “Signing” are most interesting as they feature a male published instead of the character played by Holland Taylor. I’m not sure why “Signing” comes last, as it would have appeared early in the film. The absence of any commentary for the clips is a problem, since we don’t learn why this male actor got the boot. Perhaps that subject will come up in the subsequent programs, but it’d be best to learn it here. In any case, the “Deleted Scenes” don’t go much of anywhere.
A few featurettes follow. Rekindling the Romance: A Look Back goes for 19 minutes, 45 seconds as it mixes movie clips, archival materials, and interviews. We hear from actor/producer Michael Douglas, Jewel of the Nile co-screenwriter Mark Rosenthal, and actors Kathleen Turner and Danny De Vito. We get information about the project’s origins and development, how Robert Zemeckis became director and his work on the set, casting, characters and performances, locations and related challenges, the particulars of some specific scenes, and reactions to the final product.
I like that “Rekindling” includes all three of the main actors, and it does give us a decent overview of the production. I couldn’t call it a particularly rich documentary, though. The absence of Zemeckis from the proceedings comes as a disappointment and means we lack the filmmaker’s perspective. This is an enjoyable and moderately informative show but not a special one.
Next we head to Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter. This three-minute and 15-second piece presents notes from Douglas, De Vito, and Rosenthal. They tell us a little about the late Diane Thomas. (She died in a 1985 car crash.) Don’t expect substance here. The show just tells us how she reinvented the genre and acts as an appreciation for her. No real information appears; it’s a tribute and not anything more.
We get more from the main actors with the three-minute and 54-second Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favorite Scenes. The three actors discuss various parts of the flick. We get some praise from Jewel of the Nile director Lewis Teague and Rosenthal as well. Douglas, Turner and DeVito tell us which scenes they like and we watch them. A few decent stories come along the way, but not enough to make this an interesting show.
Finally, Michael Douglas Remembers goes for two minutes and 20 seconds. He talks about his career as an actor and a producer as well as how he got involved with Stone. We also get some archival praise from Turner. Too brief and superficial, we learn very little here.
A nice little Booklet accompanies the package. This eight-page piece gives us basic production notes and reflections on the film’s success. Frankly, it’s the most informative element in this package, as it summarizes the flick better than all those mediocre featurettes.
An ad for The Sentinel opens the DVD. No trailer for Stone shows up here.
Romancing the Stone was forgettable in 1984 and it remains forgettable in 2006. The movie boasts potential but spreads itself too thin as it tries to make all audiences happy. The DVD offers very good picture and solid audio along with a disappointing and bland set of extras. Fans will be happy enough with the strong visuals and sound to buy this disc, but I can’t recommend it to others.