Romancing the Stone (Carey)
Romancing the Stone plays out like one of character Joan Wilder’s romance novels as there is a handsome yet rugged hero, a beautiful damsel in distress, some action, and plenty over-the-top romance. Not that I am complaining! Sometimes in life we need junk food to supplement our routine diets and the film Romancing the Stone definitely falls into that category. Director Robert Zemeckis (The Polar Express, Forrest Gump) has made a light film whose aim is to please both males and females with its mix of action and romance. Unlike many films which try to weave these two elements together there is no awkwardness in Zemeckis’ film; it is fairly seamless. Some of the credit has to be attributed to the great onscreen chemistry of Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. They end up making 3 films together due to this chemistry. They are not only good at the romance part but they do a good job with the humour sections of the film as well. The film should be recommended based on its pure entertainment value alone but with some warning. Just remember that although junk food taste good and does not harm every once in a while, if you do eat too much it will rot your teeth!
Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner – Prizzi’s Honor, The Jewel of the Nile) is a New York city writer who really has no life except the imaginary one which she lives through the characters of her romance novels. She is an attractive woman but very reserved and shy and as such leads an existence mainly within the four walls of her apartment with her cat. The only person that she really sees regularly is her editor, Gloria (Holland Taylor – Legally Blonde, The Truman Show). The excitement level in her life rises exponentially when she receives a phone call from Columbia from men who have kidnapped her sister, Elaine (Mary Ellen Trainor – Freaky Friday, Lethal Weapon 4). The kidnappers demand that she bring them a treasure map. Once she gets to Columbia is when her adventure actually begins. She is followed upon her arrival by one of the kidnappers, Ralph (Danny DeVito – L.A. Confidential, Get Shorty), who tries to make sure she is bringing them the map. Joan is put on the wrong bus by Zolo (Manuel Ojeda – star of many Spanish films), a man who seems friendly at first but is up to no good. The bus ends up crashing and Joan is stranded in the jungle. As luck would have it Joan is rescued by adventurer Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas – Wallstreet, Traffic). She agrees to pay him a fee for him to escort her through the jungles of Columbia to Cartegena where she’s to turn over the map to her sister’s kidnappers. Joan and Jack’s adventure involves snakes, wild jeep rides, gunfights, crocodiles, and a plane full of drugs.
-Rekindling the Romance: A Look Back
-A Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter
-Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favourite Scenes
-Michael Douglas Remembers
The Jewel of the Nile (Bassel)
In another attempt to tread on Indiana Jones territory, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner reprise their roles as Jack Colton and Joan Wilder in this sequel to “Romancing the Stone.” The movie begins with Jack and Joan cruising on a yacht, Joan trying to find “what happens next” in her story, and Jack enjoying the “blue skies and nice warm water.” An argument immediately follows: Jack wants to go to Greece, Joan wants New York. They decide to go their separate ways, but as fate would have it, they both end up travelling to Africa where adventure is abound amidst a plot involving a kidnapped holy man and a usurper who wants Joan to write book about his quest to become the emperor of the Nile-but as with this type of adventure films, it is the action scenes that matter, not the storyline.
And that is not necessary a bad thing. I enjoy adventure films; a lot of people do. “Raiders of the Lost Arc” still holds an important place in movie history, but there have been other memorable attempts in recent year (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) and not-so-memorable attempts (“The Mummy”). “Jewel of the Nile” owes a lot to the early years of the dashing swashbuckler films (names like Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn will always instantly come to mind). The film also owes something to the spirit of the silent serial cliff-hangers, such as “The Perils of Pauline,” where a young heroine seeks adventures in order to write romance novels. Viewers may also be reminded of adventure comic such as the incomparable adventures of Tintin (didn’t some of Tintin’s adventure also involve its hero wandering deserts, preventing usurpations of thrones, and dealing with “Jewels” of this type?).
Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turning make a charming couple, and Avner Eisernberg as the Jewel steals every scene he’s in. Danny DeVito is stuck with an underwritten role that seems to be in the movie for the sole purpose of providing comic relief, but he ends up with little to do and little to say that in the overall supplies very little comedy. Besides, one comic relief is enough, and Eisernberg’s character has that role covered.
So never mind the paper-thin plot; if plot is what you seek, search elsewhere. If you’re not too picky, enjoy this one, as long as you restrain from comparing it to “Raiders of the Lost Arc”. But then again, how many adventure films are worthy of such a comparison?
-Commentary by Director Lewis Teague
-Romancing the Nile: A winning sequel
-Adventures of a Romance Novelist