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Romancing the Stone

Romancing the Stone
A 20th Century Fox Home Video Release
1984, 106 Minutes, Color, Rated PG

Starring:  Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Zack Norman, Alfonso Arau, Manuel Ojeda, Robert Zemeckis
List Price:  $29.99 USD, released 05/25/99
Packaging:  Keepcase, Region 1 NTSC
Disc Format:  Single Sided, Single Layered (DVD-5)
Aspect Ratio:  2.35:1 Widescreen
Audio Formats:  English 2.0 Surround, French 2.0 Surround
Subtitles:  English, Spanish
Closed Captioning:  English
Features:  Interactive Menus, Scene Selection, Theatrical Trailer

Take a wild ride through the darkest parts of South America with Joan Wilder, famous romance novelist, who must leave her comfortable life in New York to personally deliver a treasure map when her sister is kidnapped in Columbia. Along the way she gets on the wrong bus and ends up in the middle of nowhere with Jack Colton, fortune seeker, being chased by both the military and the kidnappers who each want the treasure. Itís an enjoyable film with some excellent scenery and fun characters.

The transfer is such a vast improvement over previous versions that itís hard to know where to start - first, itís presented in the proper aspect ratio of 2.35:1, improved from the laserdiscís 2.1:1 and (of course) the inferior pan & scan videotape version which chopped off so much of the sides it was silly. Colors are incredibly deep and richer compared to the VHS tape Ė it doesnít even look like the same movie. Grain and chroma noise is not visible, though I did notice some minor aliasing. The transfer is bright, even during nighttime scenes, and black levels are well calibrated. The only thing missing is anamorphic enhancement. The disc features scene selection menus for a total of 28 chapters.

Audio is presented in 2.0 surround, a disappointment considering the action/adventure nature of this film. However itís not bad for ProLogic, with a wide dynamic range and no static or clipping. Vocals are easy to make out over music and effects and the whole mix appears even, though the treble can be a bit harsh. Rear channel usage is minimal Ė if it had been redone in 5.1 channels it would have been much better.

The only extra is a full screen theatrical trailer that Fox must have dug up from the back of someoneís attic - the sound is full of static and the picture is incredibly grainy; but itís one I hadnít seen before and includes some footage of DeVito not found in the movie.

Overall this is a decent disc of a good movie. The video is miles better than any other version, and the soundís as good as youíre going to get until they get around to fully remastering it. Recommended for fans of the movie or anyone clinging to their old VHS copy.

- Reviewed by Daniel Tonks on June 10, 1999.

Video Quality:
Audio Quality:
1-Poor 2-Fair 3-Good 4-Excellent
System Equipment
Sony DVP-S500D DVD Player
Sony STR-GA8ES 5.1 Receiver
Sony KV-27V65 27" Television using S-Video
Nuance Spatial & Star Series Speakers

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