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Fox Home Entertainment presents
The Jewel of the Nile: Special Edition (1985)

"Look at these guys, Colton. No sheep is safe tonight."
- Ralph (Danny DeVito)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: August 29, 2006

Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner
Other Stars: Danny DeVito, Spiros Focás, Avner Eisenberg
Director: Lewis Teague

MPAA Rating: PG for (adult situations)
Run Time: 01h:45m:49s
Release Date: August 29, 2006
UPC: 024543266976
Genre: action comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C C-B+B B

DVD Review

In the 1980s, every successful action film spawned at least one sequel, the Indiana Jones and Die Hard franchises for example. Thus, the idea for a sequel to Romancing the Stone was mounted, although things were reportedly messy all the way through its production.

Now lovers, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) and Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) are traveling the world on a sailboat. Joan is still a romance novelist, but she is running out of ideas, while Jack is happy in his new relaxing lifestyle. Joan's fortunes change when she meets Omar (Spiros Focás), a dictator who is looking to overwrite his negative image stateside and asks her to write his biography. Leaving Jack behind, Joan agrees to travel with this evil leader who has nothing but impure intentions toward her. Ralph (Danny DeVito) is back, also, and when he tracks Jack down, the two decide to search for the Jewel of the Nile, which happens to be in Omar's palace. Jack soon realizes that he must balance his quest for the jewel with Joan's safety, all the while thwarting Omar and his henchmen.

It's great to see the natural chemistry between Turner and Douglas back in play, but there's not enough of the same witty banter that made the original such a gem. The action sequences are exciting enough, and there are a few genuinely funny moments, but the story meanders and plods along, bringing any momentum to a halt time and time again. The story's scope is far too wide, which leaves the audience often attempting to figure out exactly where they are at a given point. DeVito gets more of a chance to shine this time around; he is very funny in a role that could have been annoying with too much exposure, but he exudes his usual charm. Spiros Focás plays a decently restrained villain, and the actor who plays the "Holy Man," Avner Eisenberg, steals every scene he's in. Eisenberg's subtle yet brilliant comedic timing and humorous accent keep even the worst scenes afloat, resurrecting a few that teeter on the edge of camp. (Eisenberg has gone on to become a clown, and was recently inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame.)

Turner, Douglas, and DeVito have teamed up for three projects thus far; unfortunately, The Jewel of the Nile is the only one that really doesn't work. They are great together, as always, but the film suffers due to their characters being separated for too much of its running time. It would be great to see them reunite for one more film.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This new 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer represents the best this has ever looked on home video. The anamorphic enhancement is the major upgrade over the previous DVD's transfer, but there's also an increase in image detail and overall sharpness. The colors are brighter than expected from an '80s film, but there's still some dirt and grain that are a result of the source material's age.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoSpanishyes
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
4.0
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The film can be heard in either Dolby Digital 2.0 or 4.0, with the latter being very impressive. There are still limitations, given that this isn't a full-blown 5.1 mix, but the active surrounds and decent dynamic range makes for lively audio. The dialogue is just fine in both mixes; always remaining clear and easy to hear along with the other audio elements.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Sentinel
6 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Lewis Teague
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The supplemental features include a feature-length audio commentary with director Lewis Teague. He offers some valuable insight into working with such a talented cast, and how the film has aged over the years.

We also have a pair of featurettes, including Romancing the Nile: A Winning Sequel, which runs just over 20 minutes and features some great, new interviews with Turner, Douglas, DeVito, and the filmmakers. There's some interesting stories and candid talk about the choice to make a sequel as well. Adventures of a Romance Novelist is eight minutes of more interviews with discussion about the Joan Wilder character and the rest of film's storyline.

Six deleted scenes and the original theatrical trailer are also on board.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

The Jewel of the Nile: Special Edition sports a new anamorphic presentation and a more robust audio track, a director's commentary, featurettes, and deleted scenes, all worth a look.

 


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