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The Jewel of the Nile(1985)
Joan Wilder and Jack Colton are back in the fast lane on a perilous trek through the North African Desert, facing treacherous tribes, deadly dungeons, and seemingly endless villains in the search for the elusive "jewel." 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.
For more about The Jewel of the Nile and the The Jewel of the Nile Blu-ray release, see the The Jewel of the Nile Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 9, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Spiros Focas, Avner Eisenberg, Holland Taylor
Director: Lewis Teague
» See full cast & crew
The Jewel of the Nile Blu-ray Review
"Jewel of the Nile' won't become the crown jewel of your Blu-ray collection.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 9, 2008
She was the best time I ever had.
The surprising success of 1984's Romancing the Stone led 20th Century Fox to call for a rapidly-produced sequel, and faster than one can say "bling!," there was The Jewel of the Nile in theaters during the Christmas season of 1985. While stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito all returned for the second installment, a brand new team was hired to pen the script and helm the film. Gone was a plethora of both young and established talent that lent their skills to Stone, their combined efforts invariably aiding that film tremendously. Amongst those whose names would not become attached to the sequel included then up-and-coming director Robert Zemeckis (whose future directorial credits would include Forrest Gump and Back to the Future), writer Diane Thomas (who would tragically pass away less than two months prior to the release of Jewel), composer Alan Silvestri, and cinematographer Dean Cundey (who previously served as director of photography on several John Carpenter classics, including Halloween and The Thing). That's quite a bit of star power, and although the crew assembled for Nile proved competent enough, putting together what is a decent follow-up to a classic, there is no doubt that the allure of the first film is nowhere to be found here. Fortunately, the film's bread-and-butter, it's memorable, affable characters return for one final adventure that doesn't send them off into the sunset as Stone fans may have hoped, but Nile proves to be generally entertaining, if nothing else.
In The Jewel of the Nile, audiences find Jack Colton (Douglas) and Joan Wilder (Turner) still together, Jack enjoying his newfound fortune and Joan struggling to complete an overdue novel. When Joan is approached by a mysterious Middle Eastern ruler named Omar (Spiros Focás) to write his story, Joan agrees to travel to his home country and take advantage of the unique opportunity. Jack disagrees with the decision and is left behind. Shortly thereafter, Jack runs into Ralph (DeVito), still in search of riches and out for revenge against Jack. Jack is rescued by yet another mysterious man who informs him of Omar's treachery and the danger Joan has gotten herself into, and with the proclamation that Omar is himself in possession of the precious "Jewel of the Nile," Ralph and Jack team up to rescue Joan and, perhaps, once again discover unforetold riches.
The Jewel of the Nile is, frankly, a disappointment as a follow-up to Romancing the Stone. Marred by some slow segments, and a particularly dull midsection, punctuated only by moderately entertaining action sequences, the film feels somewhat longer than its fairly average 106 minute runtime suggests. Absent is the remarkably witty and novel script of Stone; Douglas, Turner, and DeVito seem able to do little with the script as it mostly runs through the motions of routine action, adventure, and romance, the spark of the first film seemingly extinguished and the characters generally dry and uninspired. The magical camaraderie shared between Douglas and Turner in the first film is lessened to a great extent here, too. Their on-screen chemistry is lackluster at best, and as a result there is a detachment between character and audience, and when strains are placed on their relationship, it's hard to care. Audiences know the film won't leave them without one another and the obligatory happy ending, but because the relationship seems forced rather than playing as a natural progression as in Stone, there is little-to-no urgency or drama within the confines of the relationship. Taken on its own merits, however, and enjoyed as a routine adventure film, The Jewel of the Nile is not half bad. The film features some decent action sequences; one featuring an F-16 fighter jet that fails to go airborne is particularly engaging. A fairly strong twist revealed about halfway through, which reveals just how precious the film's title jewel truly is, makes the movie palatable and watchable. Despite its dated music, costumes, and special effects, The Jewel of the Nile remains a testament to 1980s filmmaking, a quickly-produced sequel that attracted audiences to theaters with the allure of another romantic adventure story, one that definitely has its heart in the right place, but ultimately falls flat as a follow-up to one of the decades premier and memorable films.
The Jewel of the Nile Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Jewel of the Nile features a decent but certainly not eye-catching 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer. Detail is fairly high; the opening segments in the "real world" aboard the Angelina reveals a nice amount of depth and color, particularly in the towels and clothing as seen in the scene. Color also looks great in those scenes taking place in Omar's kingdom, where the varied and bright clothing plays nicely against the tan, monotone backgrounds of the buildings and dirt roads. The first time viewers see Ralph, he is hiding in a wooden box. All of the knots and seams take on a realistic texture. The image looks a bit faded and bland, soft in a places, but never especially bothersome. Black levels are average, as are flesh tones, and the image exhibits some print anomalies along with some noise that is particularly noticeable near the end of the film. Not the perfect transfer, even for an older catalogue title, but certainly sufficient, The Jewel of the Nile's 1080p transfer should satisfy most casual fans.
The Jewel of the Nile Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Jewel of the Nile presents listeners with an uneven and generally disappointing DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. It features heavier bass and a more active surround speaker presentation than what was offered in Romancing the Stone, but the track is marred by plenty of annoyances. Lacking much in the way of clarity, and far too loud at reference volume, much of the sound comes across as muffled and undefined. Action sequences in particular sound confused, jumbled, and exceptionally high in volume. Bass is used to nice effect in a few instances, such as a rumbling explosion in chapter 5. Dialogue is the best aspect of the disc, sounding crisp and natural through the center channel. Surrounds come into play nicely here and there; some nice echoing during a dialogue sequence between Joan and Omar as they speak in a large courtyard in chapter eight stands out. Sound spreads fairly well around the stage, with a few decent ambient effects in addition to the fine dialogue reproduction that feels as expansive as the yard itself. The back channels fill up nicely a few times. The sound of gunfire, for example, crackles throughout the back and across the front in chapter 11. Even throughout this action sequence, the volume becomes inconsistent, and many listeners will find themselves fiddling with the remote rather than paying attention to the action, a situation that, unfortunately, best describes practically the entire mix.
The Jewel of the Nile Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Jewel of the Nile comes to Blu-ray with a few supplements the die-hard fans of the film will enjoy. First is a commentary track with director Lewis Teague. In the first few minutes of the track, the director discusses the impact of the film on his career, chatting with Michael Douglas before officially being brought on board and the star's impressions of Teague's work, the importance of grounding the film in reality, his work on the script and the tight schedule, the advantages of making a sequel, and more. The first few minutes of the track are easily the best, but the entire track remains easy to listen to and mostly interesting. Offering up a mixture of standard stories recounting shooting locations and the harsh conditions of much of the shoot with a discussion of some of his favorite scenes and the challenge of working with non-professional actors (the Flying Karamazov Brothers, for example), Teague remains generally easy to listen to, in spite of some dead air (much of chapter 13, for example).
Romancing the Nile: A Winning Sequel (480p, 20:59) features interviews with the primary cast and crew members as they recount the film, the work that went into making the sequel, and even a candid discussion about the viability of a project such as Jewel of the Nile in today's world. Other topics touched on include the writing of the script (including Kathleen Turner's displeasure with the draft) and a discussion of the film's various scenes, including those that build the relationship between Joan and Jack and several of the action sequences (with a fun conversation about the film's famous F-16 sequence). Adventures of a Romance Novelist (480p, 8:02) begins with an examination of the structure of the films and irony of a romance/adventure writer becoming entangled in real-life adventures similar to those she writes, but quickly turns into a rather dull piece that recounts the story and poses several questions that this film tries to answer. Six deleted scenes (1080p, 5:44) are next. Concluding the supplemental package is the film's theatrical trailer (480p, 1:34).
The Jewel of the Nile Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Jewel of the Nile is a moderately successful sequel that definitely feels rushed to the screen and lacks the polish, energy, and chemistry found in the first film. Regardless, the film returns several memorable characters to the screen, though they often feel like a shell of those same characters that appeared in Romancing the Stone. Taken as a mostly separate entity, however, the The Jewel of the Nile is decent enough entertainment, with some fine action, a nice twist, and a moderately interesting villain. 20th Century Fox's Blu-ray presentation of The Jewel of the Nile is somewhat of a letdown, a surprise coming from a studio known for its excellent presentations of both new releases and catalogue titles. Featuring lackluster video quality that surpasses standard definition in every regard but feels meager next to most other catalogue Blu-ray titles, an uneven soundtrack that is often hard to listen to, and a modest but mostly fulfilling supplemental section, The Jewel of the Nile is a Blu-ray discs best purchased by fans only.
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• Fox Announces Romancing the Stone; Jewel of the Nile for Blu-ray - August 22, 2008
Fox Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas film 'Romancing the Stone' and its sequel 'Jewel of the Nile' to Blu-ray on October 14th. Both titles will come on a BD-50 featuring 2.35:1 1080p AVC video accompanied ...
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