H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







The Jewel of the Nile [Blu-ray]


(Lewis Teague, 1985)



Review by Gary Tooze



Video: 20th Century Fox



Region: 'A'

Feature Runtime: 1:45:55

Chapters: 24

Feature film disc size: 33.4 Gig

One dual-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 14th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC


English: DTS HD Master (lossless), English 4.0,  French (2.0), Spanish (mono)

Feature: English, French, Spanish, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Korean and none


Commentary by director Lewis Teague

Featurette: "Romancing the Nile - A Winning Sequel" (20:58)

Featurette: "Adventures of a Romance Novelist" (8:01)

Deleted Scenes  (5:42 - in HD)

Trailer in 1.33:1

HD trailer "Jumper" (2:30)


Product Description: In the blockbuster Romancing The Stone, novelist Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) and wanderer Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) went sailing off into the sunset together. In this thrill-packed sequel, Ralph (Danny DeVito) is back on their trail and they're back in the fast lane on a perilous trek through the fierce North African Desert. Not even treacherous tribes, deadly dungeons and seemingly endless villains can stop this trio from finding, once and for all, that mysterious "jewel." ...




The Film:

`The Jewel of the Nile" is more silliness in the tradition of "Romancing the Stone," which in its turn was a funny action comedy inspired by the Indiana Jones epics. We walk into the theater expecting absolutely nothing of substance, and that's exactly what we get, served up with high style. The movie reassembles three key "Romancing" cast members - Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito - and goes on to a fourth inspired casting decision with the addition of Avner Eisenberg as a holy man of gentle goofiness.



Movie-industry gossip has it that Kathleen Turner didn't particularly want to make this sequel, and that even Michael Douglas, who produces as well as stars, thought it might be best to quit while he was ahead. But the original contract specified a sequel, and it's to everybody's credit that "The Jewel of the Nile" is an ambitious and elaborate attempt to repeat the success of the first movie; it's not just a ripoff...

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE


Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Fox Blu-ray transfer seems adept with a softer palette, as compared to Romancing the Stone. This is probably how it was shot and detail doesn't suffer much because of it. It does tend to mute colors to some degree. Background noise is fairly fine but visible in monochromatic skies. The image overall is very smooth . I don't think it has as much depth as Romancing the Stone but I can't really point out any specific flaws. It looks about what one might expect for a 20+ year old film put to 1080P - perhaps a notch better than that. DP Jan de Bont shows the Moroccan landscapes looking mighty impressive and enticing at times - ditto for Miss Turner. The feature size being a healthy 33.4 Gig on the dual-layered Blu-ray. I don't see evidence of DNR or edge enhancements. You may click on the screen grabs to see the full 1080 resolution.



















Audio & Music:  
lossless DTS HD Master option may me marginally superior to the similar track of Romancing the Stone. It shows a bit more life when called upon and I always like the subtleties (horses galloping, train noises etc.). The mix can't compete with more aggressive modern scores but for this film it augments the presentation adeptly. There is (an original?) 4.0 track option available. The score is by Jack Nitzsche with some modern (at the time) music with Billy Ocean and similar thematic rifts. It sounds pretty tight. There are optional subtitles offered in English, French, Spanish, Chinese (traditional and simplified) or Korean.


This time we get a commentary from director Lewis Teague. It seems pretty PC with some anecdotal incidents and discussion of the production, locations etc. There are a couple blandish featurettes and deleted scenes in HD plus an 1.33 trailer.



Bottom line:
The trio are united in this more slap-dash effort. It was meant to duplicate the success and 'feeling' of the first film and it doe just that. Once again
Blu-ray does its job bringing out the best qualities of the cinematography and audio
. It's almost hard not to get wrapped up in the adventurous fun in 1080P, but I'd say this is the weaker of the two films - but still worth a spin when you are in the mood. 'Feel good' adventure films like this are rarely of this quality - and tack on the Blu-ray transfer and you might be surprised (I was) at just how much you enjoy yourself.

Gary Tooze

October 12th, 2008





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