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







Romancing the Stone [Blu-ray]


(Robert Zemeckis, 1984)



Review by Gary Tooze



Video: 20th Century Fox



Region: 'A'

Feature Runtime: 1:45:46

Chapters: 34

Feature film disc size: 31.7 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 3.0,  French (3.0), Spanish (mono)

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


Rekindling the Romance: A Look Back (19:47)

A Hidden Treasure: The Screenwriter

Michael Douglas Remembers

Douglas, Turner and DeVito: Favorite Scenes

Deleted Scenes


Product Description: When her sister is kidnapped by thugs searching for a priceless jewel in the Colombian jungle, a romance novelist (Kathleen Turner) soon finds her own life filled with cliffhangers and danger. All alone, she sets out to rescue her sister and meets up with a handsome fortune seeker (Michael Douglas) who convinces her to beat the bandits to the treasure...




The Film:

It may have an awkward title, but ROMANCING THE STONE is a silly, high-spirited chase picture that takes us, as they say, from the canyons of Manhattan to the steaming jungles of South America. The movie's about a New York woman who writes romantic thrillers in which the hungry lips of lovers devour each other as the sun sinks over the dead bodies of their enemies. Then she gets involved in a real-life thriller, which is filled with cliff-hanging predicaments just like the ones she writes about. The writer, played by Kathleen Turner, uses her novels as a form of escape. Throbbing loins may melt together on her pages, but not in her life. Then she gets a desperate message from her sister in South America: Unless she flies to Cartagena with a treasure map showing the location of a priceless green jewel, her sister will be killed.



What follows is an adventure that will remind a lot of people of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, but it will be a pleasant memory. After all the RAIDERS rip-offs, it's fun to find an adventure film that deserves the comparison, that has the same spirit and sense of humor. Turner lands in Colombia, and almost instantly becomes part of the plans of a whole lineup of desperadoes. There are the local police, the local thugs, the local mountain bandits, and the local hero, a guy named Jack Colton, who is played by Michael Douglas...

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 Blu-ray transfer looks better than I anticipated. Colors have some life and detail is a notch better than what you might expect from a 25-year old film. The image even shows some decent depth and contrast is strong with heavy black levels. Background noise exists but it is limited and we aren't offered have much grain. The image is fairly smooth and blemish-free. Technically it is dual-layered with the feature size being a healthy 31.7 Gig. I don't see evidence of DNR or edge enhancements. In fact I'd have to say the MPEG-4 AVC encoded image is fairly flawless. I have no strong complaints. I'll wager this is as good as Romancing the Stone will look for your home theater. The Blu-ray image gives us no reason whatsoever to complain. Hopefully, the screen captures below will give you an idea of what it will look like on your system. It's pretty impressive.
















Audio & Music:  
I don't have the SD-DVD to compare to but the
lossless DTS HD Master option has some occasional kick to it... and some subtleties as well. The mix is derived from an original 3.0 track that is also included as an option. Alan Silvestri's original score is a good one and is augmented by Eddy Grant's entitled theme song. There is an option for two DUBs. This is a fun film filled with adventure and joy and the audio, like the video, does a wonderful job of exporting that pleasure. There are optional subtitles offered in English, French, Spanish, Chinese (traditional and simplified) or Korean.


No commentary (Jewel of the Nile has one) but some innocuous deleted scenes and four featurettes - the main one has some of the cast reflecting back on the production fun and how they initially became involved with Michael Douglas. They discuss the locations (Mexico) and other fond, and arduous, details of the shoot. Pretty standard stuff but is interesting to note how they have changed <eyebrows raise>.



Bottom line:
Once again
Blu-ray has pushed me to watch a film that I was fairly indifferent about. It really creates a nice enthusiastic aura that, it appears, time has not diminished and the Blu-ray
is now the only way to really enjoy the jungle surroundings, Kathleen Turner's incredible beauty and the energetic score. This Blu-ray is a good one and if you want to share in the adventure - there plenty of reasons to indulge and enjoy.

Gary Tooze

October 11th, 2008





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