Fox // 1985 // 105 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Sean Fitzgibbons (Retired) // July 24th, 1999
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
The adventurous sequel to Romancing the Stone is given better treatment by Fox than its predecessor, but even then the DVD isn't all one would hope for, even from Fox.
Just so everyone knows off the bat, I enjoy The Jewel of the Nile much more than Romancing the Stone. There are several reasons why I find this film more enjoyable than its prequel. First of all, Danny DeVito's role of Ralph is greatly expanded and allows him to interact more with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, displaying the chemistry the three actors share. Also contributing to my enjoyment is the increase of action sequences in this film, and the detail contained in these sequences. Credit for this is due to Jan DeBont, director of photographed on this film, who would go on to direct his own action packed films, such as Speed and Twister. Dare I say the final element of this film that really appeals to me? Yes, it is the '80s music. Unlike Romancing the Stone, the music in The Jewel of the Nile is unmistakably '80s, but I still enjoy it!
The Jewel of the Nile begins as Joan Wilder (Turner) struggles to finish her latest romantic novel while sailing around the world with her romantic counterpart, Jack Colton (Douglas). Searching for something new and unique to write about, Wilder is approached by Omar, an Egyptian dictator who finds himself smeared by the American press and wishes to have Wilder write a positive biography about his life. Without knowing Omar's vicious ruling methods, Wilder agrees to travel to Egypt with Omar to write his biography, leaving Colton behind. No sooner does Joan leave Jack than Omar's henchmen, hoping to kill Colton in the process, blow up their boat. Jack then encounters Ralph (Danny DeVito) fresh out of prison for kidnapping Joan Wilder and ready to take revenge on Colton for sending him there. However, Ralph decides to team up with Colton when the two are approached by an Egyptian man who wants Colton to infiltrate Omar's palace and retrieve the jewel of the Nile, the heart of his people, stolen by Omar. Thus, Colton and Ralph journey into Egypt in hopes of rescuing Joan Wilder and retrieving the jewel of the Nile for a handsome reward.
Thankfully, The Jewel of the Nile DVD is better than the treatment received by its counterpart. The 2.35:1 widescreen video transfer is fairly solid with only a few instances of grain or artifacting. Most of the films bright scenes that take place in the Egyptian deserts are clean and sharp on this DVD. However, the best improvement on this disc over Romancing the Stone is the Dolby Digital 2.0 track. Although the track is only 2.0, the sound effects are crisp and clean and more realistic than those used in the film's prequel. Gun battles, trains, planes, and automobiles are all well heard through the limited surround field the 2.0 track provides.
Time and time again, Fox never fails to bring you exactly what you want in terms of extra content. That's right, The Jewel of the Nile provides exactly what you're looking for, a theatrical trailer. Try and beat that New Line!
Although the transfer for The Jewel of the Nile is a bit better than Romancing the Stone, it's still below what I expect from Fox. The film could have easily benefited from a dual layer transfer to create a sharper and higher resolution image. I don't think I even need to mention the transfer not being anamorphic because Fox DVDs that have already been released under their old management is not going to change. We're all hoping the new blood over in the Fox DVD department will make some changes, starting with anamorphic transfers.
I have no real problems with the audio on this disc, except for the fact that I would rather have a 5.1 audio track. It might be difficult to produce but that didn't stop Columbia TriStar from releasing a 5.1 track with Ghostbusters, a film one year older than The Jewel of the Nile.
No extra content, no real surprise from Fox. I would have liked to seen a Billy Ocean music video for the film (I've seen it on MTV before) or even a commentary from Michael Douglas, who produced both this film and Romancing the Stone. There's not much more complaining I can do about Fox, besides if you've read any of my other reviews you've already heard my complaints, and frankly, I'm tired of having to write the same things over and over again for Fox.
With a nice transfer and audio track, The Jewel of the Nile is a nice romantic comedy to watch on DVD, however without any extra content (or anamorphic widescreen) you might think twice about purchasing this disc from Fox.
The disc is sentenced to an indefinite term in the rental aisle, until a better version is released on DVD, at which time all Jewel of the Nile discs will join DIVX discs in the world's landfills.
Review content copyright © 1999 Sean Fitzgibbons; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Theatrical Trailer