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Lewis Teague
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Writing Credits:
Mark Rosenthal, Lawrence Konner

Plucky romance novelist Joan Wilder is thrust back into a world of murder, chases, foreign intrigue ... and love.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$68.275 million.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 4.0
Spanish Monaural
French Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 10/14/2008

• Audio Commentary with Director Lewis Teague
• Deleted Scenes
• “Romancing the Nile: A Winning Sequel” Featurette
• “Adventures of a Romance Novelist” Featurette
• Trailer and Preview


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Jewel Of The Nile [Blu-Ray] (1985)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 7, 2017)

After 1984’s Romancing the Stone became a hit, the studio almost immediately pursued a sequel. This meant The Jewel of the Nile made it to screens little more than a year and a half after the initial release of Stone.

I thought Nile bombed, but if we can trust IMDB, I recalled incorrectly. While Stone took in $74 million, Nile pulled in $68 million. That’s close enough to make one think that Nile should be viewed as a decent success.

Perhaps it’s the common critical opinion of the two flicks that left me with the impression that Nile tanked. While most view Stone as a winner, few feel positively about its sequel.

Does Nile deserve to be thought of as the lesser of the two flicks? Read on and see!

When Stone ended, adventurers and lovers Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) and Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) sailed off into the sunset, and Nile finds them during their extended boat-oriented travels. However, Joan tires of all this. She needs to finish her novel but suffers from writer’s block and wants to slow down their lifestyle.

Intrigue re-enters Joan’s life when a suave, rich admirer named Omar Khalifa (Spiros Focas) approaches her. He wants her to travel the Nile with him and write about his story as he attempts to unite the tribes of the Nile and bring peace to the area. Jack doesn’t cotton to that idea, so the pair split – perhaps temporarily, perhaps forever.

Inevitably, additional complications ensue. For one, Omar doesn’t seem to be as pure as he’d like Joan to believe. Tarak (Paul David Magid) tries to kill him and then tells Jack that Omar stole a special jewel precious to his people.

This occurs after Ralph (Danny DeVito) – a low-life from the first flick – confronts Jack. Ralph still wants that titular stone and tries to wheedle it out of Jack.

When Tarak tells the guys about this “Jewel of the Nile”, they get involved. Jack wants to do this to help Joan, while Ralph just seeks fortune. The movie follows these themes as Joan sees the reality of Omar’s regime and the others work to get the Jewel.

Since I wasn’t wild about Stone, that should have left me more open to enjoy Jewel. After all, I didn’t maintain high expectations for the sequel, so it became more difficult for it to disappoint me.

To that degree, I think it succeeds. Jewel isn’t a great film, but it provides a reasonably satisfying follow-up to Stone.

I like the fact that Jewel tries to show that sailing off into the sunset doesn’t guarantee happiness. Joan sees that her romance novel dreams won’t necessarily come true and that she and Jack actually have to work at a successful relationship.

That sounds awfully heavy for what remains a light action flick at heart. Don’t worry – the movie doesn’t weigh us down with those themes. They simply bring out an interesting side of things that I wouldn’t expect.

Although I read some comments that Jewel took a more comedic bent than Stone, I find the opposite to be true. While it does engage in comedy, it also emphasizes action to a greater degree.

Whereas the first flick balanced comedy, romance and action to a fairly even degree, this one puts a stronger value on the thrills. Even an inherently comic scene like the one in which Jack must battle a tribesman for Joan’s virtue becomes action-oriented.

And that’s what I prefer about Jewel. I thought Stone tried too hard to please all its potential audiences. It didn’t bring out a strong thematic feel as it endorsed various genres, and these failed to mesh in a satisfying manner.

With its more concentrated emphasis, Jewel proves more consistent and more enjoyable. To be sure, I won’t call it a great flick, as the action is never better than good, and the characters don’t grow a whole lot past where they stood in the first movie.

We don’t find much complexity, and the flick tends to veer toward cookie-cutter action film status too much of the time. It never quite turns into “product”, but it edges in that direction.

Nonetheless, Jewel kept me entertained better than Stone. This may stem from expectations, as I thought I’d like Stone and dislike Jewel. Whatever the case may be, Jewel was a moderately enjoyable flick.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

The Jewel of the Nile appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. After the solid transfer that came with Stone, the lackluster visuals of Nile were a disappointment.

Sharpness varied. While some shots presented very good definition, more than a few others suffered from lackluster delineation. The movie usually showed pretty good clarity, but it often looked vaguely soft.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw mild edge enhancement. As for print flaws, I noticed a few examples of specks and marks. Though these never seemed dominant, they created occasional distractions.

Colors were another lackluster element. Despite all the movie’s exotic and potentially vibrant settings, the tones tended to appear somewhat flat. They could come across as reasonably vivid at times but too often they were a little on the drab side.

Blacks were similarly decent but unexceptional, and shadows tended to come across as moderately thick. Although I never found this to be a bad transfer, it showed too many concerns to rate higher than a “C+”. It simply looked a bit too murky to satisfy.

On the other hand, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of The Jewel of the Nile worked pretty well. The soundfield seemed oriented toward the forward channels, where they showed very good stereo imaging for music and effects.

Elements meshed together well and moved smoothly. Localization was also very good. The surrounds were somewhat limited but they added more than acceptable reinforcement to the image.

Audio quality was positive. Dialogue seemed slightly weak at times, as I occasionally heard some mild edginess, but it generally appeared warm and natural. Effects were consistently crisp and clear, with no audible distortion, and few times we witnessed some nice bass as well.

Music sounded clean and lively, as the score was reproduced in a satisfying manner. Given the age of the flick, I founded little about which to complain when I listened to the soundtrack.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD from 2006? Though the Blu-ray added a 5.1 lossless track in addition to the original lossy 4.0, auditory differences seemed limited due to the age of the material. The scope and quality of the audio seemed fairly similar, so the Blu-ray offered a bit more oomph but not a lot.

The source material also affected the visuals. I’m guessing the Blu-ray came from the same transfer used for the DVD, which meant improvements stemmed from the superior capabilities of Blu-ray and not from an upgraded transfer. Still, even with the Blu-ray’s iffy qualities, it still looked better than the DVD.

The Blu-ray duplicates the DVD’s extras, and we begin with an audio commentary from director Lewis Teague. He presents a running, screen-specific chat. Teague talks about what attracted him to the project and how he came onto it.

The director also looks at his career prior to Jewel and his desire to depict “Recognizable Human Behavior”. Additional subjects include locations and shoot specifics, the story’s development and the rushed nature of the production, casting and working with the actors, challenges making a film in Morocco, and visual effects.

At the start of the track, I thought it’d be a great one. Teague begins well, as he comes across as charming, likable, informative and funny.

Unfortunately, the commentary soon starts to sputter as Teague goes silent an awful lot of the time. He still churns out some good info, but the gaps become problematic. I think Teague offers enough useful data to make the track worth a listen, but don’t expect it to be a thorough winner.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 44 seconds. These include “A Toast to Joan Wilder” (1:11), “With the People” (1:01), “’Need Water’” (0:41), “’This Ain’t Easy You Know’” (0:59), “’Jack, I Wish We Would Have Gone to Greece’” (0:22) and “The Ceremony” (1:30).

“People” is mildly interesting as it shows Joan an early sign that the citizens don’t like Omar, and a few of the others allow Danny DeVito a little more comedic screentime. None of them come across as memorable, though. They’re not as tedious as the cut scenes that accompanied Stone, but they’re not very entertaining either.

Next comes a featurette called Romancing the Nile: A Winning Sequel. In this 20-minute, 59-second piece, we get movie clips, archival materials, and interviews. We hear from Teague, actor/producer Michael Douglas, co-screenwriter Mark Rosenthal, and actors Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito.

The show looks at why the filmmakers pursued a sequel, its rapid production, and related pressures. We follow the project’s development and then go through screenwriting and story, problems with the script and its refinement, challenges related to the notion of a sequel, casting new actors, locations and related experiences, props and art direction, and general thoughts about the project.

The program acts as a pretty solid examination of the production, especially when tied to Teague’s commentary. The “making of” for Stone was lackluster, but this one proves more informative and provocative. It fails to present great insight, but it touches on the appropriate notes well and gives us a nice look at the flick.

Another featurette entitled Adventures of a Romance Novelist lasts eight minutes, two seconds. It offers notes from Douglas, Rosenthal, Turner, and Teague. “Novelist” looks at the decisions related to the creation of a sequel. Those involved let us know the concerns they dealt with and why they chose to take the story in the direction selected.

Some of this information repeats notes from the prior show, but “Novelist” expands the topics well. It covers the requisite story and character related material in an interesting fashion.

We also get a fun trailer for Nile that features unique footage of De Vito as well as a Preview for Jumpers. Unfortunately, the Billy Ocean video for “When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” doesn’t pop up here. It’s a terrible video, but it’s be fun to see for kitsch value.

After the disappointment of Romancing the Stone, I didn’t expect much from its sequel. Nonetheless, The Jewel of the Nile provides some decent entertainment. At no point does the flick threaten to become memorable, but it keeps us reasonably interested. The Blu-ray provides erratic visuals along with pretty good audio and a few useful supplements. The transfer disappoints but the movie itself seems moderately entertaining.

To rate this film visit the DVD Review ofJEWEL OF THE NILE

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