Robert Zemekis’ “Romancing The Stone” is one of those perfect Saturday afternoon rainy day movies. Since it focuses on best selling author Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), it seems apropos that the movie feels like curling up with a good book.
Upon discovering that her New York apartment has been ransacked, Joan gets a call from her sister who has been kidnapped in Columbia. Joan is instructed to bring a treasure map to Columbia in exchange for her sister’s safe return. However, Joan is not as romanticized or adventurous as the characters in her novels. So her three piece suit and heels won’t blend well in the wet jungles in which she ends up completely lost. Fortunately, she meets a heroic, handsome guy in the form of Jack T Colton (Michael Douglas). Together, they flee from the parties interested in the map while trying to find the titled stone together.
Zemekis might have been taking an Indiana Jones route with this picture, but it finds its own identity nonetheless. The fun comes with how Joan adapts to the outdoor elements and escapes the safe and lonely concrete jungles of city life. Turner is great as the one with no clue for travel or instinct to stay out of a bad situation but eventually finds her way. It’s fun to see her adapt to the fun of approaching one cliffhanger after another.
There are great scenes here with mud slides, vine swinging, shoot outs and car chases. The best adventures never rely on CGI. A favorite amusing sequence involves a meet up with a Columbian drug runner who helps the pair evade the bad guys in his 4 x 4 truck. That’s one of many fun, unexpected moments here.
A third star comes with Danny DeVito fast on the trail of Joan and Jack. He’s here as the stooge more or less but he’s added fun.
The one sad thing about “Romancing The Stone” is that it’s screenwriter Diane Thomas passed away shortly after her script was sold. Imagine what she could have done based on the promise of this film. This script has focus, fun and simplicity.
“Romancing The Stone” is just great escapism.