"THE JEWEL OF THE NILE: SPECIAL EDITION"
by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Michael Douglas as JACK T. COLTON
Kathleen Turner as JOAN WILDER
Danny DeVito as RALPH
Spiros Focás as OMAR
Avner Eisenberg as JEWEL
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Lewis Teague
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If there’s ever a good example as to why sequels are rarely as good as the original, it is “The Jewel of the Nile.” This film emerged after “Romancing the Stone” became an international hit. “Jewel” was rushed out for a release the Christmas following its predecessor’s success.
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Ultimately, Hollywood tried to cram together all the elements that made “Romancing the Stone” great. Like communism, on paper I’m sure it looked flawless. It had both stars from the original, as well as Danny DeVito thrown in a second time to be a sidekick. And, like the hit Indiana Jones films, “Jewel of the Nile” took the characters to new international locales.
There were some problems, however. These mostly started with the script. I remember hearing they were making the sequel and being excited. I also remember being sorely disappointed in the film. I was expecting a similar whirlwind adventure with Jack and Joan together most of the time. I also expected them to be hunting treasure in an international adventure.
However, Jack and Joan are apart for most of the film, and the “Jewel” they are chasing turns out to be a religious leader rather than an actual stone. After watching the special features, I now realize that this was something they did intentionally so they wouldn’t remake the first movie, but as a young, dumb moviegoer in the 80s, I wanted something more like the original.
This film sees Jack (Michael Douglas) and Joan (Kathleen Turner) in the middle of living the high life as they sail around the world. However, Joan is bored, and her latest book is suffering. In an attempt to rekindle her writing muse, she takes a job profiling Prince Omar, who happens to be a dictator of an Middle Eastern nation.
Joan soon learns she is his captive as well as his biographer, and she also learns that he wants to fake religious miracles to make him appear to be the spiritual leader of this nation. Meanwhile, Jack and Ralph (Danny DeVito) join forces to save Joan.
A lot of “The Jewel of the Nile” seemed forced. And, while I’m not someone who demands political correctness, I even found myself shuddering at the really inappropriate portrayal of the nation’s people. Not that it is bad to show strife in the Middle East, but to present the people as such dolts to believe a light show over a real miracle is just plain silly.
While “The Jewel of the Nile” was a hit, the filmmakers didn’t come back to make a third. Maybe the saw the writing on the wall. Maybe Douglas and Turner just became too expensive. Whatever the reason, this film serves more as a footnote to the original, and possibly a feather in the cap of director Lewis Teague who had just done TV and cheap horror films up to this point in his career.
The newly release special edition of “The Jewel of the Nile” coincides with the release of the special edition of “Romancing the Stone,” as well as the release of Michael Douglas’s latest film “The Sentinel.”
The DVD includes a commentary by Teague and several deleted scenes. There’s also two featurettes about the making of the film and how it was structured. The special features are thinner than those on “Romancing the Stone,” but they are still pretty decent.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. Widescreen (2.35:1). Spanish and French language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.