Disney+ film review: Romancing the Stone
Surprise fun for gore hounds9
Danny DeVito’s panic-stricken face10
Ian Loring | On 01, Aug 2021
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas, Danny DeVito
Where to watch Romancing the Stone online in the UK: Disney+ UK
Directed by a young and hungry Robert Zemeckis – not the blockbuster-making, award-winning man of now but rather one on the down and outs after starting his career with poor performing comedies – Romancing the Stone absolutely buzzes with a want to entertain as many people as humanly possible. In Kathleen Turner, a casting masterstroke is achieved with her romance author Joan never being a simple damsel in distress while also showing off a real vulnerability throughout. As Joan heads to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister and finds herself in a treasure hunt, Turner walks an incredibly precarious tightrope of being both relatable and having elements that people would fantasise about being.
She proves a wonderful foil for Douglas’ bird hunter, Jack Colton. Douglas is in full movie star mode throughout, his character’s dashing hero entrance brought down to earth quickly as he plays what could be described as an Earthbound Han Solo. Pulled into being a good guy with an initially hidden moral compass along with pure attraction to Turner, their chemistry is dynamite – he really does the whole “men want to be him, women want to be with him” A-grade matinee idol thing without a hint of cheese. It’s easy to forget just how brilliant a movie star Douglas is, but he really shines.
And then for those not interested in romance or action, you’ve got Danny DeVito who gets weirdly little time with Douglas and Turner considering he’s a pretty substantial part of proceedings, His fish-out-of-water, constantly-getting-into-trouble comic relief is a refreshing change of pace whenever he’s on screen and he never threatens to overwhelm proceedings.
This all has the ingredients of a good time but Zemeckis adds to this ably, with a sure hand in making you care about the couple, both in the quieter moments but also when the action kicks off. You’ve got a cracking car chase, multiple bad guy factions trying to take down the central duo and a fantastic climax that surprises with an incredibly nasty, lingering amputation, which will both make you laugh and wince in its audacity considering how widely the film is aiming.
If Dwayne Johnson and company were wise, they’d have tried to make 2021’s Jungle Cruise in the same vein of Romancing the Stone, a straight-up good time of a film which seeks only to put a smile on your face and manages it. For most directors it would be their most famous work, but for Zemeckis, its essentially the start of his blockbuster career – and what a start it was.
Angel is available on Disney+ UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription or a £79.99 yearly subscription.