Romancing the Stone

From Academic Kids

Romancing the Stone is a American 1984 action-adventure film. It also has many elements that permit it to be categorized as a romantic comedy. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito.

The movie was a respectable hit and earned over US$114 million worldwide in box-office receipts and $36 million in video rentals.

This film launched Turner to stardom and reintroduced Douglas to the public eye as a capable leading man.

Contents

Plot

Romance novelist Joan Wilder (Turner) receives a strange package from her dead brother-in-law from Colombia. Soon afterwards, she gets a frantic call from her sister telling her she has been kidnapped and needs the map from the package as the ransom.

Hastily flying down to Colombia from New York, Wilder gets lost along her way to her destination, Cartehenia. Eventually she runs into swashbuckling opportunist Jack T. Colten (Douglas). In return for helping her find her way to Cartagena, Wilder promises Colten US$375 in traveler's checks.

Along the way, Colten discovers Wilder's map. He tries to convince her to go after the treasure which the map leads to. Wilder is reluctant to do so, but, after they become lovers, she relents and agrees to go after the prize, whatever it turns out to be (the map doesn't specify). They reason they can retrieve the treasure on their way to providing the map to her sister's captors.

After some perilous tracking, they eventually find the treasure which turns out to be an enormous gem (about 100 mm or the size of a baseball), which resembles an emerald. Unbeknownst to them, during their whole adventure, they are tracked by a murderous tyrant named Zolo.

Wilder and Colten eventually get separated, but agree to meet at Wilder's hotel in Cartagena. Colten doesn't show up, which troubles Wilder since he possesses the gem.

She meets up with her sister's kindappers and turns over the map. Their meeting and her sisters' release is interrupted by Zolo, who knows the map is now worthless. Zolo's men have Colten, but he has refused to disclose the location of the gem. After some brutal convincing (Zolo threatens to feed Wilder to the ubiquitous crocodiles), Colten hands over the gem.

At the moment Zolo obtains the gem, his hand (and the gem) is bitten off by one of the crocs and a gunfight breaks out between Zolo's private army and the kidnapper's men. This allows Wilder and her sister and Colten to escape. Colten tracks the hand-eating croc, while Wilder and her sister just try to get away.

Eventually handless Zolo catches up with Wilder intent on killing her. Within earshot of Colten, Wilder pleads for his help. He must decide whether to save her or hold onto the croc which has ingested the gem. He decides to try to save Wilder by scaling a rock wall (to her location). However, he arrives moments after Zolo dies accidentally by his own hand (sort of—he falls into a pit full of crocodiles). Colten leaves Wilder here, apparently choosing to avoid a run-in with the local police.

Wilder returns home to New York, more optimistic, though loveless without Colten. She churns out an implied hit novel based on her recent experience. Returning home one day, she finds Colten waiting for her in a sailboat he purchased after recovering the gem. It is implied they sail around the world together.

Sequel

This movie was followed by the 1985 The Jewel of the Nile featuring the same starring cast. Though it performed respectably, its success didn't match the original's.

Trivia

  • This Indiana Jones-inspired hit sparked a slew of similar adventure movies of varying quality. None did as well as this film.
  • The script for the movie was written by a Malibu waitress.
  • Due to the real-life threat of kidnappings in Colombia, shooting of the movie took place in Mexico.

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