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Romancing the Stone

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ROMANCING THE STONE Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner (1984, CBS/Fox, $59.98, digital sound, PG) On videocassette, with relatively pale color and literally half its wide-screen imagery pared away, Robert Zemeckis’ Romancing the Stone can’t hide its narrative seams. Too often and too abruptly the logic of the plot line leaps, along with the actors, across improbable chasms. But in this new laserdisc transfer, something very different happens. As timid romance novelist Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) slogs her way through Colombian jungles to find her sister’s kidnappers, the movie’s real star, cinematographer Dean Cundey, takes over the screen. You hardly care about believability when every perfectly framed shot, shown off in letterbox format, bustles with action and radiates cartoon-Technicolor hues. There’s ear candy too, as the digital, Dolby Surround-encoded soundtrack surges with rainstorms, gunfire, screeching tires, and calypso beats. The movie is still nonsense, but here it’s impeccably crafted nonsense. Like the glossy ”graphic novel” edition of a comic strip, this laserdisc turns disposable pulp into an irresistibly sleek pop object. B+ -Steve Daly