Monday, February 18, 2013
Romeo + Juliet (1996) review
This upbeat update to the age-old Shakespeare play is fresh and inventive, but also lacking in accuracy and putting the pieces together.
PLOT:In the big city of Verona, two families live in hate of each other: the Montagues and the Capulets. Romeo Montague (Leonardo DiCaprio), being depressed about his ex Rosaline, is invited to a party held by the Capulets. There, he meets the beautiful Capulet daughter, Juliet (Claire Danes). They fall in love at first sight and agree to be together in secret. However, new obstacles arrive with the rivalry and make things all the more complicated. This version of the popular play is modernized to the max with fast cars, expensive guns, explosive action, and big trips. It's a great plot executed fairly well.
ACTING:The acting in this film was pretty good. It isn't worthy of an award, but it's pretty good still. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes both played fair parts as Romeo and Juliet, but it could have been done so much better. The other shining performances were John Leguizamo as Tybalt, Harold Perrineau Jr. as Mercutio, Pete Postlethwaite as Father Laurence, Paul Sorvino as Fulgencio Capulet, Vondie Curtis-Hall as Captain Prince, Miriam Margolyes as the Nurse, Christina Pickles as Caroline Montague, Paul Rudd as Paris, and Dash Mihok as Benvolio. The best of these performances had to have been Harold Perrineau Jr. as Mercutio. He almost stole the show with his great supporting role, as well as John Leguizamo or Dash Mihok.
SCORE:The score and soundtrack are both pretty great. Considering the director over this version, you can expect there to be a lot of music in it. The soundtrack to this is very romantic and detailed made up of re-recorded songs and other themes.
OTHER CONTENT:This version of Shakespeare's famous play is very unique and inventive. It's trippy, modernized, clever, and all in the vision of Baz Luhrman. One significant thing I can say about this film is that the emotional impact seems to hit harder at the end of this one than it did in the older version I've seen. It made me really cry because it seemed more real. However, one thing about this film brought it both praise and dislike from me, and that's the fact that it kept the original dialogue. It pleased the Shakespeare fan in me, but it really didn't fit the time period it was set in. It just seemed so out-of-place. Also, this version lost so much and moved around so much that it doesn't hit the same dramatic impact that it did before. It's still very good with emotions, but a little lost in itself.
OVERALL,a great film with a well-executed plot, good acting, romantic Luhrman soundtrack, a bigger emotional impact, inventiveness, and original dialogue, but it all seems so out-of-place and lost a few important story elements in itself.