Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo & Juliet, as is the case with Moulin Rouge, was made to be seen and heard in a format such as DVD. His films are so visual that they can only be truly appreciated in the highest of quality… that is where this Special Edition release comes in.
“This ambitious undertaking takes William Shakespeare’s classic tale of star cross’d lovers and relates the story in a glossy music video style in modern day (1996) Florida. Leonardo DiCaprio and …lare Danes play the eponymous lovers kept apart by rival industrialist families. Bookended by newscastsers reciting Shakespeare’s prose as their copy, this clever glam updating of ROMEO AND JULIET is one of the most unusual adaptations of the Bard’s work in the history of cinema. The stylish and colorful sets earned the film an Oscar nomination for art direction. John Leguizamo gives a memorable performance as a devilish Tybalt.” – Fox
This DVD sounds really good. The score is portrayed beautifully, and the effects fill the soundstage nicely. Deep base adds a nice touch to the audio, and the vocals are all very clear. Shakespeare has never sounded this good… but what else could we have expected from Baz Lurhmann?
As stated before, Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge are extremely visual pieces of art. They need to get the highest treatment of quality in order to fully appreciate the fine looking film-making… and this disc does not disappoint. The colors are accurate as are the blacks, and the 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer is clean from print damage and image artifacts. The skin tones sometimes seem a little too strong, but overall the picture looks great.
This disc contains a nice supplement of special features to explore… all of which are housed behind a very simple and theme oriented menu structure. All of the menus are animated (including page transitions) with score, and they are very easy to navigate through.
The most valuable of the special features is the Audio Commentary featuring Baz Lurhmann and his crew. Lurhmann is a very interesting and creative individual who has a wonderful take on film-making. If you want insight into his though processes, you must listen to this commentary. Also included is a Director’s Gallery featuring a lot of information about “Why Shakespeare”, the “Impact” of the film, and” Rehearsal & Staging of Scenes”.
Also very interesting and informative is the Cinematographer’s Gallery in which many scenes are analyzed from a cinematographer’s point of view. We are shown how certain shots were conducted, and see the final results. This feature goes hand-in-hand with the Design Gallery with gives insight into the storyboarding and design concepts.
Lastly, this disc contains and Interview Gallery featuring, you guessed it, interview with the cast and crew. There are 7 individual interviews in total, includeing Baz Lurhmann, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Claire Danes. Two music videos and theatrical trailers & TV spots fill out this DVD.
This disc should be enjoyed by most everyone. The video and audio do justice to this film, and the special features are very valuable and entertaining. Thank you, Baz Lurhman, for using your creativity to bring Shakespeare from the past to the present.
Special Features List
- Commentary by Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Don McAlpine and Craig Pearce
- Theatrical trailer(s)
- Cinematographer’s Gallery: Scene Selection by Don McAlpine
- Director’s Gallery: Go Behind the Scenes with Baz Luhrmann
- Cast & Crew Interviews
- Music Videos: “Young Hearts Run Free” by Kym Mazelle; “Kissing You” by Des
- DVD ROM: Screenplay Comparison Excerpts