Romeo and Juliet is a classic tale that has been told and re-told over and over again. It is generally accepted that the definitive film version of Shakespeare’s story of lovers’ twisted fate is the 1968 version by Italian director Franco Zeffirelli. Rather than attempt to best this effort, more recent film adaptations have decided to modernize the story. Baz Luhrmann tackled it with Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio using all the original dialog, but ultra modern wardrobe, sets and music. While some critics myself included) fell in love with this fast paced adaptation, others were appalled.
This time around, the story is told in a Spanish language film from Mexican director Fernando Sarinana. You know the plot. This time, the divides between the two star-crossed lovers are not political but economical. Our Juliet is a very wealthy girl, while “Romero” is a poor but good boy who has to work to get by. I really wanted to like this movie, but I just couldn’t do it. This is the same lifeless high school girl romcom crap that you find here in the states, it just looks worse.
The audio here is pretty weak. For a film that spends so much of its time telling the story through song, I was really hoping the sound quality would be better. The only soundtrack available to viewers is a standard non-Dolby stereo track. Dialog comes from the front sides of the house, and the subwoofer and surrounds have nothing productive to do. Dialog seems a little muddled to me, but then again, I don’t speak Spanish, so I cannot be sure. I can certainly attest to the fact that the music sections are quite a bit louder than the dialog. It’s almost as if the disc never went through the audio mastering process.
Horrible, horrible picture effects plague this film. What makes it worse, it is obviously something that was done on purpose. Scenes change from color to black-and white and back at random and for no reason whatsoever. There are even some super-grainy 8mm shots thrown in for extra annoyance. The whole film looks like it was filmed using six totally different cameras shooting in varying aspect ratios, then all the footage was cut up and thrown in the air, and then re-assembled at random. The best quality of these is still grainy and full of bleeding colors.
Even the studio knew this release was a swing and a miss. There is not a single extra on this disc, save for some previews for other Spanish-language films that actually look much worse than this one. Really, the fact that there are no extras included here is a blessing in disguise.
Should you invest two hours of your life in this disc? El no.