No matter where you grew up or what books youï¿½ve read, you have undoubtedly come across the workings of William Shakespeare, and especially his Romeo and Juliet. This film takes the dialogue from the original play pretty much word for word but depicts it in a more modern time, with, of course, then-teen heart throbs Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as our star-crossed lovers.
Instead of swords and castles, there are guns and skyscrapers. The famous opening argument with Benvolio, Tybalt and Mercuteo is a public firefight that kicks off the film. For the few of you who are unfamiliar with Romeo and Juliet, itï¿½s a love story about two young people who are forbidden to love each other because of their families. For as long as anyone can remember, the Capulets and Montagues have shared a mutual hatred for one another. Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, meet and share a passionate love for one another but are forever bound to secrecy as no one in either family could accept this love connection ï¿½ the hate runs too deep. The story deals with the tribulations of love in the midst of hate, and the coupleï¿½s eventual decline.
When reviewing this movie a lot of things have to be taken into consideration. To be honest, Iï¿½ve never really been a fan of Shakespeareï¿½s works. But I remember watching this movie way back near its time of release, and it spoke to me a lot more than actually reading the play. The film succeeds in offering a modern look at a 400-year-old, world-renowned play, which is perfect for the younger audience the film is geared towards. Iï¿½m sure the subtle differences in the movie may taint it for hardcore fans of the play, but if youï¿½re looking for a different kind of movie, this might be the one. I like it a lot more than I did reading the play back in high school, but it is far from perfect, just different and better in comparison to reading it.
Romeo and Juliet Music Edition is presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and makes for an impressive transfer on DVD. The first thing I noticed was the impressive amount of color used throughout the film. Almost every palette of color used looks crisp and vibrant, no easy feat for standard definition. Just as impressive was the detail which hardly ever looked soft or grainy. Overall, we are left with a great looking picture, a job that will be noticed for anyone who views it.
Fox has included impressive DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks that had me hooked from start to finish. The opening shootout in the gas station really fired up all channels in my setup, and rear channels and bass in particular were used consistently well throughout. This isnï¿½t the only scene in the movie that will provide you with a great surround experience, there were also plenty of musical numbers scattered throughout that sounded just as good. Fans of the film will likely not hear a better sounding track for this film until it hits Blu-ray.
The Music Edition has a handful of extras that will probably please fans of the movie; they basically but not entirely revolve around the music of the film.
- Romeo + Juliet: The Music Documentary ï¿½ Never-before-seen footage documenting the process of bringing the musical elements of the picture together.
- Audio Commentary – Three audio commentary tracks. The first is by Director Baz Luhrmann, the second by Score Programmer and Co-Composer Marius DeVeries and finally one by Score Orchestrator and Co-Composer Craig Armstrong.
- Music Machine ï¿½ A jukebox that letï¿½s you skip to any scenes in the movie that showcase your favorite songs.
- The Journey of The Song ï¿½ An in-depth look at a few of the songs in the movie including Young Hearts Run Free, Temp Music and Everybodyï¿½s Free.
A fresh look at classic play, very interesting and a worthwhile movie to check out to compare and contrast to the writing. Not a must-see, but itï¿½s an enjoyable viewing experience. The video looks great, the audio sounds even better, plus the disc is stacked full of somewhat decent features. If you are a fan of this picture, then you shouldnï¿½t hesitate picking this one up.
Special Features List
- Three audio commentaries
- Romeo + Juliet: The Music Documentary
- Music Machine
- The Journey of The Song