We all know Shakespeare’s story of the tragic, star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. More likely than not, this play has been the discussion of many English classes. There have been quite a few movies based on the play, and now there is yet another.
Does the world really need another movie version of Romeo and Juliet? The answer is, quite frankly, no.
Romeo and Juliet, directed by Carlo Carlei, hit the big screen once again on October 11th. It follows the original play for the most part, except for the opening tournament challenge between the Montague and Capulet families, the added-in storyline of a young novice under the supervision of Friar Lawrence, and the fact that Mercutio is made to be part of the Montague family.
Douglas Booth plays the role of passionate, emotional Romeo well, but Hailee Steinfeld’s (of True Grit) performance as Juliet falls flat at times.
The movie’s dialogue was like watered-down Shakespeare. It wasn’t modern language, but it wasn’t Shakespeare’s original either. Admittedly, it was easier to understand, but Shakespeare would be turning in his grave. Think of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 version with chopped up, simplified dialogue.
Though it is somewhat easier to understand, the storyline remains the same. Heated kisses between Romeo and Juliet were interspersed between swordfights against backdrops of beautifully-old Italian buildings and city streets. The best part of the movie was the setting, really.
In the end, Romeo downs a potion to kill himself and Juliet awakes just in time to kiss him before he dies. She then drives Romeo’s knife into her chest and death takes her as well. Their suicide scene ends in a tableau of Romeo’s body resting in Juliet’s arms. This scene, which was supposed to be filled with emotion, failed to be very moving.
Throughout the movie, the audience is left to question why a remake was ever made.
Though it contained a cast that fit the personalities of each character, the movie was rather dull. In other words, it was the same old story that we all know and it didn’t really bring anything new. It is simply an updated version of a classic for the new generation and, as such, I would give it a C+.