ROMEO AND JULIET (2013) Blu-Ray Review
The classic tale of Romeo and Juliet may very well be one of the most reproduced stories in post-Shakespearean history. There are no surprises in the way the saga ends, so the biggest challenge in recreating it on film is the presentation. This version aimed to create something that the current generation of teenagers could relate to. Unfortunately for the production team, the 2013 film will have to settle for a very niche audience.
Although the movie as a whole looked exquisite, shot mostly in the city of Verona, the setting prescribed in the original manuscript, it failed to capture the screen in the same contemporary way that Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 re-imagining did. It’s almost painful to compare the two in fact. The most recent version, however, took the Romeo and Juliet image back to its renaissance period roots, something that fans of Shakespeare may be more comfortable with. Whereas Luhrmann’s vision involved quite a bit of creative liberty, director Carlo Carlei kept it as close to the source material as possible – barring any inescapable stage to film modifications.
Romeo and Juliet stars Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet and Douglas Booth as Romeo. These iconic roles were well cast, and there was nothing wrong with their performances independently – it was when they were paired on screen that their lack of chemistry made those scenes appear underdeveloped. It may be harsh, but there was more passion in the single scene between Juliet and her cousin, Tybalt (Ed Westwick), then between the two star-crossed lovers.
The one saving grace of the film, which overall is a watered down effort at best, is the brilliant costuming. The designers clearly spared no effort bringing to life this tragic tale with stunning gowns, dashing suits, and an array of colors and gems that set the tone throughout the film.
Romeo and Juliet looks splendid in widescreen 2.40:1, but the sound leaves something to be desired. Even though it comes in standard issue DTS-HD MA 5.1, the music often seemed to overpower the dialogue. The words may be secondary due to the familiarity that viewers have with the narrative, but it would still be nice to be able to hear them.
In addition to the previews that are attached to the beginning of the film, the blu-ray comes complete with a digital copy and several featurettes:
- Romeo & Juliet: Cast and Crew
- Romeo & Juliet: The Filmmaker’s Version
- Romeo & Juliet: Creating the Look
- Romeo & Juliet: Hair and Make-Up
- Theatrical Trailer
The short interview pieces are worth taking a look at, especially the latter two concerning costuming and design choices. Like I said before, these were areas that were definitely not overlooked in the production process.
Romeo and Juliet is now available for your viewing pleasure. If you are a fan of Shakespeare or a classic love story, this movie is at least worth the price of your rental. Don’t forget to check out the special features so you make sure to get your monies worth.