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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
I think this was a well thought out modernized version of the classic. It re-invented the fantasy aura that originally it would have obtained by setting it in the past, instead pushing it into a future that was strangely relatable, yet, not so believable. Good fiction can put you there , and make you believe, even if it's not supposed to be. Just like our main charater's...
Published on May 27 2009 by Tanya Elchuk

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3.0 out of 5 stars It's So Weird...
This movie was shown to us in Language Arts to help us "understand" the play better. But it is really one of the cheesiest movies I've ever seen. Not that it's not worth seeing; it's actually quite interesting to see Luhrman's interpretation of Romeo and Juliet (modernized with gun fights, explosions, hip hop, and lots of angry people screaming and driving...
Published on April 7 2003 by John I. Mange


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, May 27 2009
By 
Tanya Elchuk (Calgary) - See all my reviews
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I think this was a well thought out modernized version of the classic. It re-invented the fantasy aura that originally it would have obtained by setting it in the past, instead pushing it into a future that was strangely relatable, yet, not so believable. Good fiction can put you there , and make you believe, even if it's not supposed to be. Just like our main charater's love story. Either way, past or present-Romeo & Juliet works best as a fantasticle, untimely tragedy, and I think Baz got it right. I found his interpretation, and yes I'll admit - strange at first - but that's mostly due to preconceived ideas on how this classic is "supposed" to play out, however once one drops all that, it was wonderful, enlightening and engaging. Capturing all the honesty and angst of young love and passion. After all that said, my favorite though is ultimately how Baz had the death scene played out. Not Romeo dead before Juliet wakes up but Romeo dying as she wakes up and the knowledge in both their eyes as he dies realizing how close they both came to having everything. Frustration, horror, sorrow, love, anguish, releif...I felt it all with them...brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Open Mind Folks!, Feb. 28 2004
By 
B. Munoz (Mt Airy, Maryland USA) - See all my reviews
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We have been watching this movie in our eighth grade English class, as well as reading the play Romeo and Juliet, as well as meeting with our Shakespearean expert who just happens to work at our school to act out scenes. Not only that, but we have also been studying the Shakespeare's time period. That being said, let me also say that Shakespeare was not this serious man who didn't understand comedy. In fact it was quite the opposite. True, Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy but is a comedy as well. That's how most of his works are. An example of this is how he would cast men as women. Just the sight of this would bring laughs from the audience. With all that understood, the movie Romeo and Juliet is a great adaptation.
We have only watched the first 30 minutes, and I might add more to this review once we finish it, or when I get the DVD, whichever comes first! But I loved the newscaster as the chorus. What a creative touch. As for the swords or guns controversy, this is set in modern times. Who uses swords in our day? But to keep the Old English was smart. After all, what is Romeo and Juliet without Old English? It would not be the same. I mean, the famous Queen Mab's speech in anything but Old English? Hard to imagine. And te contrast between Old English and modern times was a very interesting one. And even if it was written in today's language, it would be too much like West Side Story. They wanted to stick to the roots of Romeo and Juliet. Also for all those people who criticized Mercutio for being a drag queen, he is not a drag queen or a transvestite. Well what can I say? This is the modern version. The performance given by Leonardo DiCaprio is great, he speaks Old English like he's spoken it his entire life. However Juliet, I don't quite agree with. I don't think she brought her best to this film. The acting isn't the best and she looks quite bland compared to Romeo, who is quite handsome, and I don't really understand the whole Cuban thing with Juliet's family.
All in all, a great film, one that must be seen with an open mind, otherwise don't even bother to watch it at all. It was filmed to show today's fourteen year old's that yes, Shakespeare lived in the 1600's and true, Romeo and Juliet takes place in the 1400's but it has a universal message of love, one that can still be understood today, even if it is 2004.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't Not Like It, Feb. 15 2004
By 
A. Jarrells "archimedes" (VA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Romeo & Juliet (DVD)
I was first introduced to this movie when I was a senior in high school. I didn't understand it at all and, furthermore, thought that it was silly and juvenile. However, after developing a love for the performing arts and actually reading shakespeare, I have developed an appreciation for this movie that is hard to explain to the casual viewer.
I believe that Baz Luhrman's take on this is brilliant! Mercutio steals the show, but is only highlighted by his introduction and death scene (which is the pivotal point of the story). Teenage angst and true love that no grown-up can remember experiencing rules the roost here. Guns are brilliantly substituted for swords and daggers, and the word-play is only enhanced by the film's use of the cast's modern nuances. I find myself watching this every couple of months and loving it!
As for the director's use of Shakespeare's dialogue, I belive it is nothing short of genius. To blend the modern with the elizabethan is a difficult task, and luhrman does it with a grace that shows confidence and true emotion, which resonates in shakespeare like a great bell being rung through all our time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Leo & Claire r gr8, stop bagging them!, Dec 28 2003
By 
Haylz (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Romeo &Juliet (VHS Tape)
Look, I'll admit I'm a Leo fan, and Claire is okay 2, but, C'mon, this movie was GR8! The first time I saw it was when i was a little kid, about 7, and i thought it was crappy then. But that was then and once i'd re-seen it, i thought it was terific. the special edition DVD shows in detail how the main 3 scenes were shot (the gun scene, water scene, death secene) and I luv the interview section. Baz Lurmann has out done himself.
The movie starts off with a TV report and ends with it. Romeo first spies Juliet dressed as a knight and her as an Angel, smart move by Baz. If u listen closely 2 the lines, u will start 2 not only understand the Shakspearian dialect but u will hear some things quiet easy 2 miss. I also luv how they've based everything around the 'water barrier' as Baz describes it in the commontary (i luv DVDs with commontary) and the fish tank was guenious.
Look, i just want 2 say, if u r a Leo or Claire or Jesse Bradford or John Legessamo (i have no idea how 2 spell his last name) fan or ur just up 4 a good movie, this is the one 2 c. and guys, this isn't what i'd descibe as a chick flick mainly because of the death of tybalt scene and the fight and gun scenes.
Well, i hope u all like it. - Haylz
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4.0 out of 5 stars half and half, Dec 19 2003
By 
nicole (pompano beach) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Romeo & Juliet (DVD)
Overall, I'd have to say the direction was extremely innovative.I loved the unique focus on water (they see each other for the first time through a fishtank,make out in a pool...etc).The music chosen for this movie fits every scene perfectly, and helps set the tone. I'm on the "Baz Luhrmann is brillant" side.
The acting irked me in some areas. Leonardo Dicaprio made for a good Romeo, but I can't tell if it's because his acting was superb or because the camera angles really brought out how attractive he is. Either way, I have no complaints.
Claire Danes.Er. There are some scenes I don't think anyone could have done better than her, and then there are some that are just cringe worthy. Her death scene was horrible.Horrible.I don't like the facial expressions,I don't like the way she delivers her final lines. It was almost a major buzz kill, but other elements of the scene saved it.
If you're one of those people who notices every little detail in a movie, buy the DVD.You'll have plenty to look at. Otherwise, wait until it's in the sale bin at your local video store and then buy it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Call To Bring This Generation Back, Oct. 25 2003
By 
J. Wactor (Tucson, AZ) - See all my reviews
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Baz Luhrmann took a step out to try and create this movie. Mixing the features of a Shakespearian classic in the setting of a modern day world was a huge leap from anything that had ever been done before. It calls to the audience with the violence and sex that Shakespeare needed to include to capture the audience in his time, and what remains to capture audiences today.
What's most amazing is Baz Luhrmann's twist to not only apply today's world view of Shakespeare, but also to captures it with the original context and language of Shakespeare, and this is what makes this movie truly amazing. Audiences that have never read Shakespeare and don't understand the language of that day can still love and understand the movie, can still understand what's going on.
This movie has a chilling score on top of that. Every scene fully captures the beauty because of a score that brings out the emotion.
The cinematography was exciting and vibrant. The crew worked hard to bring Shakespeare to resurrect Shakespeare to the modern world in set as well as in script. Details were added to the movie that most won't catch until they watch the special features of this DVD.
Which brings me to the special features. You simply cannot do without these features. Hours of additional footage that will show you the depth and the work that it took to create this movie, you will find a new fascination that will never leave you once you have watched it. Commentaries, galleries, interviews, music videos, it will keep you entertained and enlightened for hours.
The movie is astounding. My original distrust in a movie that had Leonardo de Caprio faded away within the first couple minutes of watching it. Claire Danes is an astounding, talented, and committed actress that also made this movie what it was. Enjoy it with a Shakespearian influence that makes this movie one that has set a precedent over all other representations of various other Shakespearian movies...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Remake, Oct. 9 2003
By A Customer
This was a nice remake of Romeo and Juliet but not as moving as the 1968 version. The 90's time frame wasn't believable. Did Baz not understand what point he wanted made? He tried to have his cake and eat it too and it didn't work. You can't say you don't want Romeo and Juliet to dress like they did in Shakespeare times, then have them spewing Shakespeare's words. Come on this was 1996! Any director with talent could have rewritten the words. If he wasn't going to change the words he shouldn't have touched it. You can't have Romeo driving a Porsche while saying things like: " How thou art? " It just doesn't work.
Okay anyone who's been born in the last two hundred years knows the plot so I won't get into that. I'd rather talk about the character's performances. Leo was wonderful ( as always ). I have respect for him and he brings believeable emotion to anything he does. The Capulet and Montague parents were led by veteran Brian Dennehy and Paul Sorvino ( fine actors! ). The scene was beautifully done and the costumes ( though didn't appear to be for the 90's ) were breathtaking. What more could anyone ask for? I'll tell you what...another Juliet.
Claire Danes is not a good actress and I am tired of people saying she is. She's dry and she has a tendacy to make the dumbest facial expressions during a close-up. Juliet was dainty and beautiful in past remakes. Claire Danes maybe sweet but she has a gawky screen presence and she looked awkward and clumsy throughout the movie. She seemed too uncomfortable and insecure. She was very thin and seemed uncomfortable about her height because she kept stooping over weirdly during her scenes and she began to appear humped back. I don't know if this was for effect or what but it got on my nerves. Many of the other Juliets have been beautiful and brought spark to their characters. Claire Danes looked like a boy with bad hair implants ( it was some sort of bad wig they gave her ) and squeals when she gets loud. Danes was not the best choice for Juliet. Someone more fitting would have been Winona Ryder, Christina Ricci, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Drew Barrymore or Liv Tyler. All eccentric beauties who dive into characters time after time and impressed. Danes is just another one from the 90's teen scene who got her start on television and tried to transfer that onto the screen. Maybe she would have been better in something else ( though I've seen her in three films and she acts the same in all of them ). Juliet wasn't her thing. She wasn't convincing and there wasn't anything that would make Romeo see HER out of thousands of other beautiful girls and fall in love. Especially someone as handsome as Leo DiCaprio.
This used to be one of my favorite films but I've tired of it now. I barely watch it. It's a good movie if you can get past the terrible Juliet cast. The others do not disappoint. One good thing was that Danes wasn't shown that much. They could have devoted more air time to John Leguizamo. He's terrific whether he does comedy or serious roles. Nice movie to add to your collection.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Shame, Sept. 17 2003
By 
Larry (Milan Italy) - See all my reviews
This film is a shame. It is not a question of being old traditionalists or conservative close-minded Shakespeare lovers (I'm 26 years old and very much open to modern versions of old classics). It is simply unacceptable that, justified by some sort of "freedom of interpretation", a director feels to be entitled to torture, rape and murder a masterpiece such Romeo and Juliet, turning a timeless love tragedy into a psychedelic, amphetaminic, rappy cross between a video-clip and and television advertisment, where the medieval beauty of wonderful Italian Verona becomes the depressing and violent misery of American Verona Beach (Verona Beach, would you believe it?!).
There might be "vibrant colors and costumes" and "kinetic widescreen cinematography" (AMG), but except for Craig Armstrong's wonderful score, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet is just rubbish. Even more upsetting is the Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction, which proves the fact that anything that is highly commercial, fast-moving, shot like a music video, utterly American and built to satisfy the needs of the miserable MTV - microwave dinner generation, will reach the Academy. What a SHAME!
Watch 1968 Zeffirelli's masterpiece Romeo & Juliet and see what I'm talking about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wacky but interesting, Sept. 3 2003
This review is from: Romeo & Juliet (VHS Tape)
This is probably biased, as I have a real weakness for modernised Shakespeare, and so really enjoyed this film just for that. There's been a lot of argument about whether it's any good or not, and most of my points have already been said, but I'm going to review anyway!
The main thing is that you'll probably only enjoy the movie if (a) modernised Shakespeare is something you're happy with (b) you can make the suspension of disbelief required to accept modern-day people talking in Shakespearean dialogue. If you don't feel like you could accept these things, then you'd probably be better renting another movie.
The camera work and overall presentation is extremely dramatic, sometimes over-dramatic, and again, enjoyment depends on personal taste. In my opinion, the camera work mostly produces a vibrant, emotional experience, but at times you do want to just grab the camera and stop it moving so you can take the scenes in more slowly! Again, though, if you are prepared to accept dramatic camera work, it isn't much of a problem - but if you prefer traditional filming techniques, this one would rather annoy you.
The actors are adequate - Claire Danes does well with the rather anodyne role of Juliet, DiCaprio is a tolerable Romeo, and Pete Postlethwaite is excellent as Friar Lawrence. Again, at times some performances dip into the melodramatic side, but others are surprisingly sensible.
I have taken a star off mainly for the hacking of the text, which manages to eliminate some of the most famous lines. This is a lot more bothersome when you actually know the play as it does jar quite a bit to notice omissions. This is the only thing that really annoyed me, however.
If you think you could enjoy this movie, I would definitely rent it - even if you don't like it, it'll probably be an interesting experience. Yes, it probably is slightly spoon-fed Shakespeare, but that's no reason to condemn it completely.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Romeo & Juliet, June 25 2003
By 
Marie (Oregon, USA) - See all my reviews
Alright. This movie receives a lot of mixed reviews, I've noticed. Rightly so, I think it's rather controversial, really. Nonetheless, it's among my favorite films of all time. It reeks of the contemporary, and yet manages to mask it's scent with dazzling visuals and stunning performances. DiCaprio's performance as Romeo takes the cake, as far as I'm concerned. Danes is an effective Juliet, convincing even, but DiCaprio and Perrineau as Mercutio are by far the best performances in the film. Perrineau portrays Mercutio's manic personality to near perfection. And while DiCaprio is almost too pasionate in his own role, it fits under the circumstances. His melodrama and frenetic behavior are what would be expected when thinking of a boy as young as Romeo was, and as allegedly in love. My favorite scene in this film is shortly after our two central characters "meet." It takes place while they are frolicking around the Capulet's house, if you will, and are embracing and kissing in the elevator, dodging Juliet's mother and suitor, Paris. The chemistry is completely there, every moment of it is believable, and the euphoria that their characters are feeling, is reciprocal between them and the audience. Brilliance.
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William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet [Import]
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