A new Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet movie came out this week, so like a good English teacher, I went to go see it. Some boys at school informed me that the girl playing Juliet is really fifteen-years old, which obviously impressed them, but what impressed me was the new Romeo, who puts '68 Zach Efron look-alike from the Franco Zeffirelli version to shame. This is the prettiest Romeo I have ever seen, and not only is he dreamy, this Romeo is a sculptor and an artist. He has dreamy hair, dreamy eyelashes, dreamy lips, a fine physique, and he could even act. I want to say he was the best actor in the movie, but I might be blinded by his dreaminess. My daughter just reminded me that he was shirtless for a very short bit, too.
But why does the movie have a 24% approval rating on Flixster? I figured it was because it’s Shakespeare, which means the audience probably got bored with the language. But, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such bad editing. The choppy editing cuts created an awkward flow in the presentation of the story—kind of reminiscent of Twilight. Speaking of Twilight, I didn’t think Juliet emanated much emotion as she sighed about Romeo or at any time during the film. She made me think of Kristen Stewart. Her delivery was flat, and her acting really paled. So how did Julian Fellows make up for it? Lots of making out. That’s what my daughter said. “Mom, every time they were saying good bye, they’d just start making out again. It was awkward.”
But what was good? The setting and sets were stunning, the costumes were detailed and elaborate, but the background music overpowered every single scene and ruined the movie. The cinematographer should be shot. Right next to the editor. And the music director.
But my big problem with Romeo and Juliet isn’t this recent version of it. The play is a ridiculous story about a love-sick boy swooning over some girl named Rosalind until Juliet, in a MASK I might add, catches his eye. They get engaged that night on her balcony and they get married married the next day. I also want to point out that the play serves as a companion to Hamlet. In Romeo and Juliet, no one obeys the prince or the parents, and as such, they die. Everything happens impetuously, rashly, in an immediate gratification sort of way. In Hamlet, everyone obeys the king and their parents, even though they are terribly wrong, and they die (that’s really everyone except Horatio). Hamlet thinks about everything and toils over everything that all of his thinking and waiting leads to his end.
So what is Shakespeare trying to tell us? We’re screwed either way? If we act quickly, wait it out, listen to our parents and leaders, or ignore them, we’re all going to die. And so it goes.