Romeo & Juliet Blu-ray Review
It’s almost Valentine’s Day so be sure to check out Kidzworld’s review of the Blu-ray of the classic, timeless teenaged love story Romeo & Juliet.
By: Lynn Barker
You muddle along as a teen, hoping to meet that special someone who will blow your socks off at first sight. For young Juliet and Romeo, whose families are the worst of enemies, hooking up or even going out together gets really complicated.
In case you haven’t read it yet in school, in old Italy, hot teen Romeo Montague (Douglas Booth) crashes a ball thrown by the sworn enemy of his family, the Capulets looking for his crush Rosaline (Nathalie Rapti Gomez). When he sees Juliet Capulet (Hailee Steinfeld) it’s mutual fireworks! After the ball, Romeo sneaks back into the Capulet compound, finds Juliet and there is lots of kissing and the duo swears to run away and get married.
Lord and Lady Capulet (Damian Lewis and Natascha McElhone) expect Juliet to marry Count Paris (Tom Wisdom) to secure the family fortune. Romeo and Juliet sneak away and friendly Friar Laurence (Paul Giamatti) secretly marries them. Juliet’s cousin Tybalt (Ed Westwick) is angry that Juliet even talks to a Montague and takes his homies to swordfight Romeo whose bestie Mercutio (Christian Cooke) gets in the way, Tybalt kills him and Romeo kills Tybalt.
Romeo is banished from Verona for killing Tybalt but spends a honeymoon night as a secretly married couple with Juliet before fleeing town. Clueless, Juliet’s dad still wants her to marry Paris. Juliet had rather die and this gives the friar the idea to give her a potion that will make her seem dead. He’ll send word to Romeo and, when she wakes, they will go away together. Sounds weird but workable.
Juliet takes the potion, her parents think she’s dead and there is a funeral. She’s taken to the family crypt. The friar sends a novice to nearby Mantua where Romeo is living with a letter explaining the plan. Romeo’s pal Benvolio (Kodi Smit-McPhee) sees Juliet “dead” and rushes to tell Romeo. He gets there before the friar’s man so Romeo thinks his love is dead. Romeo vows to kill himself in Juliet’s tomb. The friar learns that Romeo never got his letter and rushes to the crypt. Romeo sees Juliet “dead”, drinks poison and dies! Juliet wakes from her drugged sleep, sees her love dead and kills herself. The young lovers are laid to rest together and the warring families mourn their dead and vow never to fight again.
There are several short featurettes that cover the making of the film.
Romeo & Juliet: Cast and Crew – presents most of the cast talking about their roles and the script and story. Hailee Steinfeld was especially impressed by filming on the real Italian locations in which the story takes place and says that all girls hope to find their Romeo. The costume designer talks about recreating the clothes of the Italian Renaissance period but adapting them for modern wear. We briefly see Douglas and Hailee on set.
In Romeo & Juliet: The Filmmaker’s Vision, screenwriter Julian Fellows (who also writes the popular TV series “Downton Abbey”) and the film’s Italian director Carlo Carlei talk about making an R&J movie that modern teens can relate to, putting in action along with the powerful love story, casting the two leads and shooting on the original Shakespeare locations in High def.
Romeo & Juliet: Creating the Look explores the production design and costuming in more detail. We get close-up looks at the rich and colorful fabrics used for the detailed costumes. Italian seamstresses sewed each one with care. Hailee tells us she couldn’t pick a fave costume. They are all awesome and “sparkly”. The masks worn at the ball are described and seen up close. This is my favorite extra because the costumes are far more colorful and rich than you see them when shot under low light in the film. Just gorgeous!
Romeo & Juliet: Hair & Make-Up – The film’s make-up artists and hair dressers talk about duplicating the hairstyles and sparse make-up of the Italian Renaissance. Actors loved the hair especially for the masked ball. Ed Westwick (of “Gossip Girl”) talks about getting used to a long hair wig for the first time.
Romeo & Juliet (refer to my original review of the film for more details) looked amazing but I felt that the older actors and Douglas Booth did a more convincing job than Hailee as Juliet who seemed to be rushing through her lines and holding back emotion at times.
As far as matching the play, the film does so with a few exceptions so if you are reading it or will have to read it in school, the film is a great aid and well worth a watch. Douglas Booth is just gorgeous as are all the costumes and locations.
This Blu-ray’s extras are short but all informative and worth a watch. I would have loved a fun audio commentary over the film by Hailee and Douglas or a video “diary” on set by one of the young actors would have been very relatable. With the short but nice extras included, we give the Blu-ray 3 stars.
Romeo & Juliet Blu-ray Rating:
Romeo & Juliet is now available on Blu-ray & DVD!