ROMEO AND JULIET Yet another adaptation of the Shakespearean classic hit the silver screens but did it give the most tragic love story ever told justice? REVIEW BY CINDY HERNANDEZ
It’s been years since I last read this tragedy; a couple of years since I watched the latest cartoon version; yet I can confide in you that there are better, more poetic interpretations of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” than Carlo Carlei’s film. Unfortunately, the writer for “Downtown Abbey,” Julian Fellowes, also conspired against the bard’s well-known play, by writing this dull, poetry-killing script.
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Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy written over four hundred years ago. The play follows: Romeo, the young lad who falls in love, to a fault, with anything that is beautiful and moving; Juliet, his future love, and the daughter of his family’s sworn enemy; and a cast of supporting characters who relieve the serious moments with their comical tendencies.
Carlei’s film begins with Tybalt and Mercutio entering the stage on horseback during a jousting competition. In the background we hear the chorus reciting word for word what we’ve all read as the beginning of this drama. From that point on, everything rushes to set the stage, and introduce viewers to the overindulgent strife between the Capulets and Montagues. Fellowes has Mercutio win the joust, which further emphasizes the hate between these two families--to make matters simpler, he writes Mercutio as a Montague, and thus the rewriting of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays begins.
Soon afterwards, Fellowes dares to scratch complete acts from the play in the film, rushing Romeo’s infatuation with Rosalind, and quickly thrusting him upon Juliet with minimal delay--Romeo quickly approaches Juliet at her house’s party and they start dancing. As they dance, we see Tybalt’s growing anger, an anger that later appears to be a mere act of bravado, turning this brute of a villain into a coward, but more of that later on. Eventually, Romeo and Juliet find themselves alone, and they recite word for word their dialogue, the original verse that Shakespeare deemed appropriate upon their first meeting. Soon thereafter, we realize this conversation is one of the few aspects of the original play that are not slaughtered by Fellowes. It is understandable that Carlei and Fellowes are trying to introduce a new generation to an old tale, whose dialogue does not follow contemporary phrases, but do they really need to change beautiful verse and muddle it by destroying metaphors, by omitting certain facts, and by mixing Shakespeare’s English with contemporary phrases? What right does Fellowes have to change Juliet’s line, “Thy lips are warm” (on Romeo’s deathbed) to, “Your mouth is warm”? Apart from the change of dialogue, Fellowes wants to change the storyline so much that he makes Tybalt a coward. Instead of Tybalt daring Romeo to attack him--moments after he’s
Published on Oct 26, 2013
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