..

ROMEO & JULIET

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Ann Hasson, Christopher Neame, David Robb, Clive Swift
Director: Joan Kemp-Welch
Video: 1.33:1 Standard FullScreen
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Studio: A&E
Features:  See Review
Length: 186 Minutes
Release Date: June 28, 2005

Film ***

Chastity’s Cliff Notes: the Shakespeare version!

Romeo & Juliet opening dialogue:

Two households, both alike in dignity (They are both stinking rich!)

In Fair Verona, where we lay our scene, (They live in Verona, two miles west of Beverly Hills!)

From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, (See, these two families don’t get along, and it’s because of something that happened a long time ago!)

Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. (When someone from one rich family kills someone from the other rich family, it’s not good for the hands!)

Ah, Shakespeare! I thought I would never be able to understand his writings.  Then a few years ago, Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio took a spin in Shakespeare land, and I finally caught a clue.  Don’t ask me why, but it took two modern people speaking his language for me to get it.

Sure, I understood what the premise of Romeo & Juliet was.  However, my comprehension of his text was on the same level as say, a toddler eating sand.  Uhm, now that I have thoroughly embarrassed myself, on with the review...

Romeo & Juliet is a timeless tale that has been performed on a stage, as a musical, on the big screen, and now it is available to the masses thanks to A&E on DVD. 

I have to say that this interpretation of Shakespeare’s legendary story, is both moving, and inspiring.  No matter the format, the story is still the same each time it arrives.  We have two families, the Montagues, and Capulets.  The families are at war with each other, for reasons that are never shared with the viewer. 

Their children, handsome Romeo, and the fair Juliet, are caught in the middle of their families' hatred of each other, and their endless love for one another.  It’s a beautiful love story, with a desperate and tragic ending. 

I was truly impressed with the beautiful sets and colorful costumes that accompany this incarnation of Romeo & Juliet.  This interpretation of Shakespeare’s work has definitely benefited by a transfer to DVD!

Ann Hasson is absolutely beautiful.  She was able to take the part of Juliet and make it fresh and new for me, which is something that I didn’t think was possible.  The youthful exuberance of her Romeo, played by Christopher Neame dramatically enhanced my enjoyment of this version of Romeo & Juliet. 

Both actors, along with their supporting cast, brought passion and life to a story that has to some degree been overused.   I realize this version was produced back in 1976, but for me it’s fresh and new on DVD.

Romeo O Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo…He hopped the DVD train toots, so all aboard, and get ready to enjoy!

Video ***

With a little bit of forgiveness and some patience I found myself quite pleased with this DVD presentation of Romeo & Juliet.  

Obviously not filmed with the digital age in mind, this print has stood up remarkably well. The 1.33:1 Standard FullScreen formatting worked in favor of this presentation. There was some dirt and graininess visible, but otherwise a fairly clean print, with nice colors. 

Audio **

Audio quality is subjective, depending on the type of system you have, and how well you’ve cleaned your ears out prior to pushing the play button. 

I’m happy to say Romeo & Juliet never sounded better.  The audio levels remained constant throughout, with little to no dropouts.

The mix was nice, and who doesn’t love classical music…well, okay, not everyone does, but they should!

Features *

Alas, Romeo & Juliet’s extra features are less than poetic…

There is an entertaining featurette titled, Romeo & Juliet – A Family Feud.  Cast biographies, along with the director's, are included as well.   A Midsummer Nights Dream will get you further than these features.

Summary:

This mini-series contains some very nice video, and a timeless story that old and young alike will enjoy.  While I would have liked more extras the over all production quality definitely makes this worth watching.  Why hast thou as yet not purchased Romeo & Juliet on DVD?

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com