Romeo and Juliet, written by some dude named Shakespeare (from my in-depth research for writing this article, I’ve discovered that this Shakespeare cat was actually a guy named Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, according to a 2011 movie by Roland Emmerich), has been adapted for the big screen so many times, it actually has its own Wikipedia page describing them all.
The 1968 version directed by Franco Zeffirelli is probably the best known, followed by the ultra-zany 1996 version from director Baz Luhrmann (where he replaced the “and” with a “+”), but there are countless others for those who just can get enough of these two naive and, frankly, stupid teenagers who thought they were in love because they couldn’t get their raging hormones under control.
For those who have been turned off by the complex sentence structure in Shakespeare’s writing, there are plenty of films that draw their inspiration from it, including West Side Story, Romeo Must Die, Tromeo and Juliet, Warm Bodies, and High School Musical. A personal favorite is the animated 1979 Romie-0 and Julie-8, about two androids from rival robotics firms who fall in love (you can watch this masterpiece of animation right here – no need to thank me).
With all that said, do we need a new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet? Well, nobody cares what you think anyway, as long as the masses pay the ticket price to see it and high school English teachers purchase the DVD to show their classes. Either way, frankly, it’s been quite some time since a traditional take on the story has been made.
I don’t really have much interest in the movie itself, but I am extremely interested in seeing Hailee Steinfeld in her first role since True Grit, in which she gave an astonishing performance which secured her an Oscar nomination. The rest of the cast is worth noting also: Paul Giamatti, Stellan Skarsgård, Damian Lewis, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Natascha McElhone, and plenty of young fresh faces round it out.
So while I have very little interest in a story that I’ve seen played out over and over and over (and I think the 1968 version holds up very well), I am eager to see Steinfeld back on the screen. By the looks of the trailer, she will continue to impress.
The movie hit theaters on July 26, 2013 in the UK with a September 6, 2013 release in the states.
Which version of this classic tale of young and dumb love is your favorite? Are you looking forward to this new version?
Jonathan is a writer and teacher constantly in pursuit of his fortune and glory. In the meantime, he graciously volunteers his genius to the internet, providing his insight on cinema and showering lessons of life upon all of those who stumble into the third row.