William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet VHS
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See the movie presented in its original theatrical form. It can be viewed in widescreen with audio digitally remastered for superior sound and picture quality. It is a brilliant contemporary retelling of history's most tragic love affair. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
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Di'Caprio wasn't very famous at that point (though I believe he'd already been nominated for an oscar for an indy film). Later that night, I had dinner with friends and predicted that this boy would become the biggest star in Hollywood -- by tomorrow! I was off by a couple of years. Rare in film history has there been such a perfect casting -- Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo. The mythical balcony scene is freshly designed and executed wonderfully, bringing the myth to life before our eyes. But the crowning glory and superpower of this film is the 'love at first sight' scene - ironic in that there are no words spoken (words being Shakespeare's superpower). It's all done with the eyes by the two young genius actors, combined with inspired camera work and the devastating vocal performance of Des'ree. This is one of the most beautiful, greatest, and most powerful scenes in cinematic history.
What is this emotion -- love at first sight? It might only happen two or three times in our entire lives. It isn't real love. So is it just trivial, adolescent silliness? I think it is much more than that -- and so did Shakespeare. What is our emotional relationship with our desires that can never be? We're haunted forever by the impossiblity of perfect love as much as we were ever thrilled by the fantasy of it. Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo & Juliet' taps deeply into the impossible longings that never leave us. It is a masterpiece.
My DVD did not look like the photo (the cover is a bit different, although it does say "Music Edition") but I bought it for the movie and not for the cover. If you are a fan of this version of the movie and you don't have the music edition, you need this one. If you're just a Romeo and Juliet fan and have (gasp!) never seen this 1996 version, go ahead and take a chance. You'll love it.
Only one complaint - the subtitles for the balcony scene added a comma in the most important line: Wherefore art thou Romeo? (They say, "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?") Wherefore means WHY, not WHERE. I hammered that into my students and here came the subtitles to undermine me.
Other than that, a pretty perfect movie to use as a first-time exposure to Shakespeare.
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I'm extremely happy to pick up this blue ray for 5 bucks!!!