Romeo and Juliet is a classic tale that’s been told in more ways than most people realize, and in many ways that people do. When the newest version came out in October, it didn’t do so well at the box office. Was it that the movie itself wasn’t good or are people simply sick of seeing the same story over and over again? The Daily Quirk writers Katherine and Holly each explore their views below. Who do you agree with?
When Julian Fellowes, creator of the wildly popular Downton Abbey, released his adaptation of the classic Shakespearean love story Romeo & Juliet, I wanted to cry. Not in the “Oh, my heart breaks for their tragic love!” way, but rather in the “Oh, why can’t Hollywood come up with something new?” way.
Seriously, if you type “Romeo & Juliet” into the IMDB search bar, you’re liable to be reading the seemingly endless list of adaptations for the next six hours. Which leads me to ask the question, haven’t we had enough?
There are only so many ways to retell the tale of two teenagers who took an act of rebellion and misguided love way too far. The modern twist has been taken care of (Romeo + Juliet), the English class version (Romeo & Juliet…note the incredibly important difference between the two titles) is stocked in every high school and now Fellowes has brought us a modern version that looks old but doesn’t sound old so we might know what’s actually being said with out a degree in Shakespearean dialect. How’s that for a long-winded sentence, William?
My point is, the story’s gotten old. It’s tired and worn out, and no matter how “romantic” the tale may be, it still ends the same. So do we really need to keep spending money on making another version? I think not.
A few months ago, when I first heard that Hailee Steinfeld and Douglass Booth would be appearing as Romeo and Juliet, I was a little skeptical. There have certainly been plenty of adaptations done already, did we really need another that was just not-quite-right? What got me though, was when I learned that Julian Fellowes was the screenwriter and one of the producers. Based on his success with Downton Abbey, certainly he could be trusted with a period piece version of the classic story!
I admit that between the Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann versions, the story is pretty covered, but I also think that Zeffirelli’s film is lacking and outdated. Luhrmann did a great job giving us something fun and flashy, and it’s definitely more true to the original text than any other popular adaptation, but there’s something about having the story told in the same setting as it was written that adds just a little bit more to it.
I think that this newest version would be spot on with both dialogue and setting. There was just one problem.
Plenty of money was spent to make the film, and then no one new about it. I was totally stoked for it, yet I didn’t realize that it was playing only at a smaller theatre 2 blocks from me until the last couple of days it was showing. The title was clearly not enough to pull people in, far more people needed to know that this movie existed. I hope to find out when the DVD is released that it’s as good as I expected and pulls the best of both popular versions into one ultimate resource for the classic tale.
Do you agree with Katherine or Holly? Do you have another take on it? Let us know in the comments!