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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 53:26)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Animated menus

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 115 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Baz Luhrmann’s (director of Strictly Ballroom and Moulin Rouge) adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic story has been mixed with a modern day society with guns and drugs but still using the Elizabethan English.

This story has come along way since Shakespeare’s day. When it was originally performed a man played the beautiful Juliet, as women were not allowed to act. It’s definitely a good thing that Claire Danes has come along and those rules have changed! The story has been made into many film and stage versions, including a ballet, and the story was even traced in the film Shakespeare In Love. The tragic story of the two lovers is one that is known by nearly everyone, and is commonly studied in schools along with other Shakespeare plays such as Twelfth Night and Hamlet. Back in Shakespeare’s era his plays were always entertaining whether it be comedy or tragedy and even now in the 21st century his works still remain popular.

"Two households both alike in dignity in fair Verona where we lay our scene"

Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes played the “star-crossed lovers” Romeo and Juliet who come from two different households who are each others enemy, Montegue and Capulet. But it is love at first sight for these two lovers who are pressured into choices between their love for one another or their families’ dignity and name.

  Video
Contract

The video is simply stunning, being framed in a widescreen aspect of 2.35:1 and being 16x9 enhanced. Right from the very start of the feature, the image is clear and sharp, and it stays like this for the remainder of the film. The shadow detail is very high, with solid blacks and well-defined shapes. The fleshtones are realistic all the way throughout the feature and fit in against the bright backgrounds.

The colours are very rich, bright and bold, with no bleeding whatsoever. There is very minor film grain present and minimal film artefacts, but nothing that is distracting from the film. But most surprisingly, there are no MPEG artefacts. There is some very fast editing and frame rates that Luhrmann has used which have all come up brilliantly on the DVD, with every frame being captured and compressed superbly.

The layer change occurs at 53:26 which is very neat, but right in the middle of the Pool scene. However this doesn’t distract away from the feature, but the pause is noticeable.

  Audio
Contract

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is just a delight to listen to. There is constantly activity from all the speakers, with the subwoofer often joining in to accompany the music or action sequences. The dialogue is clear throughout the feature, and comes from the centre speaker only. The front Left and Right and Rear Left and Right speakers are used primarily for effects and music, and no dialogue. The sound stage is constantly busy with something flying around or passing by to fit in with the fast editing. The opening sequence really shows off your sound system, with a huge build up that leads to an introduction with loads of subwoofer action.

The up-beat soundtrack really rocks the speakers and adds so much to the visuals on the screen. There are no audio sync problems, but at some points the dialogue may be lost slightly behind the action sequences, but is part of the film NOT a fault in the transfer.

  Extras
Contract

As an earlier disc from 20th Century Fox, there are minimal extras. There is a Theatrical Trailer for the film which runs for just over 2 minutes and is in the ratio of 1.85:1 being 16x9 enhanced and with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

The menus are very beautiful to look at, with some slow bubbles rising on the screen. The buttons are very large with a clear highlighter which makes the disc navigation a breeze.

  Overall  
Contract

Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of the classic love story is an entertaining 2 hours of fast-paced editing with a solid cast and soundtrack which is boasted on a superb DVD. The picture quality is so high, and the Dolby Digital audio track just ties in superbly with the visuals. After studying Shakespeare for a few years at school, the Elizabethan English is easily understood – but if you are not used to the language, some portions may become double Dutch. But don’t let that discourage you. This classic love story is portrayed on a superb DVD which you simply must own.


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      And I quote...
    "Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of the classic love story is an entertaining 2 hours of fast-paced editing"
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nowa DS-8318
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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