Valentine’s Marathon: Romeo & Juliet (2013)

Next up in the Valentine’s Marathon is a tale really as old as time and probably one of the first Shakespeare plays I had to read in school but super renowned and adapted a ton of times and that is Romeo & Juliet. This version is the 2013 one with Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth.

Let’s check it out!

Romeo & Juliet (2013)

Romeo and Juliet 2013

Director: Carlo Carlei

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Ed Westwick, Christian Cooke

Romeo and Juliet secretly wed despite the sworn contempt their families hold for each other. It is not long, however, before a chain of fateful events changes the lives of both families forever.-IMDB

 Its always hard to review Romeo and Juliet adaptations. We all know how the story will go and the tragic fate of these lovers. It becomes even harder each time to feel moved by the characters and the story somehow because of that familiarity. I’m not sure if this is the most recent movie adaptation but I think so with these young stars playing the popular roles. In reality, it feels like quite the task and one that I’d eventually like to do to talk about the play and all adaptations (or as many as I have access to). Maybe I’ll give that a go one day. However, we’re here to look at this adaptation and to be fair, it was fine. There were some familiar faces, some good performances, the set was pretty decent and so were the costumes. I’m not a Shakespeare extreme connoisseur so I don’t know the play front and back. It been a long time since I’ve read it but from what I remember, its seems pretty close (if not the same) in dialogue.  However, something seems missing which I can’t quite pinpoint so maybe as I write this out, I’ll figure it out.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet are played respectively by Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld.  I haven’t seen a lot of Hailee Steinfeld but I have seen Douglas Booth in few of his previous roles, probably the one I remember most is LOL and Jupiter Ascending (review HERE). To step into Romeo and Juliet is a big task (like I mentioned before), there was to be passion and believability in their roles. Perhaps one of the things I didn’t quite feel was their connection. Sure, they were passionate in their lines and I could see it working but when they were together, something just didn’t click. Although, I feel that it progressed a little fast also. I get that its supposed to be a few days of events like most Romeo and Juliet movies are set in but it took two seconds to jump to seeing each other, dancing and then going to to the back and kissing. I never felt like other Romeo and Juliet movies progressed the love arc that fast for them and maybe its why those movies had a more impactful performance. Oh, and I actually did like Hailee Steinfeld’s performance. I feel that she has potential to do more and that’s where I think I probably should check out The Edge of Seventeen from last year.

Romeo and Juliet 2013

Talking about the Montague boys now, we’ve already discussed Romeo as the lover boy but possibly a great bromance trio goes to these guys who felt naturally good together. Somehow they worked well in showing their different personalities of Mercutio, Romeo and Benvolio. It was easy to believe that they all held different views of the rivalry between the Montague and the Capulets but also that they each also had different values. Mercutio is played by Christian Cooke, who is a familiar face and I liked him in the role. However, I love Kodi Smit-McPhee ever since I saw him in Let Me In (review HERE). This guy has some really great acting chops. He did a great job at Benvolio even if it was just a supporting role.

Romeo and Juliet 2013

The Capulets are much more individual but also has a lot more screen time. We have Tybalt, played by Ed Westwick who is incredibly known to me as Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl and I loved his character there. Ed Westwick does have some good acting and in the right roles, he can do quite a bit. As Tybalt, he really just does the cocky guy with a ton of anger issues who has incredible hate for Montagues who can barely keep his actions in control. Plus, he does a whole lot of odd grunting angry voices and always has a grimace, which I get is in character but something about his character felt a little overacted perhaps. I can’t say that its his best performance in my book. The other part of the Capulets is Damien Lewis as Lord Capulet. I honestly haven’t had much contact with Damien Lewis but he seems like a really powerful actor because Lord Capulet’s role really carried especially when he was having the whole scene with Juliet and making his point clear of her marrying Count Paris. That was a fantastic scene.

Overall, Romeo and Juliet in this 2013 adaptation was okay. It probably won’t be memorable but its not horrible either. The pacing of the script could probably use some work to help make us care more about Romeo and Juliet especially when everyone already knows how this all works out and pretty much knows what to expect. There are some decent performances that I haven’t even mentioned other than Hailee Steinfeld, Damien Lewis and Kodi Smit-McPhee but also we have Paul Giamatti who plays as the Friar and as always, he does a nice job in the supporting role. Its hard to not compare Romeo and Juliet adaptations to each other especially since there’s already been so many but here’s my shot at it.

Have you seen this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet? Which adaptation is your favorite?

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Book Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

My Goodreads Review: Warms Bodies is a love story.  Something like zombie version of Romeo and Juliet where its forbidden love.  One because the main character R is a zombie.  We read this book in his perception.  The things he observes and how he progresses.  How he views Julie, the girl that he gets drawn to.  Its not that I didn’t like this book.  I actually enjoyed it and made me wonder what would happen next in tense moments.  These tense moments helped me forget about the questions revolving around the foundation of this story.  It felt like there were consistencies in R being the narrator of this, that sometimes would bother me.  When I did turn off those questions, the story turned out to be quite compelling. Overall, shut off your brain and what you have been exposed to as a zombie and read this book. You will find some enjoyment in Marion’s imaginary world.  

warm bodiesWarm Bodies by Isaac Marion is a zombie love story.  Its set in a world where there is really nothing left.  War and other global crisis has caused the world to deteriorate.  All that is left is a small group of humans trying to stay alive among a world infested by a plague.  In this location, its set where they live in a Stadium and have different areas of their “army” to keep everyone safe, fed and alive from the zombies that now walk the land in different areas. The zombies live in their different hives along with Boneys which are fully deteriorated corpses: skeletons.  They have a control over them.  We get introduced to “R” who is a zombie.  He doesn’t remember his past but he also dislikes being called a zombie although he has no feelings and senses.  He does have a best friend, “M” and they carry on broken conversations here and there.  Most other zombies just groan and stare.  One day, when they go into the city to look for food:(humans to feed on), they run into a group of people. R ends up killing a young soldier, Perry, and when he eats his brain, he dives into his memories.  There he sees the life of Perry and his girlfriend Julie.  After he stops seeing those snippets from that bite, he sees Julie getting attacked and he saves  and abducts her to the abandoned airport where his hive is.  During this time with Julie, they learn more about each other and slowly R develops more skills in talking and eventually, an increasing ability to feel emotions.  When something happens and Julie decides to leave, R accompanies her to protect her.  Along the way, to protect him from her father she leaves him behind.  In desperation, R goes after her with the help of M, who had helped them escape the airport.  R then disguises as a human and walks into the stadium to find Julie.  Their reunion brings on something that changes everyone around them.

If I could use one word to describe this book, it’d use the word: bizarre.  Its a new way to see the world of zombies.  Zombies are the walking dead, but point is, they are dead.  Their hearts have stopped, they don’t breathe, they don’t eat except for human flesh.  All this is because of a plague.  So that means they can cure it.  They can revive the dead or at least thats the goal, right?

This book is first person narration by the main character R.  He is a zombie but sometimes, I feel like being the description that Marion first gives of him is that he doesn’t have feelings and he doesn’t know who he is or what he is.  But then, there are also contradictions in my mind.  Because he knows how to describe that ingesting food tastes like Styrofoam.  But how does he know what styrofoam is? He knows how to listen to music and work a record player and he can talk broken words.  On top of that, he seemed to know all this before he met Julie, who is supposedly the spark that starts the whole zombie revolution or is it evolution? Somehow in this world, the Boneys are super intelligent dead who somehow understand the concept of having a church, of marriage, and of educating the younger zombies.  To me, that’s bizarre.  The dead can barely talk and most of them have no idea what they are doing except for the instinctive urges they get to feed, but somehow they know how to do this.  They care about preserving the plague the way it is and keep the zombies as they are.

Pretty much, what I’m saying is that, when I was able to tuck away all the logical questions my brain kept firing out at the beginning, it was an enjoyable story.  It is a unique concept and its pretty good one also.  You just have to be able to buy that love can conquer all.  That it can help revive your soul.  I really tried to keep this not too revealing of the story.  There is a really weird twist that I won’t mention but it does give this story a bit more reason as it progresses.  I do recommend reading this because it is a very different from the zombie story we have seen in movies(or maybe even books but this is the first zombie book I’ve ever read so I can’t really comment).

Have you read this? Heard of it? How about the movie coming out in February (I think)? Will you go to see it?