Tag Archives: Romeo and Juliet

Romeo Must Die

In what was considered Jet Li’s breakout American performance, I was a bit disappointed. (I personally though Lethal Weapon 4 really showcased a lot more skills…) The plot is just a crude, urban sampling from Romeo and Juliet. There were minimal stunt/fight scenes. Overall it wasn’t as action packed as the cover had led me to think. I guess I should’ve

An awkward couple?

expected half-assed amounts of martial arts from the director of Exit Wounds, Doom, and Street Fighter. Thanks a lot, Andrzej Bartkowiak…

Let’s just examine the plot to get a what bothers me about this movie. Two warring families. You have the Sing family, led by Ch’u Sing (Henry O). Then you have the black family led by Issak O’Day (Delroy Lindo. He’s that intelligent black man you see in a lot of films as a stock character actor. The smart version of Ving Rhames.) O’Day? What kind of last name is that for a black mafia family? And when have black gangs ever organized like the mafia in the first place? Weird…

This is the second time in a film I’ve seen a guy throwing a girl around…

So yes, I get the two warring families with Jet Li and Aaliyah in the middle. They don’t really love each other at first and you never get that onscreen chemistry from them. Never even a kiss. Just a hug. What I find weird is that they shot the kiss scene (that could’ve been placed anywhere in the film) and they chose to cut it out. Racist anyone? The screeners said it was awkward… Hmm…

Anyways, Jet Li is Han Sing, escaped from a high security prison in Hong Kong. He creatively escapes during one of the cooler fight scenes in the film, but how does he escape the country and make it all the way to Oakland? There is a real lack of police interference in this movie… Aaliyah is a beautiful young actress who (after watching this and The Queen of the Damned) really was taken too quickly from the

It’s all about the shades for Wong.

silver screen. She wasn’t like other R&B actresses onscreen who kinda flaunted their sex appeal. She came across as the cute girl next door you could believe and fall in love with. (Not so much in The Queen of the Damned, but just as good in that movie too.)

A beautiful and tragic young actress.

So Jet Li makes it to Oakland to discover something fishy going on with his father’s gang enterprise. His brother Po (Jon Kit Lee) has been murdered and Han Sing is on the case to find out what happened. (He used to be a police officer. Jackie Chan anyone?) The two star crossed lovers meet (if you can call them lovers) and their families war around them. With some betrayal and only the slightest bit of martial arts, this movie comes to its conclusion: happy ending.

But it wasn’t such a good ride to the happy end. Coming from a 2000 film, the ghetto speak was tired and old. If I had watched it when it had came out, I might be saying something different. But all the dawg’s and yo’s really wore on me… especially when the Chinese gangs used that slang, AND if showed up in

Some of that minimal martial arts.

their subtitle translations for some strange reason… I don’t think they have that kind of slang in the Chinese language…

And how racist this film was! It wasn’t just the speech, it was the music. Sure you have an all star cast doing the R&B hits for all the black gang scenes, but when it comes to cutting over to a scene with Jet Li or someone in the Asian gang, classical oriental music. The clangs and bows of what every person in America hears when they go into a Panda Express. There couldn’t be an infusion or anything more original for both gangs? This movie just seemed like a compare and contrast of races. The only crossover was that some black gang members miraculously knew proper Karate/Wushu form for no reason. Fancy that…

Get your head around that…

The acting was fine and I had no major complaints about that. But for some reason, and I don’t know how to put it into words, Anthony Anderson (co-star of some of the Scary Movies… and Kangaroo Jack…) just rubbed me the wrong way. He wasn’t funny, and seeing him get his ass handed to him by Jet Li just seemed satisfying… Overall though, the whole movie put me in a sour mood. I’ve seen better from Jet Li. This movie is one of those Asian/American films that takes the whole action/martial arts thing for granted. It sickened me a little bit. It was just too dated for me. They should’ve changed the title too… Romeo Must Die? More like A Vague Racist Action Movie About Building A Football Dome. There you go, all fixed. 4.3 out of 10.

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Gnomeo & Juliet

This cute little film filled with British actors takes a new look at the story of Romeo and Juliet and uses a British topic of interest. Garden gnomes. (Not sure if a lo of Brits have these, but it’d be interesting to see some U.K. gardens.) I watched this with my mom (U.K. T.V. analyst and fellow blogger) mostly for James McAvoy’s voice talents. We’re both fans, but for slightly different reasons. (Not really though, he is pretty dreamy.) This tragic William Shakespeare story is turned on its head (as the poster suggests) with a cute plot device using warring gardens who happen to be owned by Miss Montague (Julie Walters, good old Mrs. Weasley) of the “Blue”burys and Mr. Capulet (Richard Wilson) of the “Red”bricks.

Set apart from typical Pixar and Dreamworks films, this film takes its own approach to animation in the 3-D. Although

McEvoy and Blunt as the disguised Gnomeo and Juliet

Touchstone and Miramax do good animated films, this British touch to the way things looked was refreshing, at the same time that it seemed a bit off in its sharpness and cutting edge-i-ness. But it’s all the same to me these days, what with all these mass amounts of animal infested, fantastical adventures films made for kids and adults in 3-D animation. (I would recommend Rio though, it was quite a cast and story.) But the story stands out in comparison to the lack of pizzazz in the animation, and gave it some credibility.

Warring gardens with love in the mix.

So as expected, the story follows quite closely to the original Romeo and Juliet plot line. (Less death unfortunately.) The warring families led by Lord Rebrick (Michael Caine) who’s Juliet’s (Emily Blunt) father and Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith) who’s Gnomeo’s (James McAvoy) mother despise each other for reasons that seem a bit hazy. The real test between the families is whose garden is superior. One night, in order to impress her father, Juliet sneaks out of the garden in order to retrieve a beautiful flower to spruce up the garden. Surprise, surprise, Gnomeo sneaks out as well for some mischief. The two cross paths, sparks fly, and their love is forever fated.

But oh the problems that ensue. One’s red and the other’s blue! What will they do? Their love is forbidden and they may only meet in secrecy. And there must be some conflict that arises when their love is discovered! And yes, there is. This version doesn’t disappoint and how could it? True British actors are tackling a fellow countryman’s play.

Now let’s talk about the cast. I was quite surprised at the acting chops associated with this film, and every last one a Brit! Of course there’s the two star-crossed

Sorry Jim Cummings you just missed the mark.

lovers, James McAvoy and Emily Blunt as Gnomeo and Juliet. Maggie Smith and Michael Caine lend their voices to their parents as some veterans of the BBC business. Also, and more unexpectedly, Jason Statham is featured in this film as Tybalt the red menace of the Montague house. I was really surprised to discover this after a few Transporter lines were delivered. I just can’t seem to grip the idea that Jason Statham is British! Matt Lucas, the good old Little Britains sketch comedy genius of the hairless kind lends a generically comedic voice to Benny, Gnomeo’s number 2. Even Patrick Stewart (Will Shakes himself) and OZZY OSBOURNE himself lends his voice to this film, as a ceramic fawn!

Thanks to this British cast for the cute film!

The only miss in this film is Jim Cummings as the pink flamingo garden ornament. His annoying attempt at some sort of foreign bird just loses it for me, because, to put it bluntly, didn’t deliver a funny line. This is quite disappointing as Jim Cummings has been in the Disney voice business since the early 90’s.

But all in all, this cute film about what our gardens hold delivers a nice little escape from reality for 75 minutes. With the occasional grown up joke and slapstick comedy, mixed with witty uses of the gnomes and what they’d be like if they could move (Toy Story style), this movie delivers a bit of entertainment worth a watch if you’re into British accents or children’s love/comedy/adventure films. 6 out of 10.

AND DID I MENTION THAT THE FILMED IS FUELED BY A ELTON JOHN SCORE AND SOUNDTRACK?!?!?


RomeoxJuliet: Neo Style

And yet I keep coming back. I know I’ve been gone for a short while, but those college finals are creepin’ up on me. But I’m here for yet another anime review, and this time, it’s academically related.

So this time in Anime Club, we watched RomeoxJuliet, the slightly altered fantasy version of the classic Shakespearean teen angst play, Romeo and Juliet (not much of a title change). But this time, it’s different. No spoilers (already had it ruined for me before I saw the ending) but it’s not as different as you’d think. Slightly different. Okay, kind of a major plot twist ending. And yet, still romantic and tragic. Yeah…

So this is the story of Juliet “Insert ridiculously long middle name here” Capulet, the remaining member of her noble family who were wiped out 14

Juliet. More manly/aggressive.

years ago by the evil Montagues. It was a good thing she had Conrad (who was only a badass in his earlier years. Now he looks like a whiny old coot.) or else she may not have survived, thus, no need for this anime. But anyways, now her and her family’s followers are out for revenge. But for the first 5 episodes or so, she doesn’t know she’s of royal descent. But yeah, of course that changes her and gives her a bit more of an edge and a chip on her shoulder. It’s expected.

But what does she do before she learns this sworn hatred of the ruling Montague family? She falls madly and irrevocably in love with the son of that

Romeo. Pansy.

evil bastard, Romeo Montague. I feel like it was a love based on herbology, but that’s for another review. Just know: irises. So this complicates things. OH, AND DID I FORGET TO MENTION? They have been passing off Juliet as a boy for the last 14 years of her life. She’s been Odin, knowing she was a girl, but she never knew why. Now she does. And now, Romeo is sexually confused. Add that little twist to your lemonade why don’t you.

So the rest of this little Twilight romance (yes, there are references) is played out in Neo Verona, a floating island above God knows what and it’s falling apart. That’s cool. But these little lovebirds must decide what’s more important, love/angst or their families, and we all know how that one goes. But it’s a great twist and quite worth a look see.

Great supporting cast.

Things I liked. The use of other characters from other plays. If only in name, this was a great tribute to Shakespeare, and, being in a Shakespeare class now, I can appreciate the sentiment. Again, I also liked this anime because it didn’t follow the exact plot of Romeo and Juliet. It used the new additions and twists to carry along a well told out story to a new end. Quite interesting if I do say so myself. Looking back on the list of voice actors, I wish I had watched this dubbed and not subbed. J. Michael Tatum as William “Willy” Shakespeare? Thanks very much I’ll take that.

The animation/art was quite good and the plot was ripe for the homages. The ending reminded me of Xam’d untimely end, but I think that’s the only reason I liked it. Otherwise the ending was terrible. The explanation, the random use of the tree of life… I was a little thrown off by how out of place it all was and why any of it was relevant. You have this nice little Romeo and Juliet plot zooming along and then you throw that tree/world wrench in there. Completely unnecessary. Other means to end the anime would have been appreciated.

Other than that, quite a good show. The story empowered Juliet instead of making some damsel in distress out of her, and it actually turned the story around completely. It made Romeo into the princess in the tower and quite

How cute. He's "watching" her from afar.

the whiny, unlikeable counterpart to Juliet. It took a while, but he came into his own. Tybalt destroyed people, I loved the Curio/Francisco (Eric Vale, by the way) dynamic, and it was all good (sort of) in the end. If you’re a Romeo and Juliet fan, or a Shakespeare fan in general, check this out, it’s worth the watch/twist. 6.8 out of 10.

Did I mention this anime ruined Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” forever. Well, it sorta did. But here it is all the same.