There’s a new trailer up for the Hailee Steinfeld Romeo & Juliet movie, and I was very excited to see it. I’m of the believe that that DiCaprio Romeo + Juliet movie may not have been high art, but was an important step in bringing Shakespeare to young “MTV” audiences. So when I saw the trailer posted by MTV News I had high hopes.
There’s a soundtrack, and it’s a cool trailer, I’ll give it that.
But … oh, oh god. It’s not Shakespeare. They just went ahead and wrote their own dialogue.
Let’s play a game. Watch the trailer, and mark two points – the first time you hear dialogue that is so very clearly NOT Shakespeare that you can’t stand it … and the point at which you hear so much of it you can’t watch anymore.
For me the first time is the bit at the ball where somebody says, “The Capulets and Montagues are mortal enemies!”
REALLY? What genius script writer felt the need to add that little bit of exposition? Show me don’t tell me, isn’t that what they teach in writing 101?
As for the second, my finger was hovering over the STOP (for the love of god, STOP!) button when Tybalt shows up, uttering such Shakespearean classics as, “Don’t let that name be spoken in this house!” and my favorite, which I knew was coming from an earlier trailer, “Come settle with me, boy!”
But out of my love for Shakespeare and for you my loyal geeks, I had my coworkers tie me to down to the armrests of my chair and forced myself to watch through to the end.
The trailer ends with Hailee doing a voiceover of the “Give me my Romeo” speech that just sticks a fork in the entire thing, because it’s just plain bad. It sounds like somebody handed her a complete works (perhaps the No Sweat version) and told her, “Read this.”
Am I overreacting? Will we be talking about this one 20 years later like we do with Luhrman’s version? Maybe by then at least Hailee Steinfeld will be old enough that I won’t look at her like a babyfaced child when she flops herself down on the bed under Romeo. Ewww.