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recently one night a young director named baz luhrmann couldn't sleep .
he tumbled out of bed and moved over to the television where he watched mtv for an hour .
then he moved to his kitchen where he spent the same amount of time eating spoiled food .
then he took down a volume of shakespeare's work and read it cover to cover - never really paying attention to the words or plot .
and then , as a climax , he took out his video camera and pressed the " on " button .
the result ?
william shakespeare's romeo + juliet - the worst film ever made and a complete failure .
though , to be fair , an interesting complete failure .
the idea at the film's core is to make shakespeare appealing to the crowds .
this is done by moving the camera around at a rapid rate so that we can't see what is going on .
and filming the dialogue in voice over .
and shooting leonardo dicaprio like a calvin klein model .
and making the frame go still while flashing the character's name at the bottom .
and filming long tedious action sequences in slow motion .
i mean , man , this is the 90s , dude .
however i've seen terrible films that are fun to watch .
( examples are batman and robin and the island of doctor moreau .
) that rule doesn't apply here .
this is a film that takes itself seriously .
that is it's major fault .
another problem was pointed out by my friend , alex ( who was singing songs by leonard bernstein throughout .
) ; the original play is a powerful piece of work because the author remained neutral and didn't take sides .
here it's clear that we are supposed to side with romeo .
( just look at the way they film him .
) from the begining he's our hero and this doesn't work .
and dicaprio's awful performance doesn't help .
luhrmann never decides if he wants to entertain us or enlighten us .
the result is a mess .
you can feel him striving to be something he isn't .
he tries to pull of a mix in which drag queens are filmed from purposefully arty angles .
he tries very hard .
key word : tries .
" oh look , he's filming above water action from below .
pretty .
what does it represent ? "
why do people do ugly things ?
i scrambled away from my tv set feeling guilty as if i could never read the play again and keep a straight face .
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