BBC = Boring, Banal, Choppy

March 13, 2010 at 11:26 am (Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , , )

I want to watch all the BBC productions, so I went ahead and watched Romeo and Juliet even though I’d heard it was not that good. It lived up to my expectations. 

On the plus side, the language is Shakespearean. I noticed a few places where they skipped lines, but it seemed essentially to follow the text. I liked this version’s Mercutio (played by Anthony Andrews, who you might recognize from The Scarlet Pimpernel with Jane Seymour). I also liked this Capulet (Michael Hordern) and the Nurse (Celia Johnson) grew on me.

I watched this movie on my computer with Netflix’s instant play feature, and I have to admit two things. One is that I was constantly watching the ticker click down those two hours and 47 minutes. The ticker moved v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

My other admission—watching this one on the computer was a mistake. There are about a million things on the Internet more interesting than watching this film. For example, I found out that Gnomeo and Juliet is due out next year! Set in the world of warring indoor and outdoor gnomes! Can you believe it?! Well, I found reading that more compelling than watching the BBC production.

A basic problem for me with this version is that I never connected with the title characters. The actors playing Romeo (Patrick Ryecart) and Juliet (Rebecca Saire) just didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t believe or care about their love affair. They looked way too May-December for me, and of course, I had ample opportunity to look that up on the Internet while I was watching. Indeed, she was 14 while filming and he was 25. Beyond that, I found her a bit stiff and boring (I guess always comparing her in my mind to Olivia Hussey from the 1968 version).

Patrick Ryecart’s Romeo is bland and blah and beige. He’s actually BEIGE! I was a little fascinated by the monotone effect—his poofy, permed hair, his skin, clothes and bizarrely, his eyes are all shades of tan. And I guess I focused on this because his acting was so banal. He’s totally blank-faced as Mercutio lies bleeding to death in his arms. Blank. Then he freaks out on Tybalt.

Ahh, Tybalt. A revelation there! Tybalt was a Slytherin! Alan Rickman, well-known now as Professor Snape from the Harry Potter movies, plays Tybalt. What great casting for that part!

© All Content, Copyright 2010 by Blog Author, Or What You Will. All Rights Reserved.

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5 Comments

  1. The Beauty of Ballet « Or What You Will said,

    [...] are sumptuous. The dancing wonderful to watch. This video runs 2.5 hours, and unlike the lengthy BBC production, this one had my attention for the entire [...]

  2. Tue Sorensen said,

    Gnomeo and Juliet!! What a riot!! Can’t wait to see it! :-)

    Yeah, Anthony Andrews and Alan Rickman are about the only things to attract mild interest about the BBC version. It’s a terrible shame – a tragedy, to complete the irony – that generations of American high schoolers have had to sit through this particular version of this play… That can’t have done much for their Shakespeare appreciation…

    Fortunately, all the other BBC plays are better than this…

    Still, Rickman’s Tybalt is very bland here (and yes, I do believe that beige is the very color of bland) – when one has seen the Zeffirelli version, how is one ever to imagine Tybalt as anyone but a dark-haired Michael York?

    • orwhatyouwill said,

      I liked Andrews so much that I got the Scarlet Pimpernel to watch from Netflix tonight. I haven’t seen that in many, many years. :)

      Yeah, Rickman’s Tybalt is lackluster, but I found thinking about him as Snape helped me with the character. Now in my mind, Tybalt is a Slytherin! It helps me understand where he’s coming from. :)

      Ugh I hadn’t thought about all the high schoolers having to sit through this. Blah.

  3. BBC = Boisterous, Beautiful, Charming « Or What You Will said,

    [...] Television Shakespeare, fairies, Helen Mirren, Shakespeare, Shakespeare's comedies) I knew that Romeo and Juliet was probably the low ebb of the BBC Television Shakespeare series, so I am happy to report that [...]

  4. BBC = Gets the Job Done « Or What You Will said,

    [...] rendition, true to the text, and nothing odd (i.e., green fairies) or annoying (i.e. boring, beige people). There are no bicycles, no Keystone Kops, no surreal [...]

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