TROMEO AND JULIET (BLU-RAY)
Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
A retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet the way only Troma could do it: with crushed heads, penis monsters, and lesbian sex.
Is it good movie?
Shakespeare is spinning in his grave somewhere over this film, (or Bacon, or whomever you personally believe wrote the famous plays). In Troma’s version, the Caps and Ques are transplanted into modern-day NYC, and they’re generally pierced, tattooed, thuggish louts. They’ve been feuding for so long that most of the family don’t even know why anymore. Which of course does not stop them from chopping each other’s limbs off, bashing each other’s heads in, and in one memorable scene even peeing on each other.
But then at one fateful costume party Tromeo meets Juliet and, each not realizing the other is on the opposite side of the disgruntlement, fall in love and suck face like those fish that clean the algae off the side of fish tanks. They’re soon discovered, of course, and when the cat comes out of the bag the expected carnage follows. After a few deaths, Tromeo needs to hide out while Juliet is forced by her domineering and creeptastic father to marry an odious luncheon meat magnate.
Up to this point, the narrative stays pretty close to the play. I mean, it is obviously nothing like Shakespeare, but they keep to the basic plot points, going so far as to have the characters speak the actual original dialogue in places. But the end veers far and wide. Way, way far and wide. Say what you want about Troma, but Lloyd Kaufman is honestly a great director and a thoughtful human being. The ultimate crux of the story is about the enduring quality of love, and how it can help you maintain hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
And if you’re not into that there are copious naked women, a giant penis with fangs, rats crawling out of a pregnant woman’s belly, and small children playing catch with a severed head. Fun for the whole family!
Video / Audio
Video: This was the very first time I’ve ever watched a Blu-Ray disc, and I was pretty impressed. Even though the scratches and dirt on the original film print are clearly visible, the image is sharp as hell and the colors are bright and warm. There were three scenes in total that were off (two were dark and one yellow like old newspaper) but those were flaws in the print, not this transfer.
Audio: The sound was decent, with some hiss evident and distortion in the “glass coffin” scenes.
Introduction: You can choose to start the movie either with or without the newly filmed introduction. I would suggest passing on it. It features Kaufman, James Gunn, and Steven Blackheart, and they take a funny gag and play it out, running it into the ground.
The rest of these features, save some of the commentaries, are from the 10th-Anniversary DVD, and are not presented in HD.
Deleted Scenes: There are 6 deleted scenes here, each introduced by Kaufman. The first one is a suicide seen that was lost after it pissed people off at a test screening. The second is some sex scene, which has the audio from the first scene over it for some reason. The third is from when a stuntman screwed up and almost killed himself leaping out of a window. The rest are basically exposition scenes. The one with Ron Jeremy just has him standing in the background. The scenes are then shown again, as insets, against James Gunn and Kaufman doing commentary on them.
Interviews: This is a collection of 14 interviews, with everyone from actors to producers to a girl listed as “stunt nipple” in the credits. It’s comprehensive, to say the least. The highlights are, obviously, Tiffany Shepis and Debbie Rochon.
Fan Re-creations: Well, this is just creepy. One is semi-professional and harmless, the other is totally amateur and just…just…horrible.
Rehearsal Footage with Jane Jensen and Debbie Rochon: Pretty much just what it sounds like. Crappy VHS, non-naked footage of the two women rehearsing a scene.
Have We Been Introduced?: The intro and outro from the Tromeo and Juliet laser disc version. The outro features the penis monster.
Tromatic Extras: This is a collection of a dozen or so Troma vignettes mostly culled from Troma’s Edge TV, all ludicrous. There is also Lloyd Kaufman’s video diary from his visit to the Slither set, as well as footage from Kaufman and James Gunn visiting Eli Roth’s birthday party. Finally, there are promo spots for several Troma books.
Trailers: There are four trailers. One for Tromeo and Juliet, and three for other Troma films.
Commentaries: There are a whopping four commentaries on this disc. The first one is by director Lloyd Kaufman and writer James Gunn, and is not only informative but absolutely hilarious. The second is with James and his brother Sean Gunn, who played Sammy Capulet. This commentary is also very good. It was recorded in 1996, the only one not from the 10th-anniversary disc, but didn’t make it onto the original disc because Michael Herz (Kaufman’s Troma partner) was concerned it was too chaotic and would bring about lawsuits from how candid the brothers were. The third is by editor Frankie Reynolds and Poultrygeist editor Gabriel Friedman. It covers some different ground than the other commentaries, but is not as funny. The fourth is Lloyd Kaufman solo. He’s a bit more subdued and introspective on his own, which, to tell you the truth, is kind of refreshing.
The bottom line is, people either love or hate Troma. If you love them, you will love this film. It is vulgar, disgusting, utterly reprehensible…and yet oddly uplifting. Instead of the tragic end originally penned by the Bard, Kaufman and crew decided to focus more on the positive aspects of love and hope. Amidst the severed limbs, green Bromo-Seltzer, and fart noises, of course. The transfer is the best version of it you will see, and the special features, while most aren't original to this version, are still comprehensive to say the least.