Tromeo & Juliet: 10th Anniversary Edition (1996) (NTSC)

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Released 21-Sep-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Cult Audio Commentary-Writer James Gunn and director Lloyd Kaufman (2006)
Audio Commentary-Writer James Gunn and actor Sean Gunn (1997)
Audio Commentary-Editor Frank Reynolds and Gabriel Friedman (2006)
Audio Commentary-Director Lloyd Kaufman (1997)
Deleted Scenes
Introduction-The Making of the New Commentary
Introduction-Director Lloyd Kaufman
Interviews-Cast & Crew-x 14
Featurette-From Tromaville to Hollywood
Featurette-Fan Re-creation of Classic Tromeo & Juliet Scenes
Music Video-"Staying Home Again" by Wisely
Featurette-Tromatic Treasure Trove x 6
Trailer-For Troma Releases
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 106:59
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lloyd Kaufman
James Gunn
Studio
Distributor
Troma Studios
Gryphon Entertainment
Starring Jane Jensen
Will Keenan
Valentine Miele
William Beckwith
Steve Gibbons
Sean Gunn
Debbie Rochon
Lemmy
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI $14.95 Music Willie Wisely


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In the first 10 minutes of Tromeo & Juliet there is sex and nudity, nipple piercing, fingers cut off, action, blood and gore; and then the story starts, more or less following Shakespeare. In modern day New York, the Capulet and Que families are waring after a falling out some years before between business partners Cappy Capulet (Maximillian Shaun) and Monty Que (Earl McKoy) during which Monty lost both his film business, Silky Films, and his wife Ingrid (Wendy Adams) to Cappy. At a party in the Capulet Mansion Juliet Capulet (Jane Jensen) meets Tromeo Que (Will Keenan) and it is love at first sight although she is already engaged to the super rich London Arbuckle (Steve Gibbons). Some days later, in Juliet’s glass “time out” cage Tromeo and Juliet consume their love in a night of passion. But they have little hope of being together as street warfare erupts between the rival family members leading to the deaths of Juliet’s cousin Tyrone (Patrick Connor) and Tromeo’s friend Murray Martini (Valentine Miele). Then their liaison is discovered by Cappy, and he insists that Juliet marry London immediately. However, from Father Lawrence (Flip Brown) Juliet obtains a special potion that will have interesting physical ramifications for her on her wedding day. And Ingrid Capulet provides some important revelations all of her own.

     Troma films can be an acquired taste and polarise opinion but there is no denying that, featuring all the body piercing, kinky sex, car crashes and dismemberment that Shakespeare always wanted but never had, Tromeo & Juliet is the Troma Team in full-on bad taste mode, and a strong contender for one of the best Troma films ever made.

     Tromeo & Juliet is classic Troma featuring gratuitous violence and nudity, body piercing, tattoos, blood and gore, vomit, farts and bad taste humour. One could add indifferent acting, slightly better than earlier Troma releases, but not much, although Maximillian Shaun is excellent and has the best lines (his asides from the poems of Shelly or other Shakespeare plays are hilarious) and Valentine Miele is also good. The normal Troma cheap special effects (this was in the days before CGI) and shoddily executed stunts are also present. Most of the punches don’t even come close to connecting, although Sean Gunn had his nose broken by a punch and a Tiffiny Shepis kick put the high heel of her boot through Stephen Blackehart’s cheek. Sequences where a stunt man went through a window and where an explosion was set off below Cappy’s window also went wrong while the gratuitous car crash was reused from Sgt. Kabuliman NYPD.

     On the other hand, Shakespeare’s plot can be easily adapted to modern times, as shown by West Side Story or Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Indeed, some of Shakespeare’s plot and some of his dialogue has been used very effectively by Tromeo & Juliet writer James Gunn, who has added a few twists of his own, including some Troma icons such as the p**** monster and the popcorn pregnancy. The result is an uneven yet entertaining film with sex, violence, gore, vegetarianism, some genuine funny moments, sick humour and some clever ideas. It also has some wonderful images, and I don’t only mean Jacqueline Tavarez’s body (she plays Rosie); the scenes in the glass “time out” cage, with light reflecting on bodies against a stark black background, look beautiful. Although the humour does not always work, Tromeo & Juliet is also very funny in places, with genuine laughs. Oh, and they have fun with the end credits as well. Tromeo & Juliet has been released twice before in Region 4 and each version has been reviewed on this site: the JJC Entertainment release here and the Stomp Visual release here. Is the new release worth an upgrade?

     Not on the basis of the video and audio, which seem to be the same as the earlier releases including the incorrect aspect ratio, and this is still the 107 minute version of the film. The major change is in the extras; this 2 disc 10th anniversary edition retains nearly all of extras from the earlier versions, but adds three extra audio commentaries (two recorded in 2006 specially for this DVD release), new cast interviews and a number of other extras, not all of which actually relate to Tromeo & Juliet. In the main the new material is worthwhile, and the extra commentaries and interviews do mean that this 10th anniversary release is a worthwhile purchase for fans that may have the earlier version. For others, this is absolutely the version to have to see the Troma Team taking on Shakespeare in full on mode.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Tromeo & Juliet is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33.1 and is not16x9 enhanced. The original theatrical ratio was 1.85:1 and it is clear that some scenes are cropped.

     This is a standard Troma print. While not as bad as Class of Nuke ‘Em High I recently reviewed, there are frequent scratches, dirt marks, and excessive grain throughout the entire film.

     The picture is soft, and clarity indifferent. Sharpness is only reasonable while colours are washed out although skin tones (of which there are a lot) are fine. Blacks were great, such as in the glass cage scenes and shadow detail mostly OK.

     There are no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at 384 Kbps which is functional and gets the job done. This is a mono track as all sounds emanated from the centre speaker. In the quite moments there was some background hum, but as there were not many quite moments this was not a problem.

     Dialogue was mostly clear, although some of the lines, especially from Lemmy (the Narrator) and Father Lawrence Flip Brown (Father Lawrence) are indistinct and the absence of subtitles does not help. The effects were predictably flat although the music comes across reasonably well. There was no surround or sub use.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The score is by Willie Wisely is supported by songs from the likes of Motorhead, Supernova, The Icons and Thorn while Jane Jensen also sings some songs. The score is an excellent and effective support for the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     This 10th anniversary edition contains a massive range of extras spread over two discs. Some are Tromeo & Juliet specific, some are stuff from the Troma vaults with no connection to the film. They are quite diverse and some are more interesting than others but there is certainly something in the set to interest everyone.

Disc 1

Introduction: The Making of the New Commentary (6:49)

     This is a video diary of the preliminaries to James Gunn and Lloyd Kaufman recording their 2006 commentary.

2006 Commentary with Writer James Gunn and Director Lloyd Kaufman

     Kaufman and Gunn have obvious rapport and chat non-stop about their own feelings during the production and shooting of the film in a mostly entertaining way.

1997 Commentary by writer James Gunn and actor Sean Gunn

     Brothers James and Sean Gunn sit together. There is a whole lot of hilarious laughter, scurrilous comments about other members of the cast as well as lots of “this is great” type statements and a few interruptions. In between there are some good anecdotes from the set, and they point out errors, things that they think didn’t work and the boring bits. Entertaining in a fragmentary and chaotic sort of way.

2006 Commentary with editor Frank Reynolds and Poultrygeist editor Gabriel Friedman

     This is an informative and entertaining commentary. The two guys actually concentrate on aspects of the filming and editing and leave out the silly inane chatter and jokes, and the commentary is much better because of that. They cover editing the film, cut scenes, errors in continuity, working with Lloyd Kaufman, cast issues and the shooting schedule.

1997 Commentary with director Lloyd Kaufman

     Repeated from the previous DVD, Lloyd Kaufman covers a myriad of things in the Kaufman style from the interesting to the ridiculous. He is best on the themes of Tromeo & Juliet as well as Troma philosophies and independent filmmaking as some of the other stuff is pretty silly.

Deleted Scenes (18:45)

     These scenes all have individual introductions from Lloyd Kaufman. Included are: Introduction, Suicide Scene, Sexual Sonnet, Stunt Gone Wrong, Brain Food, Harry Explains It All, Two Little Piggies, Ron Jeremy’s a Bum and Outtroduction adding up to 13:55 minutes. There is a “Play All” function. There is also an additional section (4:50), recorded in 2006, where James Gunn and Lloyd Kaufman comment on some of the deleted scenes while the scene plays in the bottom of the screen.

Introduction Lloyd Kaufman (3:19)

     An introduction by Kaufman to the 10th anniversary 2 disc DVD.

Disc 2

Cast and Crew Interviews

     A whole raft of cast and crew interviews, mostly from 10 years after the filming. Some are serious and give good insights into the filming, some are very frank, some tongue in cheek, some downright stupid. For example, there is an interview with the woman who provided the “stunt nipple”! Video quality varies, some quite poor shot on hand held cheap video; sound quality also varies considerably. Included are:

Brand New Bonuses

     Under this section is a music clip, a couple of video diaries with no connection to Tromeo & Juliet and fans’ reshoots of two favourite scenes:

     From Tromaville to Hollywood

     Fan Re-creation of Classic Tromeo & Juliet Scenes

     Music Video: Staying Home Again by Wisely (3:21)

Tromatic Treasure Trove

     A vast range of sections and subsections. The introductions and the Troma trailers are great fun.

     Have We Been Introduced. Very much Troma style introductions to various films. Included are:

     Tragedies and Comedies. Trailers for Troma films in the Troma style, plus other oddities. Included are:

     Long Lost Rehearsal Footage of Jane Jensen & Debbie Rochon (2:33): The actors rehearse “that scene” but fully clothed!

     The 3 Best Reasons to Learn to Read: Commercials for Troma literary merchandise.

     Radiation March (0:56): anti-pollution message in the Troma style.

     They Found a Peanut Alright!! 1 page of silent DVD and box art credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 0 US 10th Anniversary is identical to the Region 4 release, down to the NTSC format. There was an earlier Region 0 US release with the 1997 Kaufman commentary and some extras. This was apparently rated R and ran about 2 minutes shorter. There seems to be a Region 2 German release that runs 114 minutes but from what I can see the running time is because some of the deleted scenes have been edited back into the film. All the scenes edited back are included in the deleted scenes on the 10th Anniversary edition DVD.

     Apparently the first cut of the film ran 3 hours and I have read a suggestion of a 137 minute version, but no DVD released has had this running time. All versions released on DVD have been non 16x9 and 1.33:1; only the laserdisc edition was apparently in the original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio. Draw.

Summary

     Tromeo & Juliet from 1996 is the Troma Team taking on Shakespeare in full on mode and is a strong contender for one of the best Troma films ever made. The film has been released twice before in Region 4 and fans will most likely already own a copy.

     The earlier JJC release has a number of extras, including the deleted scenes, but no commentaries. The Stomp version contains the deleted scenes, some of the features, the Lloyd Kaufman 1997 commentary, but not the 2006 commentaries or the Gunn brothers 1997 commentary. The video and audio of all releases seem to be the same including the incorrect aspect ratio, and this is still the 107 minute version of the film. However, the extra commentaries and interviews do mean that this 10th anniversary release is a worthwhile purchase for fans who have the earlier version. For others, this is the version to get to see the Troma Team taking on Shakespeare .

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, October 15, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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