Wildly fun adaptation of William Shakespeare's play by writer/director Baz Luhrmann. Changing the setting of Shakespeare's plays for film adaptations isn't a new thing. It had previously been done as musicals, westerns, samurai films, gangster pictures, indie dramas about street hustlers, teen comedies, teen dramas, and so on and so forth, but none of those films brought the exuberance and audacity as this film. Set in a Venice Beach-like setting between two feuding wealthy business family empires, Brian Dennehy as Ted Montague and Paul Sorvino as Fulgencio Capulet, with their star cross lover children, Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, in roles that really put their stars on the Hollywood map, at the center of the drama. The film faithfully follows the source material's story and all of the dialogue is taken straight from the play, but the dialogue is amazingly accessible and understandable from the actors speaking the lines in a very naturalistic manner. Laurence Olivier was actually criticized in his day for delivering lines in too naturalistic of a manner and not in the traditional more sing-song of manner, which Kenneth Branagh took even further, but this film puts that on a whole new level. Actors here are gangsters, street punks, and thugs and deliver their lines as such, but their words are accessible in a way I'd never seen before that retained Shakespeare's original words. In some ways, it's kind of like Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" where most all of the characters spoke as if they were off the mean streets of Brooklyn. In both cases it served to connect the characters and stories to modern audiences and crate less of a distance between the two. The film also drips of 1990s cool, with a very hip soundtrack and many fashions of the day (with a hint of Elizabethan). The film features a strong cast that also includes Harold Perrineau, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Rudd, Vondie Curtis-Hall, M. Emmet Walsh, Jamie Kennedy, and a memorable Vincent Laresca. But the real start is Bad Luhrmann, who's combination of visuals, sound, and editing created a film so full of energy and audacity that it stands apart from any other Shakespearian film adaptation and is something truly unique. My only complaint about the film is that the modernization of the story also makes Romeo and Juliet's drama and romance seem overly trite and self important in a way that I found annoying. To the teens and teen audiences, I'm sure their love and feelings are very real and serious and worthy of live & death, but at the same time these are kids and they really shouldn't be taking themselves all that seriously. Leo and Clair might as well be the self important teens from "13 Reasons Why" for how overly serious they take themselves. Still, I don't think middle age men were Luhrmann's target audience here (i.e. me), so my criticism is probably not valid (i.e. I'm just being a cranky old man). Still, this is a wonderfully original film that demands multiple viewings.