Remember the episode of “The Simpsons” where “The Krusty the Klown Show” loses Itchy & Scratchy to Krusty’s obnoxious rival, Jabbo? The defection forced him to run the bizarre, black and white, Eastern bloc cartoon “Worker and Parasite” instead.
“What the hell was that?” a shellshocked Krusty growls at the end of the disastrous segment; a sentiment I shared after enduring “Juliet’s Love.” This truly awful cartoon could have been made by “Worker and Parasite”‘s Korean animation subsidiary twenty years later.
Master Romeo, son of the village mayor, spends all of his time studying, making him as socially inept around women as an 8th grader in puberty. Apparently being suave and debonair doesn’t matter much in this society, however. When Romeo lays eyes on the lady Juliet, the most beautiful woman in the town, he merely sends his obnoxious servant Bob Ha — a phonetic, pure guess on the spelling, folks — out with a message for her. Smooth dude that he is, Bob steals her shoe while he’s at it. Romeo returns it, puts it on her dainty foot, and voila! Just like that, he invents the foot fetish. Oh, and they’re in love, too.
A secret marriage follows this strange courtship; secret because as a minor, (even though he looks as if he’s about twenty-five) Romeo isn’t allowed to have a mistress yet, let alone a wife, let alone a wife who’s the daughter of a mere concubine. When the Emperor assigns Romeo’s father to Seoul, it forces the newlywed to leave his secret bride behind. Of course, when the corrupt, corpulent and slovenly new mayor comes to town, guess who he chooses to be his concubine. Will she agree or will true love prevail?
Answer #1: What do you think? Answer #2: Who cares?
It’s hard to imagine any sort of American audience for this film, regardless of how hot animation is right now. “Juliet’s Love” is an extremely uncomfortable hybrid between a wannabe silly children’s love story and a more adult film. It’s neither. American kids will be bored and/or lost by the time the first Korean-language song rolls around, while the film’s atrocious dubbing, which makes “Speed Racer” look in perfect sync by comparison, will destroy the film for English and Korean speaking kids alike.
Similarly, the attempts at crude humor and other more adult themes are as clumsy as they are ineffective. And what’s the deal with cell phones and beepers in a medieval society?
Character names aside, “Juliet’s Love” has nothing to do with Romeo and Juliet as we know them, making this a cruel swipe at Shakespeare on top of everything else. It doesn’t even look that good, resembling a Disney clone’s pathetic attempt at anime. Hell, bring back “Worker & Parasite.” They can’t be any worse than this.