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Analyse and comment on the success of the title sequence of Baz Luhrmann's 1997 film adaptation of 'Romeo & Juliet'.

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Introduction

Analyse and comment on the success of the title sequence of Baz Luhrmann's 1997 film adaptation of 'Romeo & Juliet' The 1997 adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Baz Luhrmann was attempting to reach out to a younger audience by modernising the old play with new ideas, even though the old text was kept. Set in modern times with modern things that a young audience could relate to, Luhrmann successfully hauled Shakespeare's text from 16th century Verona, Italy to late 20th century Miami, USA. The purpose of this essay is to review, analyse and comment on the use of Luhrmann's background to help him in making the movie, the success of the film but most importantly the cinematic success of the title scene. The location was specifically chosen to represent modern times. America was the most modern country available. Although Luhrmann wanted to shoot the film in Miami, it was seen by the mayor of Miami as unrealistic to put the city on hold while they shot the movie; Mexico's capital city, Mexico City was used instead. ...read more.

Middle

Throughout the movie we are shown images of power. These images are more abundant in the opening title scene. Images of guns, violence and police are shown to create an atmosphere of chaos and anarchy. The guns are used, again to create a modernised version of the old play. The guns represent the swords used by the people in the sixteenth century, and they are referred to as swords by the actors, 'put up thy swords.' Religion is one of the main themes in the play, and Luhrmann uses many powerful images to show this in the opening title scene. Two statues of Jesus are filmed round about either side of the city. The statues are opposite each other with their faces facing inwards, as if looking over the people of 'Verona' and keeping guard. Also the Christian crucifix is used to replace some of the Ts in the scripture which occasionally flash between the montage of images of police, violent riots and arrests; the scripture is repeating the important parts of the sonnet that opens the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, considering all the areas of the title scene, Baz Luhrmann has successfully given birth to a fantastic opening to Romeo and Juliet. The title scene underlines key aspects of the sonnet which opens the play, to help the people in the audience who don't understand Shakespeare and even the ones who do. He introduces the principle characters, again to stop the audience from getting confused. The use of exciting images, such as the gun and the images of police and violence makes certain people in the audience stay and not walk out because they may believe it to be boring; many teenagers would believe Shakespeare to be boring. The opening scene had a very strong effect on me personally. It really made me want to see the movie again, even though I had already seen it about three times. The scene gripped me and not many title scenes have done that to me. Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet was a complete success. Alex Kirshbaum ...read more.

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