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Discuss how Baz Luhrman reaches his audience and establishes mood in his film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

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English Media Coursework In this essay I am going to discuss how Baz Luhrman reaches his audience and establishes mood in his film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. To do this I am going to discuss the difference between the screenplay and Shakespeare's original text, the genre of the film, the mise-en-scene, lighting, camera shots and soundtrack. Baz Luhrman wanted to reach a teenage audience this is portrayed through clothing, the fast pace action, and the soundtrack. Luhrman may have wanted to reach a teenage audience because there is no other recent film adaptation of Shakespeares' plays catering for a teenage audience. Baz Luhrman reaches his audience and establishes mood in the opening credits and first scene of his film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet by his use of modernisation of the original text. The genre is communicated to the audience immediately in the opening credits in the screenplay. The prologue from the play is used in the form of a news report. We then hear a voice over that sounds as if he is writing what he is saying. The main points of his speech are shown in the form of newspaper headlines or flashed up on screen. When we hear the voice over stating the prologue his last fatal line is, "A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life." This is the last sentence flashed on screen before the audience see the characters picture and their name in a freeze frame. ...read more.


The film is set in Southern California. The first scene is set in a petrol station; this is so there can be a fire at the end of the scene. The cars both families drive have the first three letters of their family name as the license plate, which would make the audience believe they are wealthy. The Capulets' car is dark signifying evil, whereas the Montagues' car is bright revealing their childlike, playful personalities. The Capulet's guns have their family logo on it and the word 'sword' (because it was the term used for gun at that time) as do the Montague's. The Montague's are portrayed in quite a 'laddish' manner and come across as harmless. They wear bright coloured clothing, have dyed hair, bald heads, fair complexions, clean shaven skin and behave scandalously. They seem more like boys, rather then men and come across as quite laid back and relaxed. These characteristics show their personality. The Capulet's have a Latino look about them; they have a darker complexion, dark facial hair, and are stylishly dressed. Stereotypical archetypes (dark meaning villainous). They have slick gelled back hair which suggests to the audience that they take pride in their appearance and like to display their wealth. With the Montague's, they do not seem to care what people think and so do not dress to impress. The Capulet's also have silver heeled boots and one in particular has a silver cap over his top teeth saying 'sin'. ...read more.


In the first scene, the Montague boys have their own introductory music called 'The Boys'. It is an up beat retro sound revealing their adolescent characters. This caters for the teenage audience Luhrman is trying to reach because it is a modern style of music revealing their adolescent characters. The Capulet's have a Western type music mirroring a cow boy style to represent their villainous characters. The soundtracks introducing the two families give the audience a sense of their personalities. The sound effects of the screenplay are Western; this creates a Country and Western style atmosphere and tells the audience there is going to be a gunfight. Also the pan pipes (symbolising the whistling of wind) and the creaking of a rusty sign, indicate a gunfight in the making and create a comical effect to relax the intense atmosphere. When the Montague's and Capulet's meet there is complete silence suggesting the starting of a gunfight. During the gunfight there is a blend between opera and a western style of music, showing equality at that point. In this essay I have explained how Baz Luhrman has reached his audience and established mood in the opening credits and first scene in his film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet by his modernisation of Shakespeares' original text. I have done this by discussing the genre, the difference between the screenplay and the text, the mise-en-scene, lighting and camera shots and the soundtrack. Baz Luhrman has made clear changes in his screenplay and has produced a successful modernised film of Romeo and Juliet ...read more.

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