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Explore how Baz Luhrmann, the director of "Romeo and Juliet", has produced an exciting start to his film.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Explore how Baz Luhrmann, the director of "Romeo and Juliet", has produced an exciting start to his film. Many people do not like Shakespearian plays, this is because of the use of old English language, a language so different from our modern language it would seem something totally different. Lots of people would be instantly put off by the words, which they often wouldn't understand, like when watching a foreign film. Shakespearian plays are usually played out in the traditional dress of the day, over four hundred years old. The clothes worn and language spoken makes most Shakespearian plays quite a challenge to watch. Baz Luhrmann the director of "Romeo & Juliet" faced a very difficult dilemma when creating the film version of the Shakespearian Play; firstly he wanted it to appeal to viewers, especially the younger generations who probably never before watched or read a Shakespeare play. However in wanting it to get audiences to like it and appeal to them, would he ruin the adaptation. What he has done has in some ways met a compromise, he retains the old English text from the play which although people don't totally understand, with a modern setting in the United States and modern music, clothing the audience are not so much drawn on the different language. The leading roles are played by actors and actresses that the public recognise, this encourages many people to come see the film, for those reasons Baz Luhrmann has attracted not only Shakespeare fans who want to see their play in film, but also people who have never read or seen Shakespeare's plays. The film opens with the prologue being read out by a black female newsreader, she is in the familiar setting of a television studio backdrop, she speaks slowly and clearly reading out the old English prologue, the opening scene warns the viewer that the film does retain the original text, yet is set in the modern age.

Middle

The match on the floor is then stumped out by the spur heeled man, the sound echoes around the station, and he then walks away, the sound of the heels giving an impression that he is powerful and important, there is a great sense of ease about the man who walks slowly and appears in no hurry. The camera then zooms up to the face of the spur heeled man, he is tanned and looks Hispanic and looks much more mature than the Montague Boys, then camera freezes and in large white text he is introduced "Tybalt Capulet" he is wearing more mature, expensive clothes than the Montague's. Then the camera moves away and shows a group of nuns at the station laughing and being relaxed, then the Montague's harass them laughing at them, evidence of their foolish immature character, then as the nuns door shut and they drive away, the camera shows the Montague's very pleased at their "achievement" and then the camera turns one hundred and eighty degrees to show another of the Capulet', the camera freezes and he is introduced, "Abra Capulet" the shot is filled by his face, and he opens his mouth and his top teeth are missing and replaced by a gold frame with the word "Sin" engraved into it, he scares and humbles the Montague's who fall back in terror into their car; exposing their true childishness. The Capulet' then laugh at the Montague's for their foolishness. The calmer scene ends when the Capulet's get back into their blue sports car and reverse at speed and stop in the petrol station, they get out and the music has sped up adding more tension to the scene, the audience are prepared for action. The Camera focuses on the Montague's as they try to run around looking for cover, making them look much less professional than the Capulet's who are at ease walking around their car.

Conclusion

The noise from the cars then starts to be heard, we hear around us the traffic which reminds the audience of the bigger issue of the family feud. The camera lifts off the ground showing the city and Italian operatic music is played, adding drama to the scene. Several Police helicopters are seen around the back of the towers, showing the importance of the brawl and how the authorities take the incident seriously. The camera moves into inside one of the helicopters giving an Ariel view of the city, noticeable is the presence of a religious icon, showing that the state are religious not just the people, again proving that the society Shakespeare lived in was very religious. We see American S.W.A.T teams assembling showing again the importance to the city this family brawl will have. The camera looks below on the city, giving views of riots between people, arguments and fights; the operatic music reaches a high highlighting the huge significance the brawl has had upon the city of Verona Beech. The camera is then on the ground looking at the two, Tybalt and Benvolio who are pointing guns at each other, and a helicopter lowers with the side open, we can see the Black Chief of Police, which in itself is important as in wasn't until the mid twentieth century that black people had equal rights in the United States to whites; highlighting the modern setting. He shouts to the two, "Throw your mistempered weapons to the ground" Showing their respect of his authority they both drop their weapons to the ground, the camera follows them on their fall and when they hit the ground the sound is magnified; ending the opening of the film. I believe that Baz Luhrmann has successfully adapted this sixteenth century play into a modern film. This success can be seen by the huge audiences who watched the film; and the large numbers of people who had before this film never read or seen one of Shakespeare's plays. Therefore Luhrmann has been successful. Timothy Howard English Coursework "Romeo and Juliet" 1

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