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Romeo and Juliet'

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Romeo + Juliet Baz Luhrmann's 1997 version of 'Romeo and Juliet' significantly attracts today's audience and not just Shakespearian followers. The film begins with the original prologue from the story, however Luhrmann creates a scene which seems more familiarly to modern viewers rather than something related to the 15th century (the actual point in time when Romeo & Juliet was set). We firstly make out a television box in the centre of a blacked-out screen, which then gets zoomed in on. As a result of using this technique, it immediately notifies the audience that this version of 'Romeo & Juliet' is far different from what some people might have expected. A black-American female news reporter soon appears after the static screen and is giving the prologue (in a news flash technique), this shows that the film is situated in a more modern moment in time, where racism and sexism are not accepted, and there are equal opportunities. If you look closely at the background just on the right side of the news reporter, you will notice a picture of a broken wedding ring and with a caption, 'Star-crossed lovers'. This symbolises what the entire film would be about (two lovers, Romeo & Juliet - lovers they are but never destined to be together). ...read more.


their relationship to Romeo or Juliet). Characters such as Ted Montague wasn't given a first name in the original storyline by Shakespeare, conversely Luhrmann has created and attached it to them for modernisation, as the modern audience usually like to refer people by their first name. These new additions, will allow the present audience to watch the film with better understandings. We are given quick flashes of future events in a trailer format; each shot only lasting a few seconds but nevertheless provides the viewers a good amount of foreboding of the film. The result of using this technique builds on the audience's anxiety and makes them want to watch onwards so that they can unearth the conclusion. You will see for example a boy singing (his voice gradually gets louder/higher); we assume the boy is American-black by his accent and appearance - again Luhrmann makes a point of using a multicultural cast. We then see Juliet wearing a wedding dress, lifting her veil slightly. We can't quite make out her face and so we want to stay to see what she looks like. There are further shots in the trailer like when Tybalt is firing a gun; this gives an impression that something awful will happen. ...read more.


The grinding of the cigarette, the camera angles and sounds add to this effect. The camera focuses on just the eyes of Tybalt and Benvolio in a typical Western style. Luhrmann's version of 'Romeo & Juliet' appeals to the modern audience, not only because it's set in the modern day but also there are uses of witty ideas and techniques. He shows a lot of violence which modern audiences and die-hard fans (mainly teenagers) love. An example of his modernisation is when (originally) characters use their swords as weapons, but in Luhrmann's version, he uses guns instead, however they are still referred to as swords (e.g. the labelling of the gun - Ted Montague asking for his Long sword, Benvolio pointing his Sword 9mm series S. In conclusion, I believe Baz Luhrmann has accomplished what he intended to achieve. I felt he was able to re-create one of the most well-known stories of all time and in a way which younger modern audiences would enjoy watching (from personal experiences). Students in schools are taught about Shakespeare and Luhrmann's version of Romeo & Juliet would allow them to learn with ease - (an alternative to reading the text). I believe it was a wonderful opportunity for me to gain greater understanding towards the study of Shakespeare. ?? ?? ?? ?? c/w 09/05/2007 Viet Hoang Nguyen 11A English - Ms Scholtz 1 of 4 ...read more.

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