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Compare and contrast the opening scenes of Romeo and Juliet (Baz Luhrmann) and Westside story (Robert Wise).

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the opening scenes of Romeo and Juliet (Baz Luhrmann) and Westside story (Robert Wise) At the start of the opening sequence to Romeo and Juliet, a short description of the story is told by a news reader who is within the screen in a small, old television. The idea of the television being used is to immediately inform the audience that the story has been modernized. The oldness of the TV could signify that it is the modernization of and old story. A broken ring is displayed in the top right hand corner of the inset TV. This signifies the hatred between the two families but also the eternal love between Romeo and Juliet which they are trying to break. As the explanation of the story commences the TV becomes larger, the camera zooms in on it, and then the real scenes from the opening sequence are shown. The writing "in fair Verona" is displayed in white writing, suggesting it is a nice, calm city where everybody lives happily. The writing being in white backs this up as white has the connotation of being angelic. ...read more.

Middle

This may imply that they are hiding from each other or from the police because they are committing crime. It may also be used to create a sense of mystery, we don't know what the two families plan to do to each other, so by showing them in the shadows, it hides it from us as well as themselves. The quickness of the changing between scenes is used to show us that this story is an action packed roller coaster. It also signifies the different attitudes and emotions we discover in this film. The opening scene to Westside Story simply uses a variety of colours and music to describe the events we may encounter in the film. It begins with the whistling of a songbird which we associate with the break of a new day although it could signify anytime of day. The music begins as chasey music perhaps signifying the pursuit of something. The background colour is light orange which, is quite neutral and does not necessarily signify anything. The music then calms down into peaceful happy music, perhaps signifying the retrieval or capture of the thing that was being pursued. ...read more.

Conclusion

The music then calms down and the background changes to white this could mean that the actions that caused the possible death were justifiable. The background then changes again to a royal victorious blue. This could symbolize that the main character has resolved his/her problem and is happy again whilst still in the background missing that "thing". These two opening scenes are very different in the way they portray the plot of the film. Westside story does not use images to inform us of the narrative, it just uses colours and music, whereas Romeo and Juliet uses images, voiceovers and music to inform us of the emotions incurred. These two methods are both effective because they do not give too much of the story away but inform us of the general idea of the film. Romeo is possibly more effective to the untrained eye which is not analyzing the opening scenes because it visually shows us the idea of the film without having to think too much about what's being shown too us. Westside story is very effective in its description of the plot and narrative. The changes of music and colour clearly outliner the general consensus of the film whilst still leaving the viewer wondering what is actually happening. ...read more.

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