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Analysis of Baz Luhrmann's romeo and juliet

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GCSE Media Coursework Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo and Juliet' is a modern reconstruction based on the original play. The setting and dress were the only things that were changed and the dialogue was preserved in its original state even though it went through a bit of editing, therefore this movie serves as an excellent resource for anyone who doesn't understand the Shakespearean way of speaking. It tells the story of "Two households both alike in dignity in fair Verona where we lay are scene". These two warring households are the Capulets and the Montagues and they fight all the time. What Baz Luhrmann has done is modernise the play by making it a film and adding modern technology such as guns and newspapers, as well as a petrol station into the set. I will be analysing scene one where the Capulets and Montagues first meet in the film. The scene is set in a petrol station, which represents the town square in Shakespeare's original play. Three Montague boys pull up in a car in the petrol station and one of them, Benvolio goes to the toilet while the other two see a van filled with girls from a Ladies College and make some rude gestures at it as it pulls away. Then as the van pulls away the Montague boys see four Capulet boys. Subsequently an argument breaks out between the two sets of boys and a shootout starts. ...read more.


The bold white writing on the black background, which is accompanied by the dramatic music, shows the tension that will happen in the film. White and black are opposite colours and do not go together so they represent the different families and the red in the cross represents death and violence; these all lead to a lot of tension. When the black screen pulls back it acts like a curtain and signifies to the audience that the film is about to begin. The zoom onto the guns shows the modern side of the film. When Tybalt takes his well timed sniper shot at the Montagues as they pull away in their car, the audience is shown the shot through Tybalt's cross hair, which is the shape of a cross and also signifies violence as well as religion. The significance of this is, that he must believe in himself and in God in order to get the shot right. When Baz Luhrmann chose to make the opening scene a petrol station he felt that it was ideal because it helped to incorporate his idea of using cars. The cars represent the characters; yellow represents laid back Capulets in open shirts and shorts, whereas blue represents the serious and wealthy leather clad Montagues. Baz Luhrmann chose the opposite clothes to represent the warring families because it helps the audience remember and determine what family each person comes from. ...read more.


When the Nun shuts the door on the offensive Montague it is a sign of religion shutting out violence. The crosses on the guns show that the two families see religion and violence as united. Abra's mouth guard has the word 'Sin' on it and it is a sign of Abra rebelling against religion and that everything that comes out of his mouth is sinful. When the riot starts the flames represent the rising heat (tension) at the gas station. The newspapers saying 'ANCIENT GRUDGE' shows that the feud has gone on for a long time and that the whole city is affected. The name 'Phoenix Gas' shows that the flames (tension) will rise again from the ashes of the old fire (feud). The different families dress in different ways the following depicts the differences; A typical Montague would wear Open Hawaiian shirts, tattoos, sunglasses and a buzz haircut whereas a typical Capulet would wear; a formal dress code, a dark leather suit, an earring in one ear, chains around there neck and sleek haircuts The director and production team have employed a variety of techniques to create a sensational film that has 170 camera shots in the first five minutes of the film and over 300 layers of sound just during certain scenes in the film. This film shows that Baz Luhrmann can put camera shots, editing, setting, genre, sound/music, costumes and mise-En-Scene to great effect in order to bring out a film that has several subplots within subplots. ...read more.

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