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Analysis of the opening scene of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet. In particular, the contemporary relevance of its setting and characters.

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Introduction

Analysis of the opening scene of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet. In particular, the contemporary relevance of its setting and characters. The film that I am analysing is called Romeo and Juliet. It was released in 1996 and the director is called Baz Luhrmann. Leonardo DiCaprio starred as Romeo and Claire Danes starred as Juliet. It was very successful because in the first opening week it got $11million and the second week it got $9million. The aim of the film was to entertain and interest the audience just like Shakespeare did. Baz Luhrmann wanted to make a more modern version because he wanted it to be easier for the younger viewers to understand. In his own words he wanted to "knock Shakespeare off his pedestal." The setting has been changed from the original because in the original the fight scene was set in a market square and the Capulets' start it but in the new version the Montagues' started it and it was set in a petrol station. ...read more.

Middle

In this scene there are 170 different camera shots and it lasts about five minutes. Luhrmann stresses the rivalry between the two families and the theme of racism by making the Capulets Latino and the Montagues Anglos. Luhrmann's version of the scene has been set in a petrol station instead of a market place because now a day you are more likely to see people in a petrol station rather than a market place. This would help the audience because most of them would have cars. Luhrmann has also added effects such as freeze frames and subtitles so that the audience can identify the characters more easily. Humour is also added such as when Sampson licks his nipple at some nuns. This provides a contrast to the tension before the fighting. The costumes for the Montagues are bright beach clothes to show that they are easy going and the Capulets wear dark suits with religious icons on them. This helps the audience to understand who is from which family because both families wear different types of clothes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Other music used stresses other ideas such as the rap music which is played by the Montague boys in their car to stress their laid back life-style. Even minor details can influence the audience to better understand the plot and characters. The sign that says 'Phoenix, Add more fuel to your fire' suggests that there is going to be a big explosion or something to do with fire. Another sign says 'I am thy pistol and thy friend, 9mm sword series s' says that they have pistols that have 9mm barrels and are called swords. It is also so that when the Chief of Police says 'throw down thy trusted swords to the ground' it still makes sense. I think the film has been very successful because in the first two weeks it got $20million. It was also successful in its aim because Luhrmann wanted more young people to understand it. My personal opinion of Baz Luhrmann's version is I thought it was ok and it helped me to better understand Shakespeare. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jonathon Worsley 10W GCSE English coursework ...read more.

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