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Baz Lurhman’s modernization of Shakespeare’s classic “Romeo and Juliet”

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Introduction

Baz Lurhman's modernization of Shakespeare's classic "Romeo and Juliet" was, in my opinion, very successful and brought Shakespeare to a whole new audience. He combines modern issues with Shakespearian language to great effect, resulting in a rather contemporary but very enjoyable film. The main difference between the play and the film is that instead of ancient Verona in Italy, the film is set on Verona beach in modern day America. At first the film seems strange as the play is set in the present era yet all the actors are speaking in Shakespearian dialect, but as the film continues this adds to the impressiveness and excitement of it. By casting young popular actors/actresses like Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes Baz Lurhman has brought in a younger audience who would not otherwise go to see a work by William Shakespeare, and the fact that the film is set in modern America and has scenes of violence involving guns and fighting would draw in more of a male audience than if it was set in 16th Century England. I think that by incorporating modern issues such as homosexuality, drugs and violence he has made the film more relevant to today's society. In the film it was never openly stated that Mercutio was gay, but hints are made at his homosexuality when he dresses up as a woman and by his feelings towards Romeo; he certainly likes Romeo a lot-you could almost call it infatuation. ...read more.

Middle

was silhouetted against the light from the lift as she came down into the garden, the light thrown from Juliet's window lit up half of Romeos face and light shimmering on the pool was reflected into their faces. The way in which the lines are spoken throughout this scene really add to the suspense, Romeo says with such burning passion "It is the east, and Juliet is the sun" he whispers his lines when Juliet gets out of the lift, and then builds up the excitement in his voice when he is talking to her. Juliet's white dress implies pureness and makes her look like an angel; there were night sounds in the garden like crickets which added to the atmosphere and the splash of the water as they fell into the pool rang out in the night. Light was also very important in the death scene, the hundreds of candles provided a heavenly atmosphere, and the steps look like steps to heaven, and also making the whole scene look very symmetrical. The neon signs on the sides of the seats leading up the aisle draw your eye to the vocal point, which is the sleeping Juliet. The white dress she is wearing and all the white around her symbolises the wedding she never had, and the double bed she is laid upon represents her marital bed. When Romeo arrives and lies on the bed beside Juliet the camera shows lots of facial views, it shows him crying for her, and ripping her ring off the chain on his neck and putting it on her finger. ...read more.

Conclusion

Romeo has been listening to all this and walks out into the garden were he can be seen from the balcony and says in a trusting, hopeful voice "I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I'll be new baptiz'd; Henceforth I never will be Romeo." Juliet jumps in shock, she didn't see Romeo and a look of surprise spread over her face. He climbs up the wall to the balcony as Juliet nervously glances around in case anyone might come along, As they talk their words are fast and urgent as if they have no time left and must get everything crammed in. After they have talked for a while Juliet takes Romeo to one side and whispers with urgency and worry in her voice "If they do see thee they will murder thee!" Romeo coolly replies, gazing into her eyes, "Alack! There lies more peril in thine eye than twenty of their swords; look thou but sweet, And I am proof against their enmity." Juliet worries for Romeo's life and wants him to leave, but Romeo is in love and with a look of adoration towards Juliet he simply states "My life were better ended by their hate, Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love." Juliet continues on to say that if he is serious then to marry her, they part with a final kiss, and as Romeo disappears into the night Juliet looks out into the darkness with a look of contentment on her face. The play Romeo and Juliet is complex and difficult to stage. I would very much enjoy a chance to produce it in the theatre or as a film. ...read more.

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