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Discuss in detail the opening of Baz Luhrmann's 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet'.

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Discuss in detail the opening of Baz Luhrmann's 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet' The opening of a film can make or break it - it is a vital factor determining whether or not the audience will want to watch the rest of the film. It must capture the audience's attention and imagination, be striking and introduce main characters and plotlines in an interesting way. The opening of Baz Luhrmann's 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet' certainly captures the attention of the audience, and is in my opinion incredibly effective. As there is so much material in the prologue, I have chosen only to concentrate of this part of the opening. First, it is interesting that Luhrmann should choose to include Shakespeare in the title of his film, as very little of the original Shakespearian elements remain in Luhrmann's interpretation; Luhrmann has made it entirely his own. However, this certainly hasn't had any unfavourable effects on the play. In fact, in my opinion, his interpretation is, if anything, more enjoyable than the play in it's original form. ...read more.


As the bulletin ends, the camera comes closer and closer to the screen of the TV, eventually giving the effect that the audience are sucked into the screen, again adding to the feeling of immediacy and proximity to the action. The camera then rushes along a street, with the Montague building on one side and the Capulet building on the other. In the middle is a statue of Jesus. This theme is continued slightly later, when they show the two family trees, again with Montagues on one side, Capulets on the other and a picture of Jesus in the middle. This shows that religion is the one mutual aspect of the lives of the two families, and that Friar Lawrence is the link between them. Another important thing to note is that the two towers (Montague and Capulet) are of equal size, symbolizing the equal social status of the two families. What follows is a montage of scenes from later in the film with Pete Postlethwaite (Friar Lawrence) ...read more.


Also, neither Romeo nor Juliet is introduced, and this causes tension to build over the main protagonists. This is followed by shots of many newspapers featuring lines from the prologue as headlines, which emphasises these lines, and then a montage, again featuring small clips from later in the movie: shootings and brawls, shots of the inside of a church, people screaming and crying, Romeo and Juliet kissing. Firstly this juxtaposes the two themes of religion and violence, and secondly it sums up in one scene all the major themes of the film in one scene, while simultaneously increasing tension and suspense by using rapidly flashing images and loud, dramatic music. This scene reaches a climax, and then fades through into the next scene and the start of the actual plot. In conclusion, the opening of the film is very effective because it sums up the plot well without being boring or overlong. In fact, because of the many cinematic techniques Luhrmann uses, it is eye-catching and enjoyable to watch. It also sums up all the themes of the film in an efficient and concise means. ...read more.

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