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Discuss the opening scene [from the prologue until Prince’s entrance in Act 1.1] of Baz Lurhman’s film adaptation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in comparison with the text, with particular regard to the effectiveness of the film devices.

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Introduction

Discuss the opening scene [from the prologue until Prince's entrance in Act 1.1] of Baz Lurhman's film adaptation of 'Romeo and Juliet' in comparison with the text, with particular regard to the effectiveness of the film devices. The film is a modern day adaptation of Shakespeare's play, although it still adheres quite closely to the original text. It opens on a television screen with a news report delivered by a reporter that gradually appears to move away from the viewer. The speech of the report is in fact all but the last two lines of the play's prologue, which is a pr�cis of the play's events intended to introduce the audience to the story, much like a news report is an outline of a story whose purpose is to inform the viewer. This is therefore an interesting method of presenting the prologue in the modern setting - it captures the essence of the prologue whilst allowing the opening of the film a contemporary feel. The prologue is swiftly followed by a bold pastiche of images and lines of text that highlight the fundamental themes of the play accompanied by the repetition of the first six lines of the prologue. ...read more.

Middle

The montage continues gaining momentum as the music increases in dynamism until fireworks, suggesting the explosive nature of the play and Romeo & Juliet's love, draw it to a dramatic close. The cutting from one shot to another is swiftly followed by focused close-up shots on characters' faces with text displaying their name and their title or relationship to another character. This is reminiscent of the 'Dramatis Personae' section found at the beginning of the script of Shakespeare's plays, and serves a similar purpose - to introduce characters and to help the viewers to familiarize themselves with the main protagonists and their associations with one another. The introductory, summative tone of the start of the film is broken by a black screen with the simple text 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet' emblazoned in red and white. Again, this is an example of the use of colour as a medium for drawing attention to themes of the play - white for purity and chastity, red for love and blood and black for death. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite Benvolio's peace-keeping role, a fight ensues - a civil brawl that reflects the lines of the prologue and is linked back to it by newspaper reports and headlines. The filming during this period is erratic and cuts rapidly from side to side in line with the bullets fired and the action of the brawl. The shots cut more quickly around the Montagues and this signifies their edginess and weaker nature and is therefore significant of their eventual loss of the fight. Conversely, more panning is used when Tybalt is in shot, and this is reflective of his polished image and fighting technique and predicts that his Capulets will win the fight. This is the subsequent outcome; Tybalt kills a Montague causing them to flee as the gas station bursts into flames. The smoke clears to show the image mentioned earlier - the two tower blocks, figureheads of the houses strength, on opposite sides of a street divided by a religious statue. This shot is held for a time from a long range, and shows the end of Scene 1, and Prince's entrance into the play. GCSE English - Media Coursework Rose Marteau ...read more.

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