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Do you think that Baz Luhrmann or Franco Zeffirelli is more successful in their presentation of the last act of Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet Do you think that Baz Luhrmann or Franco Zeffirelli is more successful in their presentation of the last act of Romeo and Juliet? The last act of "Romeo and Juliet" is the climax of the play. It is where the tragedy occurs making it the part of the play that everyone who reads it remembers. Therefore in order to be successful in their presentations of the last act, Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli, would need to highlight the tragedy of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet and make their audience remember their productions. In deciding which film is better in its portrayal of the last act, I will look at a number of different aspects of each film compared to the play itself to see which is more successful in it's presentation of the last act of "Romeo and Juliet". The Franco Zeffirelli version of "Romeo and Juliet" stays much closer to the original story than the Baz Luhrmann version. However, it does change certain facts and some characters and speeches are left out in the last act. In the play the last act begins with Romeo in Mantua being brought the news of Juliet's death. In the Zeffirelli film an extra scene is added; this being Juliet's funeral. This is really where the last act begins in the film. However, the funeral scene is quite effective. As Juliet is being laid in the crypt Friar Lawrence smiles knowingly at her. ...read more.

Middle

Another change is that in the play Romeo is not discovered to have come back into Verona. In the film he is chased by several helicopters. This adds excitement to the film but perhaps is a bit over the top. There is really no point to it. Another thing changed is that Juliet is in a church instead of the crypt that she is in, in the play. In what is scene three of the play, the film leaves out a number of characters. Firstly Paris is left out presumably for the same reasons as he was left out of the Zeffirelli film. Secondly Tybalt's body is not present in this film. This is probably because this last scene is set in a church and not in a crypt so there would not be any other bodies there. Another possible reason why Tybalt's body was left out is that Baz Luhrmann perhaps did not want to remind the audience that Romeo had killed someone as he did not want the audience to lose any sympathy for Romeo. The final character omitted from the Luhrmann film is Friar Lawrence, which means his long speech explaining everything to the Prince and Romeo and Juliet's parents is also omitted. But the most major thing that Baz Luhrmann changes is the timing of Juliet's wakening. In the play Juliet wakens a few minutes after Romeo has taken the poison. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare only ever refers to the stars, the heavens and fate. In the Baz Luhrmann film some different camera effects are used in the last scene of the last act. For example when Juliet picks up the gun with which she shoots herself and puts it to her head, the film is in slow motion. This is quite affective in that it builds up the suspense before Juliet kills herself. Also after Romeo and Juliet have died there are flashbacks of their time together and showing how happy they were. These are very effective in that they really highlight the tragedy of their deaths. Taking all of this into account I have come to the conclusion that Baz Luhrmann is more successful in his presentation of the last act of Romeo and Juliet. I think that Baz Luhrmann brings out the tragedy more in his production. The acting is superior and the music more varied. I think the flashbacks at the end are a very good touch, which really appeal to the emotions. I also think that it was very clever that Baz Luhrmann managed to successfully bring Romeo and Juliet into the present day and although Baz Luhrmann makes many changes to the story and even dares to make the major change in the timing of Juliet's wakening I think Shakespeare would not have been against these changes; he may even have been pleased with them as they were clever and he himself made many changes to the original source of Romeo and Juliet, Romeus and Juliet. ...read more.

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