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How does Baz Luhrmann adapt the prologue and opening scene of Romeo and Juliet for the medium of film?

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How does Baz Luhrmann adapt the prologue and opening scene of Romeo and Juliet for the medium of film? Baz Luhrmann uses many different techniques in the modern version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, to make the opening sequence effective to the audience. The film begins with a TV centered in the middle of the screen; the TV screen begins fuzzy without a signal and then picks up a news reporter. The reporter is reading aloud to the audience the Prologue from the original Romeo and Juliet. The use of the Television and the reporter emphasises the fact that this is a modern version of the film. The prologue is a 14-line sonnet that follows the rhythm of the iambic pentameter. This is a rhythm that Shakespeare used so that his text flowed continuously and almost rhymed. The prologue contains information on the recent tragedies in Verona and this is an effective introduction in to the play as it gives you some background information. While the reporter sternly reads the prologue the television screen gradually moves towards you until it fills the screen there is no music playing so the tension is built up as the audience will automatically wonder what is going to happen next. The progression towards the audience by the television is just like a drum roll before meeting the queen. ...read more.


The different images that the two households have are very effective and help the audience to understand who is who. Tybalt the "Prince of Cats" is introduced to the audience with great effect. As he gets out of the car the camera focuses only on his steel heeled leather boots. He walks towards the Montagues and every stride he takes is emphasised as his steel heeled boots clang as they hit the ground. The camera is still only focused on his boots and the audience don't actually know who this man is yet, he has not yet been introduced as Tybalt. This creates tension and helps to make the opening scene effective because the audience don't know whom he is or what is going to happen next. All they know is that the boots come across as something an aggressive person would wear and that the man is a Capulet, so an aggressive Capulet could mean a fight. To increase the tension the music has stopped playing so all the audiences' minds are focused on are Tybalt's boots. The camera now introduces Tybalt and focuses on all his body. He drops a cigar that he was smoking on the floor and again the camera changes its shot to one that is zoomed in on Tybalt's feet and the ground beneath them. ...read more.


This is very effective and it will keep the audience on the edge of there seats until the next scene. The newspaper article not only sums up the opening scene but also gives the audience a little more information about previous brawls. The whole opening scene portrays a typical tragedy. There is loads of waste and destruction and many innocent people are hurt during the scene. It is a typical tragedy. I do feel that at some points the story gives off a biased view to the audience. The Capulets are the big strong household that seem to be able to handle everything, they aren't dressed strangely and they never run away. The Montagues well I feel they are made to look weak. I don't think this is right because you either take the capulet's side because they are big and strong and because the Montagues dress silly, or you take the Montagues side because the Capulet's are ruthless, violent and dangerous. I think that the two households should have been made to be slightly more similar. At the moment it doesn't seem like they would be fighting because the capulet's look like they should have overpowered the Montagues a while ago. Maybe Baz Luhrmann wanted them to be two completely different households, but I just think that at some points as the audience you almost take one households side automatically when the story would be better portrayed if you took no-one's side. ...read more.

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