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How does Baz Luhrmann use props, iconography, costumes and settings to create his own version of William Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet?

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Introduction

How does Baz Luhrmann use props, iconography, costumes and settings to create his own version of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet? William Shakespeare's best loved tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, has been portrayed in theatres and on film in many different ways. But none have been quite like Baz Luhrmann's imaginative and unconventional adaptation. He has brought aspects of the plays Elizabethan origins and transfused them with a modern day background and created, what can only be described as a masterpiece. I believe that his use of Props, iconography costumes and the settings he has chosen has helped him to make this film such a great success. The settings of each scene have been specifically chosen to create a desired affect. The first scene is a television which automatically brings the modern feel to the film. As the camera gives the sense of the television moving slowly towards us we suddenly break into a quick speedy montage showing the story and some of the characters. The introduction to the play is repeated, once on the television by the news reader and again during the opening montage. ...read more.

Middle

They meet again by the swimming pool but this seems to bring them closer together. The earth element is brought in when Romeo is in the desert. Although it is interrupted by the caravan homes there is an impression of being at one with the earth. Air, the final element, is I think brought in by the deep love that Romeo and Juliet share. They feel the need to be with each other all the time even though their families wouldn't allow it; they need each other, like they need air. The first shot of Romeo is at the beach, a main setting for the Montagues. He is under a stage setting which emphasises the amount of drama to come during the play. He looks very sad sat here as if he knows what might happen at this place later on in the film. The fair ground that him and his cousin Benvolio are seen at, creates the illusion that Romeo, unlike his friends, wants to grow up and leave all the playing and fighting behind. The pool hall they enter is a play on words it's called 'the Globe Theatre'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Paris however does not fit into any category with what he is wearing; he is dressed as an astronaut. He is very out of place. To show that these two families are stupidly rich, Baz uses limos and convertible cars along with their mansions. Money is not an issue to these families. The families are also very religious; this is shown by the iconography in the film. The title of the film 'Romeo + Juliet' there is a cross in the middle which can indicate religion or the joining of two people. With crosses shaved into characters heads, t-shirts with saintly figures, and even characters stance shaped like Jesus this shows that religion is not only part of the families' lifestyles but also a very important aspect of the play. Props, iconography setting, and costumes play a large roll in this film and every other film. Without these I think we would find it hard to follow the story and most importantly to relate to the characters. Baz Luhrmann has done this film in a unique and brilliant way, with help of the above, and of course a great loved story as a base. ...read more.

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