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How Successful is Baz Luhrmann in presenting Shakespeare to the modern audience in his film 'Romeo and Juliet'? Refer closely to the films opening scenes to support your view.

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Introduction

How Successful is Baz Luhrmann in presenting Shakespeare to the modern audience in his film 'Romeo and Juliet'? Refer closely to the films opening scenes to support your view. Recreated for the 20th century audience, 'Romeo and Juliet' is a fantastic performance. Baz Luhrmann shows a stunning adaptation of William Shakespeare's well-known love story. He successfully keeps the impact and meaning of the plot while still portraying the traditional and contemporary style. Despite Romeo and Juliet being a traditional play, Luhrmann makes his version stylised to attract younger audiences, making Shakespeare appeal to a wider range of people. It is clear that Baz Luhrmann's intentions were to make the film as if Shakespeare was directing and focusing it on people in the 20th century. By using modern music and fantastic sound effects as well as incorporating young modern actors, Luhrmann portrays this in the film very well. Luhrmann's innovative flair is due to the fast pace of the film, as it draws the audience in straight away. The fast pace creates excitement and exhilaration. The use of intense action grips the attention of the audience keeping them glued to their seats. This works well with the modern day audience and people enjoy taking in a lot of information in one go due to the lives they lead. ...read more.

Middle

It contemporises well with the original setting as a petrol station is where everyone meets, it is impossible not to encounter other people as at a petrol station there is a lot of action and you are unable to avoid anyone. The location reflects the 20th century theme of the movie. The use of costume in the film portrays the difference in the family houses very effectively. The Montagues are shown to wear Hawaiian shirts, one even unbuttoned to reveal bare chest. They have a more casual and rebellious style and dress code and hair; pink, shaved and bleached. Luhrmann uses the images of the families to make one appear submissive and docile while the other is devious and ingenuous. The Capulet's have quite clearly been portrayed as the 'baddies' of the story. Set in Miami the use of flamenco style is captured clearly in the Capulet's style giving them a superior Spanish appearance. Their overall appearance shows that they are passionate and serious about the rivalry between the families. The use of iconography also helps the audience distinguish the two families. Each house displays their coat of arms with pride and honour. Each Capulet wears a cross round their neck emphasizing their religious faith, while the Montagues wear army tags, which gives them an inferior appearance to the Capulets. ...read more.

Conclusion

This links in well as it suggests to the characters that they should add more rage and disgust to their hatred to the opposing family. This reveals to the audience the amount of anger and fury the houses have for each other and it also indicates that something big is going to take place. Each sign shown in the film assists the audience in understanding the characters and the story. This is a clever idea of Luhrmann's as it helps the audience to get more involved. With aggression and rage in the air, guns are let lose with bullets flying in all directions. The Montagues continuously hit the 'add more fuel to your fire' sign. This indicates that by doing this, the Capulets become more enraged and aggravated in the situation. This gives the Montague boys some power over the Capulets as they can annoy and torment them. With bullets soaring through the air and petrol pumps in range, it is apparent that this is a dangerous situation. With an explosion, Luhrmann nicely closes of the opening scene. Fire is used to show the themes of anger and the feud between the two families it is also used to hint to the viewers what will happen later in the film. There are close up scenes of the signs being destroyed by the naked flames. This suggests to the audiences that this civil brawl will never cease. Rachael Hole English Media Studies ...read more.

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