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What are the intended effects of the opening of Baz Luhrmann's 'William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet'?

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Introduction

What are the intended effects of the opening of Baz Luhrmann's 'William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet'? The opening of Baz Luhrmann's film 'William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet', intends to show a modern interpretation of the original play. He uses cars, guns and modern music to appeal to a younger audience. The first film technique used in the opening credits is zoom in. It begins with a black background which makes a distant speck stand out. We hear a woman's voice uttering the Prologue, as the camera zooms in, we see that it is a television set with a female newsreader. The television and newsreader make the audience instantly recognise that it is a different, modern adaptation of 'Romeo and Juliet'. I think this is successful because the audience know from the beginning what Luhrmann's vision is. When the woman finishes speaking the Prologue, it is repeated over a montage. The screen is interspersed with words of the Prologue and establishing shots of Luhrmann's Verona beach. ...read more.

Middle

The film freezes on a long shot of them and says 'The Montague boys' next to them. Throughout the scene, Luhrmann uses this technique to introduce the two 'gangs', the Capulet boys, Abra, Benvolio and Tybalt. This shows the audience that they are enemies. I think this is successful because it builds up tension as the audience await the confrontation. During the fight, the camera flash pans between the faces of the Montagues and Capulets as they fight and argue at the petrol station. Between close-ups of their faces, there is fast cutting which increases the audience's excitement and shows how quickly the action is happening. I think this is successful because it makes the scene fast-paced and exciting. The fight begins when Tybalt enters the scene. The music changes to Western-style cowboy music. This shows the audience that there will be a fight. Luhrmann then introduces slow motion to illustrate certain aspects of Tybalt's character. ...read more.

Conclusion

The soundtrack also changes when he is introduced; it becomes slow music. This shows the audience how he is feeling. As Romeo writes in a book, there is a voiceover saying what he is writing. "O brawling love, O loving hate, O anything of nothing first create." This makes the audience hear what he is thinking. I think all of this is a successful way of introducing Romeo, because it is a contrast of how Luhrmann introduced the other characters. This shows the audience that he is a philosophical character. In the opening of this film, Luhrmann intended to show a thoroughly modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's play. The scene engaged the audience because, although Shakespeare's language is used, the way the action is presented makes the young audience take interest. I think this matched up to Luhrmann's vision because even though he made slight changes to the play, he made a thoroughly modern, dramatic and exhilarating film which got young people interested in Shakespeare. Khadija Jama 10BS ...read more.

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