What makes the opening of Romeo and Juliet so effective?

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What makes the opening of Romeo and Juliet so effective?

There is no dought that the opening to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is very effective in Baz Luhrmann’s new film.

        Unlike most films we are told at the start what is going to happen, we are told it is inevitable. This works very well, as most people know what happens in Romeo and Juliet so doesn’t spoil the film. Shakespeare wrote the prologue but Baz Luhrmann updates it using news media. The first thing that we see is a television in the middle of a dark room being switched on, as the camera gradually zooms in on the television we realise that it is a news broadcast. The presenter is reading Shakespeare’s original prologue about a feud between two families. The camera continues to zoom in so that an image of a broken ring becomes clear in the corner of the screen. The camera then makes you feel as you are entering the news broadcast and out in to a giant city where we see flashes of opposing things between the two families. We are shown two enormous skyscrapers with the names Capulet and Montegue in large capital letters on top of them.

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         To reinforce the conflict between the two families Baz Luhrmann starts off by putting the prologue across in numerous ways. First it is read by the news presenter using the original lines written by Shakespeare, and then secondly by a voice over while we are still watching the contrasting things between the two families like the skyscrapers, newspaper headlines and police helicopters. I think Baz Luhrmann does this to modernise the play for a modern audience just as Shakespeare would have written the play to his audience’s preferences. If Baz Luhrmann was to direct the movie just as the play ...

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This makes some good points on visual and audio presentation but more links need to be made with the original text and the way Shakespeare presented his characters in his original text. 3 Stars