Romeo and Juliet Essay

The way in which Baz Luhrmann presents the opening of Romeo and Juliet, and
how successful he is in appealing to younger people who are unfamiliar with
Shakespeare.


‘To be or not to be’ and ‘where for art thou Romeo’ are the
stereotypical views of today’s generation towards Shakespeare and his
plays. Baz Luhrmann brings the Shakespearean play to a new level by
modernizing Shakespeare’s famous tragedy ‘Romeo and Juliet’. He replaces
the towns for the cities, the swords for the guns, and London 16th century
to Hollywood 20th century.

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When talking about Shakespeare to a young audience there are many
misconceptions surrounding his plays. People believe the plays are out
dated, and irrelevant to today’s culture. They thought this because
Shakespeare is known for his complicated long winded and confusing plays,
because of the language of the time and how and where it was set meant that
any directors trying to create one of Shakespeare plays would only
reinforce these misconceptions.

In Baz Luhrmann’s (BL) production he attempts to stamp out these ideas of
Shakespeare’s plays with fresh well-known actors, set in a bustling city,
with a modern angle on the play. It opens on long shot of a turned off
television screen. It switches its self on and with every change of the
channel its gives information of the director and producer. Finally a black
female newsreader appears on the TV, this already indicates how BL is
trying to change people view of Shakespeare, as in Shakespearean times
women weren’t allowed to perform let alone black women, so this shows how
BL telling the audience what he doing and how he is changing the face of
Shakespeare. The camera starts to slowly creep towards the presenter on the
television as she begins reading the prologue. Once she has finished the
camera suddenly moves very fast into the T.V past the report and onto a
shot of Verona and the statue at the centre of town it the camera continues
its fast approach cutting to shots of battle and characters as it reaches
its destination, and once it has made it to the head of the statue the
prologue begins once more. During the short amount of time from the end of
the first prologue and the beginning of the second several things are shown
to us, the police helicopters, the gun battles, the buildings, Verona, all
of which will be in the play at some point in the film. This tells us not
only what is to come, which is a visual connection to the prologue, but it
also shows what great and terrible things can happen in a very short space
of time, which in some respects is what the play is about.

The prologue in Shakespearean times was a means to one calm the audience
down because in those days the poorest would stand at the bottom next the
stage in the mud, they would often be load, violent, and would need a means
to be reminded to shut up and start watching the play and the prologue
would be the que for that. The second reason for the prologue would be to
give the often non-educated audience a clue to what would happen during the
play so would get disinterested and give up.

The prologue now begins again with much the same idea, short shots the
various scenes of battle, power, and love, with a gruff distinguished male
voice this time that many would recognise from trailers from other films,
accompanying the audio prologue is visual help with bold bright white words
from on a jet black background for a bigger impact. For further visual help
along with the word its shots from the rest of the film explaining the
prologue e.g. when it says ‘two households’ it shows two families side by
side and then it cuts to two buildings with the words ‘Capulet’ topping one
in bight striking letters and to second building of topped with the word
‘Montague’ in similarly bright letters.

Aside from the distinguished voice, the impressive camera work, and
striking worded a complement for those hard of hearing is the music and
sound effects. The music and the sound effects are the single most powerful
subject in this prologue because without the sound the prologue would be
nothing, it can add drama, love, anger, and can often stir people to tears
and therefore it is often the main ingredient for the perfect film e.g.

Unchained melody in ghost, Aerosmith in Armageddon, and the Shaft theme
tune. All of these songs have made the films famous and therefore the music
is often one of the most important key features to any film. So therefore
the reason this prologue is so hard hitting and powerful is because of the
music.

The visual effect is of coarse are very important as well and for play
it is one of the real quality aspects of the prologue, the angles and shots
not only illustrate what is to come but it also give maybe a medioca
prologue a real sense of excitement and power. The quick shots showing gun
battle, love scenes, and rivalry give the audience a snippet of what’s to
come and audience is ends up longing for more. In some ways this prologue
is more like a trailer. The fast edits, the close ups, the long shots, the
sound effects, and the aerial sots all add to the thrill and suspense of
the movie.

The other main reason why the prologue and the whole film was a success
was its relevance to modern day. Before people believed that Shakespeare
was irrelevant to today’s world but BL brings these old fashioned ideas and
prove the sceptics wrong and using a modern day setting young fresh up and
coming actors and actresses and replacing sword and horses with guns and
cars BL creates and modern master piece from a classic masterpiece. Instead
of changes the script and plot BL just opens people eyes by putting into
setting they can relate to and therefore letting see that this story is a
tale that every one can relate to in the right setting.


p.s. I need help on it.

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