The Effective Use of Film Making Techniques to Engage Modern Society in Buz Luhrmann's Film Version of Romeo and Juliet

The Effective Use of Film Making Techniques to Engage Modern Society in Buz Luhrmann's Film Version of Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet is William Shakespeare's timeless tale about two 'star crossed lovers'. It was originally written in the 16th century and was thoroughly enjoyed by its audience in that era. When comparing the movie adaptation of Romeo and Juliet directed by Baz Luhrmann to the original Shakespeare text, many differences are evident. Through the imaginative use of modernization, Baz Luhrmann makes it appealing to a 21st Century audience. Luhrmann captures the aspects in Shakespeare’s text to suit the present-day viewer, through the help of features such as: mise-en-scene, camera-work, editing and sounds. By paying incredible attention to every detail, Luhrmann assures that the tale of ancient grudge, fate and love was made entirely accessible to the younger generation. Within the essay, I will be contemplating on these features and furthermore, will discuss how they engage the modern audience.
The Prologue
Baz Luhrmann opens 'Romeo and Juliet' with an exceptional beginning, by creating an effective prologue which sets the stage for the movie. The feature of a prologue immediately grabs the attention of the viewer and keeps them captivated; the prologue is used to highlight the contrast in 'Romeo and Juliet' and typical modern day films - that no present day movies contain a prologue and using this technique will engage the modern audience.
The film begins with the camera gradually zooming in on a de-tuned television, whilst a crepitating sound (white noise) is produced. Abruptly, the channels on the television screen begin to change, and this is to acquaint and also to inform the audience that they are watching a modernised adaptation of the classic tale. The conventional* sound of a T.V. will further please the audience and e...


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...the audience begin to discover the character of Romeo.

I believe that modernization was an ingenious way of adapting the film for the modern society. Despite the use of contemporary locations and new props such as guns it was still, in my opinion, a great way for all communities – older and the younger generation to be entertained while still gaining knowledge of the classic tale. By preserving the Shakespearean language it persists to echo the spirit of the original text. With the use of brilliant editing and sound in the prologue, the sound effects and camerawork in the opening scene and the use of remarkable shots and lighting throughout the Sycamore Grove scene, this movie is an exceptional production which shows Baz Luhrmann’s skill in generating a memorable introduction, despite using a surreal* setting, it engages the modern audience right the way through.

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