Analysis of Baz Luhrmann's Use of Cinematic Devices in the Opening Scenes of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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Analysis of Baz Luhrmann's Use of Cinematic Devices in the Opening Scenes of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet Baz Luhrmann's 1997 film version of Romeo and Juliet is updated to the modern age while still retaining the original dialogue. The opening shots are unusual but highly affective. Luhrmann starts off with a static long shot focusing on a TV in the middle of the screen. The television immediately explains that the story has been modernised. He then zooms in slowly, taking the audience with him as we wonder what is going on and what will happen next. The TV changes channel to a news report presented by a coloured female, showing us that the film is firmly set in the 20th Century. The camera then jump into the screen and reveals long shots, pans and aerial shots of the modern city of Verona. This is very effective at adding to the appeal for teenagers. Two sky scrapers, one belonging to the Montagues and one the Capulets, are shown in this scene. This gives us the understanding that they are business rivals. Between the two buildings is a large statue of Jesus, which could show that religion is between the two families. The music over this scene is a very loud dramatic orchestral piece which adds a vivid impact and excites the viewer. Once again a voiceover tells the prologue from the original play. The ending of the film is told in this introduction, but rather than spoiling the film, it makes the viewers wonder how the ending is going to be caused. Here several shots of the huge statue of Jesus that towers over ... ... middle of paper ... ... below with Jesus in between. The police helicopter then flies over, which backs up the modern theme and already tells us that the houses are in tremendous trouble. A news-report with the headline 3rd Civil Brawl, tells us that this sort of thing is not uncommon. I really enjoyed Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. In my opinion, the film would have been a lot better without the unrealistic speeds, sound-effects, and actions. I would of preferred to see a more realistic and serious film with less humour. With all the camera tricks, special effects, and action, it's easy to lose the story in the style. Luhrmann's intent was never to drown Shakespeare's dialogue in technique, but it happens. But all in all, I believe this film was a success at converting the romantic tragedy, into a modern Hollywood movie.

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