Baz Luhrmann's Film Version of Romeo and Juliet

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Baz Luhrmann's Film Version of Romeo and Juliet Baz Luhrmann’s 1997 version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ significantly attracts today’s audience and not just Shakespearian followers. The film begins with the original prologue from the story, however Luhrmann creates a scene which seems more familiarly to modern viewers rather than something related to the 15th century (the actual point in time when Romeo & Juliet was set). We firstly make out a television box in the centre of a blacked-out screen, which then gets zoomed in on. As a result of using this technique, it immediately notifies the audience that this version of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ is far different from what some people might have expected. A black-American female news reporter soon appears after the static screen and is giving the prologue (in a news flash technique), this shows that the film is situated in a more modern moment in time, where racism and sexism are not accepted, and there are equal opportunities. If you look closely at the background just on the right side of the news reporter, you will notice a picture of a broken wedding ring and with a caption, ‘Star-crossed lovers’. This symbolises what the entire film would be about (two lovers, Romeo & Juliet - lovers they are but never destined to be together). This motivates the audiences into watching the rest of the film, so that they could uncover the reasons for it. After the initial prologue, without warning the camera dramatically zooms extremely fast into the television and onto the statue of Jesus Christ (in the company of rocket-like sounds). The camera then pulls out into a long wide shot and we see two buildin... ... middle of paper ... ...f his modernisation is when (originally) characters use their swords as weapons, but in Luhrmann’s version, he uses guns instead, however they are still referred to as swords (e.g. the labelling of the gun – Ted Montague asking for his Long sword, Benvolio pointing his Sword 9mm series S. In conclusion, I believe Baz Luhrmann has accomplished what he intended to achieve. I felt he was able to re-create one of the most well-known stories of all time and in a way which younger modern audiences would enjoy watching (from personal experiences). Students in schools are taught about Shakespeare and Luhrmann’s version of Romeo & Juliet would allow them to learn with ease – (an alternative to reading the text). I believe it was a wonderful opportunity for me to gain greater understanding towards the study of Shakespeare.
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