Comparing Movie Versions of Romeo and Juliet

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Comparing Movie Versions of Romeo and Juliet Being faced with Baz Luhrmann’s version of Romeo and Juliet is, to be honest, a little disappointing. At first glance the film looks very promising – a classic love story, great actors and a modern twist. But unfortunately, it just doesn’t work. The opening scene of the film hardly grabs your attention, with a very dull scene in which a newsreader reads out Shakespeare’s original prologue but attempts to make it sound like a news-article. By the time you’ve figured out what’s going on, the film has already started. At this point, the film does wake up a little. Baz Luhrmann chooses to introduce all the characters on the screen (like credits) while in the background we watch the Montagues (Romeo's family) driving along a LA road by the sea. Loud music plays. While hardly captivating stuff, this slightly more interesting scene does serve to catch the audiences attention again, and it holds it for almost 30 seconds. Until you realise that the whole film is still written in Shakespearean English. Which, apart from being just plain boring, is very difficult to understand. The story of Romeo and Juliet is extremely fast moving, and trying to keep up with this whilst translating Shakespeare’s flowery script just serves to either give the viewer a headache or make them give up and find something more interesting to watch. For those of you who don’t know Shakespeare, this beginning scene is one in which groups from the two rival families meet and start fighting. This was originally set in the Market Square, but Baz Luhrmann decided to set it in a petrol station, with the two families meeting while getting gas. The Montagues are portrayed as screaming idiots which, while funny to begin with, soon gets old. Baz Luhrmann’s use of ‘rapid motion’ is quite effective though. The constant speeding up and slowing down makes them seem quite surreal, and does add to their strange image well. The Capulets (Juliet's family) on the other hand are given a much more
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