William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is fully summarized in Shakespeare's prologue: "Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny where civil blood make civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star crossed lovers who take their life" (Universal, 1996). This movie is a masterful culmination of the director's phenomenal ability to create a powerful introduction, to select a realistic, but surreal setting, to choose realistic actors, and to enact specialized dramatic effects.
Sitting in the theater, watching this movie for the first time, I heard static break in to interrupt the beginning credits. A newscaster, sounding serious, came on the screen in a special report. I sat up to pay attention. She was reporting a tragedy that had recently happened in some place called Verona. I was pulled in thinking it to be a true special report. Ah-hah!! It was a trick. A trick to get people to do just what I did. Trained are we to listen to newscasts, our life-line in present day society, where we receive a lot of our information. A trick, and I fell for it--so did everyone else--how clever. Then the sound of crying, chorusing angels screaming angry chants echoed around the theater (great surround sound effect). Images (clips from the movie) flashed sporadically on the screen. A dark, sinister voice retold Shakespeare's prologue given in the telecast moments before. The angels were still screaming, and then, silence. A big truck flashed on the screen and gave a hearty engine growl. The truck sped loudly down the road. Stringy electric guitars and booming drums thump a loud vengeful beat. The Montague bo...
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...that I know would make Shakespeare himself blush to see how his story has touched so many, so positively in the near twenty-first century.
Streisand, Betsy. "Looking for Mr. Good Bard this fall." U.S. News and World Report. 11 Nov. 1996. <http:Hcallisto.gsu.edu:4000/CGI:html> (5 May 1997).
Lyons, Donald. "Lights, Camera, Shakespeare." Commentary. Feb. 1997. <http://callisto.gsu.edu:4000/CGI:html> (5 May 1997).
Rozen, Leah. "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet." People Weekly. 11 Nov. 1996. <http://callisto.gsu.edu:4000/CGI:html> (5 May 1997).
Johnson, Brian D. "Souping up the Bard." Maclean's. 11 Nov. 1996. <http:Hcallisto.gsu.edu:4000/CGI:html> (5 May 1997).
Luhrmann, Baz, dir. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. With Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes. Universal Pictures Production, 1960.
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