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The Opening Of Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet

1086 words - 4 pages

The Opening of Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

The opening of a film can make or break it - it is a vital factor
determining whether or not the audience will want to watch the rest of
the film. It must capture the audience's attention and imagination, be
striking and introduce main characters and plotlines in an interesting
way. The opening of Baz Luhrmann's 'William Shakespeare's Romeo +
Juliet' certainly captures the attention of the audience, and is in my
opinion incredibly effective. As there is so much material in the
prologue, I have chosen only to concentrate of this part of the
opening.

First, it is interesting that Luhrmann should choose to include
Shakespeare in the title of his film, as very little of the original
Shakespearian elements remain in Luhrmann's interpretation; Luhrmann
has made it entirely his own. However, this certainly hasn't had any
unfavourable effects on the play. In fact, in my opinion, his
interpretation is, if anything, more enjoyable than the play in it's
original form.

The movie opens immediately, with no opening credits of any kind. On
screen is an old-fashioned TV with a blank and fuzzy screen. We hear
clicks like someone pressing the buttons on a TV remote, and then a
newsreader appears onscreen reading the prologue as though it were a
news bulletin about the recent feuds between the Montagues and
Capulets. This gives us a sense of immediacy - that the events she
speaks about are happening now, and we are in Verona Beach witnessing
them. The newsreader is a black woman, showing the modern concept of
equal rights, but is also important to note a lot of the 'passive'
characters in the film (those not directly involved in the feuding)
are black - Mercutio and the Prince are two good examples. She is also
dressed in red - a colour symbolising blood, death and passion, some
of the themes around which the play centres. Also, by using the modern
concepts of television and news bulletins, and by dressing the
newsreader in modern clothes, the time frame of the film is set
straight away.

As the bulletin ends, the camera comes closer and closer to the screen
of the TV, eventually giving the effect that the audience are sucked
into the screen, again adding to the feeling of immediacy and
proximity to the action. The camera then rushes along a street, with
the Montague building on one side and the Capulet building on the
other. In the middle is a statue of Jesus. This theme is continued
slightly later, when they show the two family trees, again with
Montagues on one side, Capulets on the other and a picture of Jesus in
the middle. This shows that religion is the one...

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