The Relationship Between Capulets and Montagues in Baz Luhman's Version of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
During the course of the opening sequence, Baz Luhrman uses a number
of sequences in a unique way to give a strong, dominant effect. For
one he keeps the authentic text, he simply changes the setting. By
doing so, he opened up the world of Shakespeare to a whole new
generation. Within the short space of only seven minutes, he explains
to the audience just how hot the feud between the two families really
is. This is mainly due to the teenagers and their own reasons for
hating one another.
The 'Montague boys' come across as the peacemakers, the kind of lads
that fight to keep their reputations but would rather resolve the
argument with words, rather than drawing blood: 'I do but keep the
peace, put up thy sword, or manage it to part these men with me.' They
seem considerably more laid back than the 'Capulet boys' who give the
impression of being much more uptight and protective of their
dangerous image: 'the quarrel is between our masters, and us their
Tybalt seems to be the main root of the trouble between the younger
generations, as it is he that refuses to make peace when offered by
Benvolio. The reason for the all of the fighting has been forgotten,
but has now become a desperate attempt to out do one another through
fighting. They are a group of young lads, racing around the city
looking for trouble, using flamboyant cars and big guns; there is a
permanent competition between them.
The film begins with a television screen set quite a distance away,
starting with an extreme long shot; it zooms up to the screen at a
steady pace. The narrator on the screen is repeating the original
prologue that was written by Shakespeare. The fact that a modern day
newsreader is saying it lets the audience no that it is in fact set in
a modern day world, rather than in the era that the text belongs.
Within 20 seconds, Baz Luhrman has already explained so much.
The montage used is made up of whiz pan effects and dozens of cuts
added to make it action packed. Newspaper headlines flash on the
screen along with snippets from news readings, suggesting a feud that
had been occurring for quite a while. The headlines flash on and off
screen within a split second, but unlock key information to just how
long the war had being going on and just how much power the families
have over the city.
The scene following on from the prologue is that of the 'Montague
boys' racing through the street towards the petrol station. The
tracking shot used to follow them to the station gives the true extent
of just how playful these boys are as they are speeding through a busy
street blasting rowdy music.
A simple shot lasting sometimes only a few seconds can make all the
difference to a...