In this essay I intend to analyse and describe how Baz Luhrmann has converted William Shakespeare’s written play of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ into a modern play, I will show proof and understanding of how he has succeeded in bringing the play into the modern world.
The play ‘Romeo & Juliet’ is known as a legendary romantic play written by a well-known writer named
‘William Shakespeare’. This writer reformed the interest in poetry and plays, by experimenting with words and making his own technique of back-to-front words to mystify and play with the reader’s mind and thoughts, which made his plays interesting for readers, this is how he changed English history and people appreciate his plays.
William Shakespeare was born in 1564, the time when the famous scientist named ‘Galileo’ was experimenting with modernism. At the time of this famous writers birth, after a few years the ‘Battle of Lepanto’ started. During the birth of the writer in China the Ming Dynasty’s pottery work was taking place. Shakespeare’s birth was at a famous time as this was the time when the ‘Renaissance’ was occurring.
The Renaissance was the rebirth of ancient culture and the period of when the European history had a renewed interest in arts. Literally the term renaissance means ‘the rebirth’, and this rebirth started in the 14th century and started spreading till the 17th century.
From all these events taking place, it can be determined how Shakespeare’s childhood would have been as everything was still in the process of formation and rebirth.
Shakespeare would have been an ordinary person taking over his father’s business, which did not happen because of financial situations. As Shakespeare got older he was devoted to English literature, in 1582 he got married to a women named ‘Anne Hathaway’, but after his marriage his devotion to literature increased and he came London in 1588, where he had all the opportunities he needed to become famous. In 1592 he attained success and became an actor and a playwright, after three years of success he wrote the famous play Romeo & Juliet.
Each play written by Shakespeare has a particular point, which it tries to make to the audience and this point is made to resemble with the real life themes. As Shakespeare wrote more and more plays he got famous and most of his plays where acted out and presented at the London Globe theatre.
The Globe theatre was a very famous theatre in Shakespeare’s time, this theatre was octagon in shape and it was divided into three columns, each column higher then the previous one. People where allowed to choose which seat they want and in which column, depending on how much money they are going to spend on their ticket. There was the groundling level, and then the column levels and as the columns went up the better the view was and the more the ticket would costs. The main best features of the theatre was the trap door, the balcony and the unique shape of the theatre, whenever there was a play being presented a flag would be risen up located at the top of the theatre.
After William Shakespeare wrote a series of plays he tragically died in 1616 and he was buried at the Stratford church, but his plays are still acted out and appreciated by people. Even though Shakespeare’s not in the modern world, his plays are being presented in the modern world and other writers and directors are making evaluated versions of his plays, trying to reform the plays in the modern world, and Baz Luhrmann is one of the reformers of his play.
In the opening of the play ‘Romeo & Juliet’, Shakespeare makes the play clear to the audience by giving the audience a preview of where the scene is set, who is the main characters or in this play the main families starring in the play, and he makes it clear that two star-crossed lovers die in the play.
Shakespeare does this through the use of a prologue, but he could not use techniques or special effects, which would entertain and be appealing to the audience, which is why he has used powerful and imaginative words to create interesting abrupt sentences. He has used words that are likely to attract the audience, words such as:
‘Alike’, a hypocritical word used to describe the two households as being similar in manner, but in the story it is revealed of how different the two families are to each other, by special features used such as the Capulet boys seem to be more violent then the other household. This would create a picture in the reader’s mind of two families who are the same and the families are friends.
‘Dignity’, a word that describes a calm and serious manner or style of a person, a person showing suitable formalities and the word can also mean a person with a high ranking.
‘Fair’, a word that Shakespeare has used to describe the place ‘Verona’ where the scene is set, but this word describes the place in a hypocritical way as this is found out later on in the story.
‘Ancient’, is a word giving the audience an idea of a very long history of something.
‘Grudge’, an attractive word, a word that is describing the state of the war between the two households, a word meaning a feel of resentment, or allowing something to happen.
‘New’, a word used by the writer to contrast with the word ancient.
‘Mutiny’, a powerful word as well as attractive, meaning a change.
‘Blood’ word, that Shakespeare has used to create the picture in the reader’s head of non-stop violence and people getting hurt for the reason of the quarrels between the two households.
‘Fatal’, a word that changes the atmosphere and the mood, this word means something lethal or deadly.
‘Loins’, this word means two sides and it is a pun, in this play Shakespeare has used this word to make the reader image of the two buildings standing side-by-side with a small gap in between, this word can also mean the two sides which is love and hate.
‘Foe’, another superior word meaning enemy.
‘Strife’, a word meaning trouble and fighting
‘Star-crossed lovers’, a word which has the ability to adjust the mood, a word used by Shakespeare to play with the readers thoughts and illusions, this word suggests a completely different outcome to the beginning of the prologue.
‘Misadventured’, means a bad luck, or a death caused unintentionally by a deliberate act but with no crime involved. Shakespeare chooses this word because this one word can briefly explain of what happens to the star-crossed lovers.
‘Piteous’, means an act of sadness or something pathetic, this word is a pun (words with two meanings) because it can mean to describe the sadness of the story and also the pathetic act of the lovers. Shakespeare might have chosen this word because it has got two meanings (a pun).
‘Death-marked’, something intended to die, these are interesting descriptive words used by Shakespeare.
‘Two hours’ traffic’, Shakespeare has used interesting imaginative words in order to grab the reader’s attention to the story and he has used these words to describe how the two household arguments has become a public issue, and how it affects the city.
In contrast Baz Luhrmann had the advantage to use modern techniques as well as special effects and this is how he made his prologue much more attractive through the use of pictures and sounds.
Shakespeare’s play is script version, and Baz Luhrmann’s version is video version, which is easy to understand and can be viewed by anyone, as it can be viewed on the modern appliance, which is a television, an appliance which was not invented in Shakespeare’s time.
Baz Luhrmann has taken his modern version of the play further, by presenting the prologue in a very rare and unique way as he has starts to bring the play into the modern world by presenting his prologue with a technique of a television within a television to create special effects.
Baz Luhrmann has and has created an effect, which would have been impossible in Shakespeare’s time and this would be attractive to the modern world as it is something out of the ordinary.
Baz Luhrmann presents a distant television for the prologue and the prologue itself has been shown in a very unique and modern way. The television is flicking through the channels, the ‘twentieth century fox presents’ and ‘a Bazmark production’ signs are shown on two channels and the television flicks to a news channel, this suggests Baz Luhrmann is flicking through the channels until he finds something of his interest.
The prologue is shown as a news report, Luhrmann has used broadcasting to make the audience accept the story. The news is a modern feature and it is very important in the modern world, which Luhrmann has used as a resource to attract a modern audience, he has presented the news report to resemble to a real news report.
The anchor women is a news presenter who has been particularly chosen by Luhrmann to be a female, because this would not be done in Shakespeare’s time as woman where not allowed to act on stage, this suggests that Luhrmann has started bringing the play into the modern world by some use of female actresses.
The use of woman in the play suggests that Luhrmann has carefully thought of all the biggest to the smallest factors, which would create an atmosphere resembling to the modern world.
The woman speaks in a very serious and formal manner, in a restrained tone of breaking news, as she says the prologue it can be seen that the distant television is slowly drifting forwards, as if the audience are being invited into the scene.
In the top right hand corner there is a picture of a broken Wedding ring, slightly joined back together with the words ‘I love thee’ engraved on it, this ring symbolises the love of Romeo & Juliet and a heart being broken, or the two-star crossed lovers not have been able to unite. Underneath this picture it says the words ‘star-crossed lovers’, this suggests the lovers where doomed or where not able to be together.
As the news presenter is about to finish her lines, the television stops drifting closer to the audience and after the she has finished, the television is made larger and a effect is created by Luhrmann, which makes the audience think as if they are zooming right into the television and then the place where the scene is set is shown.
Baz Luhrmann has used a special effect, which makes the audience think they have now entered into the scene. The city is shown in fast-pace, a technique which gives the audience a quick preview of the city as if Luhrmann is giving the audience a quick introduction to the city, this fast-pace technique can be seen as a fast non-stop journey. This technique is as if the audience are flying past all the buildings in the place and are focusing into the particular parts of the city, where the two families live.
This fast-pace is done by Luhrmann to get to the main points, which are the words ‘In fair Verona’ flashing four times and the word ‘fair’ shows some use of hypocrisy (a statement which is false). The word ‘fair’ is describing the city as unblemished and a clean place, but later in the story Luhrmann reveals the violence and corruption through the common modern corruption play, which is prostitution & violence in the city.
The words ‘In fair Verona’ also give an idea to the audience that they have now entered the city.
Baz Luhrmann has chose very fast loud serious religious Christianity music, for the city introduction part and this has been chosen by him to work well with the fast-pace technique and the ‘In fair Verona’ words and the viewing of the city, the music sums all these effect to create a special climax effect.
Shakespeare’s use of imaginative words works miraculously well to create a good illusion in the readers mind but Luhrmann’s use of techniques, effects, features, pictures, and clippings suggests Luhrmann’s production to be more exceedingly attractive, understandable and a successful evolution from Shakespeare’s written play.
A statue of Christ being constructed in between the two households, Luhrmann has used this statue to symbolise the two households being kept apart, they cannot be together and they’re in competition with each other. Most specifically this statue standing in between the two buildings symbolises love between hate.
Baz Luhrmann has once more repeated the prologue, but this time in a different form and manner, as this time the actual plot is shown and pictures and extreme clips are shown from the story and a third person is narrating.
The camera cranes further up to an aerial-view wide-shot of the city, an enormous statue of Christ flanked by two towering glass office blocks, one submitted with the name Capulet and the other, Montague. This is a key image, the corporation buildings with the statue of Christ squarely between them are a potent symbol of the forces, which motivate, dominate and divide the people in the story. These two buildings are shown and Luhrmann has made it easy to understand of which family lives in which building as pictures of Montague, lady Montague and Romeo as a child is shown on the left building and Capulet, lady Capulet and Juliet as a child is shown on the right building and these buildings are divided up by Christ.
The layout of this represents that the two families are business rivals.
The words ‘In fair Verona’ is shown once more, this suggests some use of reputation, and the whole city is shown from a helicopter view as the prologue is read out once more.
The whole screen then bursts with a montage of newspaper headlines in the form of fragmentary quotations reprising the Prologue’s text (‘In fair Verona’, ‘ancient grudge’, ‘new mutiny’), with photographs and clippings.
Baz Luhrmann has once more made it clear to the audience of what is happening in the city and the words ‘fair Verona’ are now being contrasted with the prologue and clippings as the words suggests clean and unblemished place, but in actually it is shown in the prologue that the city is in need of help and corruption and the two business rival family wars are the main cause for concern in the city.
Viewing the words ‘fair Verona’ in one minute and people being killed in Verona and violence in the next minute, Luhrmann has used hypocorism. This is an effective technique used by the writer, as it would make the audience argue that Verona is filled with corruption and war and saying ‘fair’ to this city is totally inconsiderable or wrong.
Certain parts of the prologue are shown in words on the screen when the narrator says them; they have been slightly abbreviated by Luhrmann.
Shakespeare script version says:
‘A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life’
Baz Luhrmann abbreviation says:
‘A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life’
A difference made by Luhrmann, this is done to shorten the sentences or make an effect.
As the prologue is repeated, the words ‘take their life’ is shown and the ‘t’ in the word ‘take’ is symbolised as a cross, this suggests it was not meant to be that the lovers take their life and this symbol makes the audience sympathetic to the play. It can also suggest religion and it can refer back to the statue of Jesus, it represents religion, the importance of religion and the power of religion in the play.
Baz Luhrmann starts to present all the characters, telling the audience clearly and exactly who each character is, using convictions of the modern world, and each character is introduced in an effective sequence, as the most important people in the story are introduced first.
When all the characters are introduced, all the sentences are shown back on the screen very rapidly, to give a final preview to the audience for the story, this technique bundles all the information given for the story to the audience and it is very effective with the religious music.
The title of the video is shown:
Shakespeare’s version title: Baz Luhrmann’s version title:
‘Romeo & Juliet’ ‘Romeo + Juliet
The plus sign in Luhrmann’s version represents a blood red cross, which is symbolising religion, and danger being represented as love. It can also represent a cross, showing the importance of religion in the story.
Baz Luhrmann has carefully chosen actors & actresses who have the right personality, speciality and looks for a particular character in the story.
For Juliet’s part, a person who is pretty and young in age is needed, and so Luhrmann has chose a very young and mature in manner person to act Juliet’s part. Clare Danes acting as Juliet is no naive schoolgirl; she is sophisticated and sexually aware. An accomplished and talented actress, she moves convincingly from portraying an infatuated ingï¿½nue to a determined, self-reliant and resourceful young woman.
Each characters entrance is at a particular time in the story and each person has a different personality, a speciality and a good look to make it interesting for the audience, whenever each character is introduced they have been given different music and colours used to represent each characters.
To represent the anger of Tybalt to the Montague family he has the looks to portray this, as he has brown eyes to show anger and he has been given the part of crushing a cigarette, which represents the anger and the music has been particularly chosen for him, which sounds evil and creates tension.
For Romeo, he has been given a different part, and his own type of romantic slow moving music to suit his role and the of colour that is used in the background up on his first entrance, the colours of the sun represents Romeo’s personality in the play.
The Montague family, wear more colourful clothes and they live a natural, normal life style, but Romeo is the odd one who is always in his own world, thinking about love all the time.
The Capulet family wear western clothes (Tybalt’s shoes) and behave in a western way (especially Tybalt) and they are the family that causing the most problems, they are more dangerous.
(Sampson is a servant from the Capulet household in Shakespeare’s play, but in Luhrmann’s version he is a Montague)
Sampson Montague, behaves hard and cool because he is shouting his first few lines and is wearing sunglasses, he behaves as though he owns the whole city when he is introduced, he is wearing a chain with a symbol of the cross, which represents Sampson’s belief in religion.
Later in the story it is revealed that Sampson has been shown as a hypocrite, as he is easily scared, this is suggested because when Sampson sees Abra, he starts to sweat and he is scared. When he sees Abra’s teeth guard, he is totally scared to pull his gun out and he backs away, his tone of voice changes to a low fast voice, which is an indication that he is frightened. Sampson is also suggested to be scared for the reason that in the film he was not coming up front to Abra and he kept hiding in the car, and when Abra asked Gregory if he bit his thumb at him, then Sampson was sweating and he shouted “No” in a very fearful tone of voice. All these facts suggest Sampson of being a hypocrite, because when he was first introduced he behaved different to how he behaved up on facing his enemy. He sometimes acts asinine.
(Gregory is a servant from the Capulet household in Shakespeare’s play, but in Luhrmann’s version he is a Montague)
Gregory Montague behaves in a similar way to Sampson he acts hard and cool, this is suggested because he is wearing sunglasses and he has dyed his hair pink, which is what Gothic people do and this is not common, this is a modern feature used by Luhrmann. Gregory sometimes acts asinine
Gregory intends to show of as this is suggested because he stands up in the Montague car and shouts.
Gregory is braver then Sampson because when he gets annoyed he faces Abra and does quarrel which means he is not scared as Sampson. In Shakespeare’s play these two servants are having an argument about one being better then the other, but Luhrmann has changed this part.
Gregory has got a funny tone of voice as when he is first introduced he does not seem to stop laughing, but upon facing his enemy he is sweating, scared and is shouting fearfully at his enemy.
Benvolio is from the Montague household, known as the peacekeeper, but also known as Romeo’s cousin.
Although Benvolio Montague wears sunglasses he does not intend to show off as much as the other two Montague boys, and he wears a ring with the cross symbol which refers back to religion.
He intends that there should be no fight and only peace as he says so himself (“I do but keep the peace”) although Benvolio does not intend to fight, instead of talking to the enemies trying to request peace, he does at one point pull his gun out at his enemies in the petrol station, which suggests him to be slightly hypocritical. At one point Baz Luhrmann shows the colour of Benvolio’s eyes contrasting with the colour of Tybalt’s eyes with the use of a close up shot; this is done by Luhrmann to show Benvolio’s innocence and fear of Tybalt.
Tybalt is a Capulet, who is Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt Capulet is tough and fearless, because he comes out of his car in a cowboy manner and the music changes to western music, he’s wearing shades, his shoes are hard cowboy shoes and he crushes his cigarette until the cigarette is fully crushed which shows him being hard. This suggests Tybalt to be hard and dangerous, which Luhrmann has portrayed through Tybalt lighting a cigarette with a match and throwing the match on the floor when the match is alight and crushing a cigarette in a petrol station, which is dangerous. When the petrol station is on fire Tybalt does not care to run away from it this suggests Tybalt to be tough and fearless. Tybalt has a very bad hostile behaviour. Tybalt wears a waistcoat with a colourful picture of Christ. Using a close up shot, Baz Luhrmann allows the audience to see the colour of Tybalt’s eyes contrasting with the colour of Benvolio’s eyes, this was done by Luhrmann to show that Tybalt is more dangerous then Benvolio and that he resembles to a devil. When Tybalt says, “Peace, I hate the word,” he says it in a style as if he is saying he hates God. After he says, “As I hate hell, all Montague’s”, he crushes his cigarette this portrays Tybalt’s hatred for the Montague family. Tybalt’s entrance, borrows from the ‘spaghetti western’ genre, the cliched scene of the ‘baddy’ making his first appearance.
Tybalt is suggested to be a baddy in this story and he is shown as that because of the way he shot Sampson and even after he shot Sampson he took a zip of the cigarette, which shows him not caring a bit if a person is killed.
(Abra’s original name from Shakespeare’s written play was Abram, which Luhrmann changed to Abra for a modern evil type name)
Abra is from the Capulet household, he is a tough and a fearless person, as he does not give any clue in the story of that he is afraid and he is wearing shades and a teeth guard, and Luhrmann represents the modern world by the use of the newly invented teeth guards. Not only does these teeth guards suggests they make Abra stand out but they also represent Abra to be evil as for the reason that it is printed on the teeth guard ‘Sin’, which basically means a misdeed.
In contrast he is wearing a chain with a symbol of the cross, which represents the belief of religion and the sin teeth guard represents Abra’s belief in evil, this tells us that Abra is a hypocrite.
Romeo is from the Montague household also one of the main characters in the play and he is a person who totally disagrees with fighting and he is always in his own world, which is suggested because of the way he reacts when he sees his father driving passed him he says “Was that my father that went hence so fast?”
Caption Prince is the person who is sick and tired of the brawls between the two families, and he is Abolitionist.
Baz Luhrmann has cut and changed lines for each character, and he has changed them so they resemble with the modern English informal language, then the olden formal Shakespeare’s language, the lines which he has cut have been revealed through the childish acting of the boys. For example, in the story the first line is Sampson saying, “A dog of the house of Montague moves me” in Shakespeare’s written play, but in Luhrmann’s he has changed the script by saying “A dog of the house of Capulet moves me”.
Baz Luhrmann has used expressions of each characters to portray, the lines which he has cut.
OF BAZ LUHRMANN’S ROMEO+JULIET
Baz Luhrmann has successfully modernised Romeo & Juliet use of vivid and intense colours, vibrant and modern colours with a predominance of primaries favoured. The colour combinations portray the modern features of the up-to-date world, and colours are used to represent a lot of the differences between the two households.
The colourful atmosphere in the city, suggests that Luhrmann has used one of the best places and best looking petrol stations in Verona to represent the modern world.
As well as the atmosphere Luhrmann has used a dangerous place in order to create tension, and to represent a dangerous place to play with fire; which means it is very dangerous to light here. This petrol station is portrayed as a dangerous place by the use of colours, as when the Montague boys first arrive here, a board is shown of ‘phoenix gas station’ and it is coloured in vibrant colours with a red colour used for the word ‘gas’ which represents danger. At the petrol station, much of Shakespeare’s dialogue is intact, but the action and style of editing soon tells us we are seeing a parody of two genres: modern ‘action’ films and westerns.
In the end of the petrol station scene, the petrol station is completely annihilated, which shows the private war causing problems for the public.
Baz Luhrmann has used a modern colour for Gregory’s hair (pink) and in Shakespeare’s time, people did not dye their hair so Luhrmann has shown a modern feature by representing unique colour dyed hair.
The use of colour co-ordination, which Baz Luhrmann has used into choosing, the colours of the cars that the households drive are chosen to suit the households. This is suggested because the Montague boys are more open and wild to the natural world, and Luhrmann has chosen a trendy light shining yellow coloured car to suit the personality of the Montague boys and to suit with the time of day and weather.
In contrast Luhrmann has chosen a dark abominable angry blue colour for the Capulet boys, Luhrmann has used this colour to represent the deep utter difference between the two households. Luhrmann has chosen this colour to suit the personality of the Capulet boys, as the boys dress in dark colours and are hard, the colour scheme works with the personality of the boys. Luhrmann introduces the Capulet family in a more serious practical manner, this is suggested because the Capulet car is a common colour and it has tinted windows; this suggests use of modern features.
The colours, which Luhrmann has used for the dressing of the Montague boys, are effective modern colours, and they show the insight of the personality of Montague boys.
In contrast the Capulet boys are shown to be very different by Luhrmann, as he has used colour combinations to show the difference of the two households. The Capulet boys dress very different to the Montague boys because they wear dark black clothes and silver shoes, cowboy style.
Not only does Luhrmann show use of car colours and the colours of clothes, but to show the darkness of the Capulet household to contrast it with the colourful Montague household, Luhrmann has gone as far as using eye colours to contrast the difference between the two households. When the camera shows a close up shot to the eyes of Tybalt and Benvolio, the difference of the two households is shown by Tybalt’s dark brown eyes contrasting with Benvolio’s innocent light blue eyes and it can be suggested that Luhrmann used the modern eye technology of eye contacts to create this effect.
When Romeo is introduced the background colour of the sun, suggests Luhrmann chose this particular part of Verona to shoot this scene, to separate the love from hate by showing love conquering hate and the colours also gives an idea of the modern use in the play.
When Romeo starts to walk, the colours change and from the sun shining on Romeo, the colours become positive and sharp, to portray Romeo coming back to the real world from his dream world.
The modern world can be seen in the story, by just looking at the colour of the sky (light blue), which is a modern colour.
The costumes work well as an element in the films design, because they illuminate an important element of the character who wears the clothes. The set design, however, is even more complicated in its details. Again, Luhrmann fills the screen with references; you could even look for the Shakespeare allusions in some scenes.
Baz Luhrmann has considered that music is one of the effective techniques, which he can use to bring Romeo & Juliet into the modern world and by using music he can set the moods for each part where it is appropriate and create certain effects. Luhrmann has modernised Romeo & Juliet with the use of music as well as features.
Baz Luhrmann has used a different sort of music for the prologue, because he has used serious religious Christianity music, and this causes the audience into being attracted to the story and it sets the mood, to a very serious audience, this music has the ability to represent religion as being one of the themes in this play. This serious music blends well with the statue of Christ.
To contrast with this Luhrmann has used very loud heavy rock music, for when the Montague boys are introduced, this music creates a mood that makes the audience relax and act normal. A narrator shouts out in a particular part of the music the words “the boys, the boys”, a very different tone of accent, it suits the tone of the music, and the accent is modern with which it is trying to give the audience an impression of the Montague boys as being hard rock boys.
In contrast to this, to provoke the difference between the two households, when the Capulet boys are introduced, the music changes straight away to Western music, which sets a mood to the audience that they find it attractive and interesting.
These two different types of music’s for the entrance of the boys represent the differences between the households.
The brawl between the boys starts which activates the western styled war music, which blends very well with the camera effects. There is a lot of frequent change of music depending on which character is being shown, this suggests that Luhrmann has chosen particular music for each characters. When Benvolio is introduced, the music changes to western surprising music, which has been chosen to attract the audience, to this tension moment. When Benvolio says, “put up your swords”, a length of silence is used to create tension in the scene, until Tybalt is introduced, where the music changes again and creates more tension.
The music changes when the fighting starts to western war music, which would set a different mood and it would start to reveal the true normal life of the two households (arguments and fights).
Once the 3rd brawl has started, the music changes back to the religious Christianity serious music, this creates a mood of the war never ending. When the Prince tells Tybalt and Benvolio to drop their guns, the music stops, which is as though trouble has stopped only for a while. Once Romeo’s parents are introduced, the music completely changes, from serious music to love music as the story is drifting from the public life to the private life of Romeo, Luhrmann has used music to show the modern way of changing moods and shifting back and forth from public lives to private lives.
Some of the camera techniques and effects are very effective and do play an important part into bringing the play in the modern world. The techniques create special effects as the camera men has used shots, which go from letting the audience know where the scene is set, to who is in the scene and introductions to both sides of the households. The camera techniques are very positive to the point and are kept the same throughout the whole scene.
A good camera technique was when Tybalt came out of his car, the camera shot flew and zoomed straight from the edge of the back tires to see who was about to come out of the car, and the zooming in was done very fast, in a effective stance and a modern move. When Tybalt has come out of his car he crushes his cigarette and after he leaves the car, the camcorder angle is still facing down at the crushed cigarette until Abra also comes out, this is when the nuns appear and the camera follows the leading nun. When the nuns go passed and Abra comes out of the car, the music tone changes and it’s the sort of music used by Luhrmann, which sounds surprising, this music creates an effect that Abra is a very dangerous man in the story. After the girls and nuns are in the van the camera comes to a side and very fast movement occurs where the van leaves very quickly and the camera catches sight of Abra’s face for the first time. The camera zooms right to Abra’s face, making a close-up shot, and a close up shot has been used a lot of times in the scene. When Benvolio’s and Tybalt’s eyes are shown a close up shot is used, when the camera cranes up to meet the dark cold eyes and feline smile of Tybalt a close up shot is used, these types of shots are modern special effects of a camcorder. When the brawl starts the full panoply of effects from a modern action movie, is used and rapid sequence of cuts, whip pans, tilts, extreme close-ups, distortions, slam zooms, and crane shots are used.
Baz Luhrmann makes it very clear of where the scene is set by using different camera techniques used to showing the petrol station board, and the petrol pumps, which can also represent danger, as well as a public place.
The striking and powerful effect that Luhrmann has used is special features, which create atmosphere and reveals the truth.
A special effect is created when Tybalt comes out of his car and crushes his cigarette and innocent nuns pass by where the cigarette is, this refers back to religion and this suggests from changing to a hard rock mood to a sympathetic mood, also representing love and hate.
One of the special effect that Luhrmann has created is when Benvolio has his gun out and the camera focuses on a board reading ‘Add more fuel to your fire’, this sign is not only representing the danger at the petrol station but it portrays Tybalt adding more fear and resentment to the war.
At this point the way Luhrmann has used the end part of the guns to display the logos of the two households, is very good, as this seems modern.
Baz Luhrmann has used modern weapons in his version, as he has used guns instead of swords, but to represent the gun with Shakespeare’s old weapons of swords it is printed on the guns ‘sword 9mm’, which is a clever idea of Luhrmann to bringing the play into the modern world but also representing the olden world. In the film a gun is referred to as a sword as Benvolio says, “put up thy sword down”.
Much of the play involves the lover’s struggle against public and social institutions; these institutions often conflict with each other. The importance of honour, for example, time and again results in the brawls that disturb the public’s peace.
Baz Luhrmann’s version of the play focuses on romantic love, love at first sight, love that supersedes all other values, loyalties and emotions.
Romeo & Juliet does not make a specific moral statement about the relationships between love and society, religion and family. It portrays the chaos and passion of being in love, as this is shown in the line ‘here’s much to do with hate, but more with love’. This play deals with love, hate, envy, death, corruption and fate.
The themes of love and hate permeate Romeo and Juliet and they are always connected to passion, whether that passion is love or hate. In this story love is understood to be a gentle nourishing thing, love between Romeo and Juliet is a grand passion, and as such it is blinding. This theme continues through the play until the end where there is a double suicide. This tragic choice is the highest most potent expression of love that Romeo & Juliet can make. It is only through death that they can preserve their love
Baz Luhrmann has blended the idea of the guns and violence in with the religious signs (crosses) and love.
Throughout the video Luhrmann has referred back to religion several times to include the theme of religion as being important in the story.
Baz Luhrmann introduces the boys individually from the Montague and Capulet households both driving the same types of sports cars, which suggests both households to be alike, these cars also are to the modern standards and these are cars, which would not have been present at Shakespeare’s time. From the modern day language to sporty cars, Baz Luhrmann has taken all these small features into account and has considered creating modernism in his version.
Baz Luhrmann has used a very good type of technique to make it clear to the audience, by using the car number plates to identify and tell the audience of which households each groups of boys are, Luhrmann has used private number plates to specify the households, and private number plating is a modern feature.
The way the Capulet boys dress and their behaviour contrasts with the Montague boys, as the dressing of the boys is much more intellectual and formal, the behaviour is much more superior to the behaviour of Montague boys.
Baz Luhrmann has changed the name of Abram in his version to Abra, for a modern name.
Baz Luhrmann has used different techniques such as oxymoron’s and hypocrisy, Luhrmann shows use of oxymoron’s, through Romeo’s role, as Romeo is writing these in his dairy and oxymoron’s are words or phrases which are put side by side to make the audience think about how opposites can be true.