Write a magazine article for a film magazine commenting on how Baz Luhrmann makes Shakespeare appealing to a young, modern audience Essay

Published: 2021-06-29 01:28:24
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Write a magazine article for a film magazine commenting on how Baz Luhrmann makes Shakespeare appealing to a young, modern audience. Make specific reference to the opening sequence.
This brilliant remake is simply Shakespeare’s classic with a bit of a face lift. Baz Luhrmann’s flamboyant direction pumps new life into his 20th century adaptation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
This modernised film takes you twisting and turning into a roller-coaster ride of love, lies and tragedy. Telling the story in a completely different way; using drugs, sporty cars and coca cola adds to give it that punch that all young people can relate to. While still staying true to the original script, all the scenes appear on a back drop of a fantasised, modern day world in Verona beach. Luhrmann also uses youthful up coming new actors and actresses (Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes), the cherry on the cake.
We are thrown back in our seats, by the upbeat, hip hop style music, rendering the feel of enthusiasm and excitement. It’s mind blowing.
The film opens with a newsreader reading the prologue, describing the results of the feud between two families, the Montagues and the Capulets’. In the build up it uses powerful imagery to create tension using fire, flashing scenes bold headlines and the conflict of power. The newsreader represents the chorus and while the background is very dark she is wearing a red jacket, making her stand out. It is shown as a 60 second news report, freezing the screen to introduce the characters with cartoon like labels. This is followed by the dramatic explosion of a petrol station, opposed to the original film where they fight in Verona’s market square.
The Montague boys, including Romeo, decide to invade the Capulets’ costume party and we witness the colourful decadence of this party through the eyes of an ecstasy influenced Romeo and it is this party at which the two lovers meet for the first time. The famous ‘balcony scene’ takes place on Juliet’s balcony, but ends up with the lovers kissing in a swimming pool, the cool blue lights on the water creating a gorgeous romantic effect.
The film is set in the not too distant future at Verona Beach in Los Angeles. This is the setting where both the rowdy teenagers of the Capulet and Montague households meet and talk together. There is a variety of uses in the scenes which has a great effect on the audience. There is strong contrast between scenes of desolation and emptiness and scenes of extreme colour and vibrancy. There is almost a cartoon style shown, with intense colours, dramatic action and high-energy dialogue.
The film uses Luhrmann’s innovative technique of quite edgy and jerky camera work, which manages to successfully reflect the fast paced action of the story without losing anything.
Whilst most people would have thought that Shakespearean language is hard for the ordinary person to understand, the words are conveyed through the scenes and settings. The costume also helps us get a sense of the modern streak Luhrmann has added, dressing the Montague boys in loose fitted Hawaiian shirts and shorts, unlike the bare chest Capulets, in leather pants and jackets.
Romeo and Juliet are then married with the help of Romeo’s priest and Juliet’s maid, who have the misguided idea that a marriage between the two families will resolve the feud, despite the fact that Juliet’s family wish her to marry Paris, a rich and well-connected family friend. From this point on, the plot spirals into chaos for the two lovebirds, the murder of Mercutio and Tybalt, the banishment of Romeo and a complicated plan to fake Juliet’s death.
Juliet is heartlessly disowned by her family and Romeo witnesses the death of his best friend, Mercutio, in two of the most emotionally tense moments of the film. The film is a build of tension, balancing moments of dramatic strength with moments of peacefulness, which only adds to the friction felt by the audience.
Both Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes are fantastic in their roles as Romeo and Juliet. The role of Juliet offers a lot of scope for a young actress and she delivers in style with an incredibly mature performance. She plays Juliet as a strong, independent and intelligent young girl, but with a concealed sense of vulnerability. The acting gives us a chance to become emotionally attached to the characters and feel like we are living every moment alongside them.
A lot of thought had been put into the costumes of the characters throughout the film. Particularly at the costume party where each characters costume reflected the personality of the wearer. The three that stand out in this was Juliet, dressed as an angel, shows her purity and innocence. Mercutio was dressed as a drag queen showing his flamboyant nature and Romeo is wearing a suit of armour, reflecting the fact that he feels he has ‘a soul of lead’. This is one of the most significant parts in the film as Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time. Luhrmann used costume to help highlight this moment and bring out its significance.
Baz Luhrmann’s version of the tragedy Romeo and Juliet is suitable for people aging from teenagers to adults. It tells the story in a uniquely different method. It uses the original script by William Shakespeare but all the scenes appear against the backdrop of present times. Gone are the days of riding in chariots, instead come the days of riding in convertibles and flashy sports cars.
Three Hundred years ago William Shakespeare wrote a tragic play called Romeo and Juliet that captured the hearts of every person who walked into the Globe Theatre to watch it. Centuries on though these works have not been lost but they have been forgotten. Although Baz Luhrmann has re-created the works of William Shakespeare using modern day technology has let everyone understand the Shakespearean language but more importantly the Tragedy of Romeo and his Juliet.

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