Romeo and Juliet

Initially, the first thing that Baz Lurhman does to pull a modern audience into a Shakespearian tale is by having the prologue read aloud by black female newsreader. This brings the story into the modern world as even ten years previous to the film it would have been unheard of to have a black female newsreader. To entice the audience into the film, Baz Lurhman zooms in on the newsreader, giving the impression that he is pulling the audience into the film.The main aim of the prologue is to tell the audience what is going to happen, this was necessary in Shakespearian times as the audience would have been rowdy and in needed to be enticed to focus on the play. Baz Luhrman does this to the same effect, but instead of using a chorus to do so he uses a modern newsreader, the fact that a newsreader is telling the audience the prologue lends one to believe that something serious has happened.

In the corner of the television of the newsreader, a picture of two rings inscribed ‘I love you’ is seen. This too tells the audience that the film is going to be a love story. Then Loud opera like music is heard. The music itself sounds religious but also helicopters are heard.

The scene itself shows the city, ‘Verona beach’ to be like a warzone with police cars and fighting everywhere. Over this again the prologue is read, but with a much more sinister tone, as so to now highlight how violent the story is.Baz Luhrman uses flashes of newspaper titles to emphasise how this feud is affecting the whole city. Effectively, Baz Luhrman shows the audience an image of a large statue of Jesus, telling us that this is a religious city, but then he shows two buildings, titled ‘Montague’ and ‘Capulet’, towering over this statue.

This tells the modern audience that although religion is very important in this city, both ‘Montague’ and ‘Capulet’ have overtaken it.Whilst the prologue is still being read two family trees appear with Jesus in between them , similar to the previous set up of the buildings and statue. This gives us a clear perspective as to who is who. This is also achieved when Baz Luhrman uses a soap-opera type technique in introducing the characters by freeze framing on the main characters and showing their names on the screen.

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