Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
This Romeo and Juliet is a rich visual feast, powerful with the intensity of its acrobatic camerawork and dynamic staging and its mind-bending story line, using these techniques Baz Luhrmann develops a modernized 20th century Romeo and Juliet.
To begin with, the film’s language remains all Shakespeare’s, the setting of the film starts with a mythical type beach. The movie’s appearance is more of a modernized type than an old style one you would see in Zeffirelli. A stylized modern fashion you would see on the streets today. This isn’t your typical Romeo and Juliet film/play, Luhrmann takes a whole new path and constructs it with his different modernized techniques to give a new gist of Romeo and Juilet.
It begins with a TV anchor reporting on the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. We see newspaper headlines reading. There is a fast montage introducing the leading characters and showing the city of Verona Beach dominated by two towering skyscrapers, topped with neon signs reading “Montague” and “Capulet. The opening scene of Montagues and Capulets takes place as a gun battle in a gas station, filmed in insanely rapid Tarantino style, Tarantino style, which was commonly used in the 90s and 2000s era and is still used in some movies today, is used to give a more intense style. Baz Luhrmann uses this modern technique to put a more modern type spin on the movie and to give a more intense feeling for the audience. On the note of camera techniques, the extreme level of acrobatic camerawork and dynamic staging, brings in a whole new modern aspect. Luhrmann creates it with his camera, a smoggy, glowing city at night, sun-blasted beaches strewn with wreckage.The Montague’s wear a Hawaiian type outfit. Meanwhile, the Capulets wear more of a Vice City type outfit (Vice City the game published by Rockstar back in 2002). Comparing to Zeffirelli’s version, the clothing wore represents the Medieval times which shows Baz Luhrmann goes for a more modern look with the outfits compared to the other Romeo and Juilet films.
Another way Baz Luhrmann convinces the audience to a more modern type theme is by the usage of setting. The film takes place in an urban city while at times it resembles Miami, Los Angeles at others, even though the filming took place in Mexico City.The story is conveyed through the strength of its scenes and images, their easy familiarity grounds the Shakespeare’s language in a readily understandable context for modern viewers who either haven’t read Romeo and Juilet or cannot understand Zeffirelli’s version of Romeo and Juilet or people who cannot bother with the older version and would like to see a more modern approach.
Overall, a great film to watch if die hard Shakespeare fans want to see a spiced-up version of Romeo and Juilet. Possibly even, people that want to watch the Shakespeare series, but in a more modern approach.