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Claire Danes Essay

To what extent do you agree with this point? I think Luhrmann’s film version of Romeo & Juliet brings Act 1 Scene 5 to life exceptionally well. His choice of setting, type of music, designs of costumes, and other film directions and language use portray the original Shakespeare version marvellously. Firstly, the scene and setting. Baz Luhrmann has chosen a brilliant location to house the party. The royal look to the Capulet mansion really shows off what life would have been for the people back in the day, especially people as rich and alike in dignity as the Capulets.

It is an enormous house, suggesting that life back then for the rich was very grand, and I believe Luhrmann brings this out brilliantly. There is also a very lively, upbeat atmosphere, stating that back in the olden days, people would like to loosen up and enjoy such divine occasions, with a lot going on. The fireworks, with an array of varying colours, being set off outside of the house also states the lively, celebratory, and happy atmosphere inside, in spite of Tybalt and Romeo being in the same house.

The chirpy singing by Mercutio also vindicates my point. Secondly, Baz Luhrmann’s use of music is very intricately chosen. At the very start of the party, we can clearly see Mercutio very lively and upbeat, dancing and singing along to a very apt, upbeat song, showing off the party atmosphere amongst everyone in the mansion. As we get further in into the play, we get a very slow, engaging piece of music played when Romeo and Juliet first meet (through a fish tank! ), whilst Luhrmann has decided to drain out the party atmosphere noises in the background.

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This slow, indulging, romantic music symbolises the first encounter of Romeo and Juliet. Luhrmann has effectively chosen this music, and this really brings out the romantic, love-at-first-sight feel to it all, and it makes us, the audience, engage into the film, and maybe even allows us to relate it to ourselves, as if we were there, within the action. The music seemed to be a bit ‘Heavenly’, where everything would be perfect between Romeo and Juliet, and it felt like love was in the air.

Then, when the Nurse pulls Juliet away, the party atmosphere with people talking immediately comes back, making the audience divert the attention back onto the wider picture, but, more subtly, it makes us, as the very eager audience, want to know more about how Romeo and Juliet will pan out from there. At times, there is the slow, depressing music, when Juliet would look back at Romeo whilst being dragged away by the Nurse, and Romeo would hurry up to catch up with Juliet. On a more general note, we can all feel the anger then Tybalt finds out that Romeo is a Montague, with the more thunderous, down-to-Earth, music being played.

Thirdly, another key aspect Luhrmann used to make this film so brilliant in my opinion is his choice of clothing. We can clearly get a feel of how grand the Capulets were. Lady Capulet wore a gold dress, showing how high in status she was. Capulet, likewise being so high in status, wore a plush purple robe at the formal event, showing that they were very rich and liked to flaunt what they had. Interestingly, Paris seemed to be wearing some sort of astronaut, spaceship costume.

This might suggest that he was pretty smart, rich, high in status too, and quite proud of himself, as stereotypically, I see astronauts like that, as it is a very grand, albeit difficult, job to take on, and so Paris might have thought very fondly about himself. The wings on Juliet’s back might also suggest to us viewers that Juliet was the ‘angelic’, good-girl type of character, who would want everything to be right for herself. Romeo’s knight suit also caught my attention. Again stereotypically, I associate knights in shining armour as the sort of people who would always come to the rescue and save the day, and would woo people away.

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