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Both films are based around the original script by Shakespeare, yet both directors have adapted the script slightly too go with their version of the film “Romeo and Juliet. ” Baz Luhrmann’s version of “Romeo and Juliet” begins with a shot of a television; this tells the viewers that the film is set in modern times, rather than Elizabethan England. The news reporter reads out the background history of the “ancient grudge.
” Whilst she reads, the camera slowly zooms in, as this happens shots of newspapers and magazine headlines flash up creating the feeling that the fights between the two families affect the whole city whilst this is happening there is some operatic music in the background which is brought into the foreground, so that we get the impression the film is going to be about a fight between two families that end in tragedy. The screen blanks, and the film starts. The Montague boys are driving up a motorway in a bright yellow customised 4×4 in the background you can hear hip-hop music, this makes the Montague boys seem fun, peaceful and approachable.
They pull into a petrol station where the Cauplet boys are introduced. You instantly feel that the Capulet boys are the opposite of the Montagues, because they are dressed in Mafia style clothes. The whole fight is sparked by one of the Montague boys biting their thumb at the Capulets. There are a lot of shots of just the actor’s eyes this is used to build up tension. In the background Spaghetti western music is playing this gives me the feeling there is going to be an old western style shoot out. Baz Lurhmann uses fast motion a few times this is to add a little bit of comedy in a serious moment in the film.
Tybolt comes into the picture and stomps out a cigarette. The fight starts; most of the fight is in slow motion I think that it is used to make the fight look more dramatic. The operatic music starts again in the background creating the affect of violence and hate. The camera pans to one of the Montague boys who is running away through the traffic, and the two others speeding away in their car for their lives, you can hear the sounds of car horns which is then drowned out by the oncoming helicopter.
The camera shot is then from the point of view of Captain Prince in the helicopter. This makes the two men on the floor look small and insignificant compared to the chief. Where as Zeffirelli’s version is a lot slower and easy going. The start of the film is of rolling hills at dawn, with Sir Lawrence Olivia’s voice and medieval style music in the background. The music is more romantic than Baz Lurhmann’s choice but they both work equally as well. The camera pans following a horse and cart along a walled city, this is to remind us it is set in Verona.
In the background you can hear the hustle and bustle of the market town, the market is were we first see the Capulets talking to each other, in this version of the film the Capulets are portrayed as the rebellious ones, playing and joking around, the camera pans to the Montagues who are talking to a stall owner. The Capulets walk over to cause uproar, one of the Capulets bites his thumb and they have a confrontation. In the background there is silence and there are shots of the town folks standing watching them, you can hear one man say “look at them!
” I think this is used to show how the villagers react to all the fighting. As the scuffle breaks up the Montague’s turn leave, one of their elder members is tripped over by the Capulets. The fight starts in the background the director has chosen to have screaming and the sound of people fleeing. The town bell rings in the foreground. My interpretation of this is that the bell is supposed to alert the Prince of Verona, and to tell the people to stay away from the market square. Benvolio is introduced with a crowd of Montagues behind him creating the feeling he is an important figure in the film.
The fighting stops for a few moments then Tybalt says “Peace but I hate peace… ” Then the fighting continues, the noise of the brawl dominates for quite some time until the sound of trumpets echoes the town, the trumpets grow louder with the noise of hooves. The Prince arrives on a white horse with several trumpet players behind him. The Prince looks down on his unruly subjects. This makes the Prince look very powerful compared to the people on the ground, there is silence whilst the prince addresses the crowd this gives me the impression that the Montagues and Capulets respect the Prince’s authority over them.