This film is about a pair of lovers called Romeo and Juliet; they are destined for each other but their rival families stand in their way. The director, Lurhmann, has created a modernised film version of the play; this essay will analyse the opening of the film.
Firstly, in the opening very spiritual and dramatic music in the opening immediately engages the audience, making them want to no more and watch on. This music could also imply that the families are both very religious.
However the more modern, fast paced, hip-hop music that is played during the introduction of the Montague boys reflects them very well as it shows that they are much more like modern young men. Also this could tell us that they are the less serious of the families and they will be the more comical of the families.
On the other hand, when the Capulet boys are introduced the music is a western style; this shows us that they are much more serious than the Montague’s. Also we can deduce that they take religion and their Italian culture a lot more seriously due to the seriousness of the music.
During the gun fight, Lurhmann uses a very westernised music; this could be to symbolise the fight as those of the western times. Also this music could be played as it shows that the Capulet’s are dominating the gun fight.
Lurhamann uses a slow zoom into the news reader on the TV that is reading the prologue; this is effective as the prologue is not the most interesting part of the film but Lurhamann uses it as an opportunity to immediately capture the audiences attention so that they are focused and will want to know what happens in the rest of the film. Also there is interference in the TV; this could represent the families’ interference within the city
After the slow zoom into the TV, very quick zoom with cross cuts is used. During these cross cuts religious symbols are visible, this could be to remind us that religion has a big part in the film and is one of the only reasons that keep the Capulet’s and Montague’s together.
Whilst introducing the families there are freeze frames used, this is effective as you get to see the characters but also it show the rivalry has a history when the two family trees are displayed.
The camera angle that is used when the Capulet boys are introduced is very effective. The quick zoomed in; low down shot of the heels of Tybalt’s boots shows us yet again that the Capulet’s are a lot more serious than the Montague’s. The quick zoom in could also show that the Capulet’s have much sharper and sinister than the Montague’s.
When Benvolio comes out of the petrol station and sees the argument he instantly starts shouting at the Capulet’s and pulls out his gun. The camera stops moving and zooms right up into the gun. This is effective as all of the trouble in the garage just freezes and the non-digetic sound is played, this gives the audience time to take in everything that was said in the argument and just breaks the words down.
During the argument in the petrol garage a hand held camera is used, this is used to create tension as it can make quick movements which represent quick witty insults being fired between the Capulet’s and Montague’s. Also the zoom is used very effectively on the hand held camera as it focuses on the faces of the two men arguing. This is effective as you can see the seriousness on their faces even though they are both being extremely sarcastic. Also the hand held camera can be used to show the characters point of view.
In the opening scene a snap shot of two buildings is displayed. One of them has a sign saying Capulet and the other saying Montague. In the middle of the two buildings is a large Jesus statue. This is used to symbolise that the only thing that is keeping the families from breaking into a war is religion. From this we can also deduce that both families are religious and that the film is set in a religious environment.
At the end of the petrol station brawl, the fire could be used to symbolise the spark that would ignite whole new feud.
The montage that introduces the whole film works well as the audience likes to watch quick movements that are exciting. In the montage Lurhmann captures everything that viewers would want which captures their attention immediately.
Lurhmann replaces the swords from the Shakespeare play with guns. This is a good alternative as guns are much more modern than swords but the pose the same threat of violence.
In conclusion, I believe that Lurhmann has achieved in trying to turn Shakespeare’s play into a modern day 20th century film. Lurhmann has made a much more exciting way for people view Shakespeare’s work.