When Baz Luhrmann decided to recreate ‘Romeo and Juliet’ first written by William Shakespeare, he wanted to make it appeal to a younger audience. He managed to do this by modernising the whole play for example by using cars instead of horses and guns instead of swords but he kept the same language of the original play. The film opens with a small television. Screen surrounded in darkness and then the television turns on, and it is a news report being read by a woman.
She is reading out the prologue of the play in news report form. The screen flashes and we see the city of ‘Fair Verona’ and we hear the prologue again but this time it is read by a humble sounding man that we cannot see. We see newspaper heading that read sentences from the prologue such as ‘Star crossed lovers’. This appeals to a young audience immediately because of the television, newspapers and the showing Verona as a big city these are all things that young people can relate to.
When the introduction is finished and the film starts we immediately see ‘The Montague boys’ who are driving a yellow pickup truck and listening to load rock music, which shows that they are young, and so appeals to younger people. The scene freezes and the words ‘The Montague Boyz’ flashes up on the bottom left of the screen. They pull into a gas station, which is also something to relate to. The driver of the car ‘Benvolio’ steps out and goes to the toilet and whilst he is there the other boys start to terrorise a group of nuns.
A few moments later the ‘Capulet boys’ enter similarly to how the Montague’s did, we meet ‘Abra’. The way the two groups are dressed is very modern which helps to make it interesting for a younger audience. When the two groups spot each other the Montague’s immediately show fear so Abra uses this status to make the others look stupid, He achieves this by lunging at them and showing his teeth. Then one of the Montague boys bites his thumb at Abra, which was in Shakespearian times the worst showing of disrespect, it is also keeping the original story and views of the time.
This starts a fight and just before guns start to blaze Benvolio runs out and tries to keep the peace. The screen spins around and we can hear the sound of a match lighting, then the match is dropped and a pair of boots crush the match into the ground (all of the sound is amplified). Then the camera pans up and shows a mans face then again the scene freezes and written in the bottom left appears and reads ‘Tybalt Prince Of Cats’. Benvolio asks Tybalt to “Keep the peace! ” But Tybalt replies “Peace?
I hate the word,” then a gunfight happens and a lot of fire is used I think to express anger. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is very colourful when the Montague’s are in the scene but when the Capulet’s are in the scene it seems to be dark, this is all to do with the costumes. The Montague’s wear bright T-shirts and have dyed hair and drive a yellow car, this shows that they are jokers and not too serious or scary. The Capulet’s wear dark suits, have dark hair and beards and drive a dark coloured car, this shows that they are much more serious and scary.
The shots and camera work in this film are very original and strict to Baz Lurhmann’s style, which is an abstract way of filming. The way the camera spins around and freezes in place to capture attention of the audience is effective. I think that the acting in the film is excellent; all the actors are very natural. And most of the actors are young and new to acting, which would appeal to young audiences. So I think that Baz Lurhmann succeed in making the film appealing to young people and I could tell all this from just the beginning of the film.