How does Baz Luhrmann make Shakespeare's play fresh and appealing to a contemporary audience? (analyse the opening scene in your response)

Essay by prickpratHigh School, 10th grade September 2006

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Baz Luhrmann's interpretation of "Romeo and Juliet" (1996), which has been created for the modern audiences, explores the themes and values which are topical to the contemporary viewer. In doing so it has gained a reputation for as one of the most successful adaptation. In order to achieve this, Luhrmann has intentionally emphasized key aspects of the original Shakespearian script and has combined this with modern filming techniques, something the Elizabethan directors could not use. In the opening scene a number of central themes become apparent these include the violent feud and growing hatred, religion and media and its role in a society, foresight and impetuousness, the role of parents and children, and finally immaturity as opposed to maturity. To emphasize these ideas, Luhrmann uses film techniques such as camera angles, props, lighting and audio as well as the original dialogue from the script. Baz has also edited out some of the irrelevant themes of the play as he sees fit.

The most outstanding theme in the opening scene would have to be that of hatred and violence. Baz Luhrmann has gone to great lengths in emphasizing both the meaningless of violence and the destructive consequences of hatred if left to develop. The initial line in the scene is "a dog of the house of Capulet moves me," which is brought to the foreground from the script, eradicating the preceding sexual innuendos. Luhrmann has decided to do this so that the main focus of the scene is on the feud between the houses and not the puns of Shakespeare, which may not be applicable to the modern society. The road rage evident in this opening sequence of shots and dialogue, "king urinal, go rot", which is not present in the script, is also added by Luhrmann to make a...