Romeo and Juliette - Comparing the Baz Luhrman (modern) ersion to the Franco Zefferelli (original) version

Essay by SwordOfKhaineHigh School, 11th grade May 2004

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"Romeo and Juliette" by Baz Luhrman is a very different film to that of Franco Zefferelli's version. Although both are fused very closely to the original play by Shakespeare, Zefferelli and Luhrman have added their own changes to the original, Luhrman much more so than Zefferelli.

Set in a modern time, Luhrman has a much more powerful substance to his film. While Zefferelli may have seemed radical in his time, Luhrman recreates the famous Shakespearean play in modern day Verona, though with traditional language.

Luhrman's version of Romeo and Juliette builds much more on the roles of each of the characters, more so than Zefferelli. Tybolt is seen as much more of a menacing figure and a protector of the family's honour in the Luhrman Romeo and Juliette. There are still recognizable similarities between some characters, such as the priest, Father Lawrence. Father Lawrence in Luhrman's Romeo and Juliette is still set in his traditional role as someone to turn to in times of need, and still seen as a slightly eccentric Christian priest.

The "Prince", or "head cop guy" is still a character to fear if you give him reason to release his anger. The characters of Romeo and Juliette still appear to be naïve, romantic and sheltered.

Mood set in Luhrman's Romeo and Juliette is much more powerful, often having an impression of darkness and looming tragedy. Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliette has a far more repressed mood, keeping constant with the rest of his film which is often subdued.

Symbolism in Luhrman is both subtle and blatant, depending on which symbol is being shown. For example at the Capulet's party, Romeo is dressed as a knight in shining armour and Juliette as an angel, while Tybolt is dressed as the devil, illustrating his role...