Essay on Comparison of Romeo and Juliet Movies

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Comparison of Romeo and Juliet Movies

Franco Zeffirellis ‘Romeo & Juliet’ was the most popular film in the box office in 1968, eight years after he directed it on the stage in the West End. Baz Luhrmann created his version thirty years later, in a modern style. There are many differences and similarities between the films, but each does not change the tale. They use young actors and actresses to appeal to the younger audience at the time that they were released, but it is obvious to see the generation gap between them. The first noticeable difference is in the films title. Baz Luhrmanns
1997 version is named ‘Romeo + Juliet’, while Zefirellis is ‘Romeo &
Juliet’. Luhrmann used ‘+’ instead of ‘&’ because it is a more modern
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The shot zooms in very slowly, and the TV turns on.
An anchorwoman is seen reading the days news, but instead she is reading the original prologue. By doing this, Luhrmann has already shown the viewer that the film is set in modern times. As soon as the newsreader finishes the prologue, a gothic requiem is heard loudly, and there is a fast zoom shot of a statue of Christ. This is followed by a sequence of fast shots and views of Verona, similar to the idea of Zefirellis panning shots of Verona. The religious statue appears frequently, as well as police, violence and helicopters, accentuating the modern theme of the film. Luhrmann emphasises the religious aspect constantly in this introduction. Captions of the prologue flash onto the screen as the prologue is said for the second time in a deeper, stronger, more powerful voice. The choir requiem music is still playing. This introduction is very dramatic with its use of cutaway, pan and exterior shot sequences. Baz Luhrmann has shown straight away that this is a modern adaptation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and this film heavily involves religion, only within the introduction.

Compared to the Zefirelli film, it is almost the opposite. Luhrmanns prologue leaves and impact that it is going to be a dramatic movie.
Zefirellis is very traditional and calm, set out like a fairytale. It also goes straight into the first scene, while Luhrmanns introduces and names the characters.

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