Romeo and Juliet: The Movie Essay

1962 Words 8 Pages
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is fully summarized in Shakespeare's prologue: "Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny where civil blood make civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star crossed lovers who take their life" (Universal, 1996). This movie is a masterful culmination of the director's phenomenal ability to create a powerful introduction, to select a realistic, but surreal setting, to choose realistic actors, and to enact specialized dramatic effects.

Sitting in the theater, watching this movie for the first time, I heard static break in to interrupt the beginning credits. A newscaster,
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The music had lured me in. It gave the scene life, and, in turn, the scene gave life to the music.

Leah Rozen of People Weekly would disagree. She states there should be some sort of disclaimer to warn audiences about "mistaking the audacious version of his (Shakespeare's) star crossed teen lovers for an extended music video." For her, this movie should have been called Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet; Rozen says the director plunked down the tragic romance into a "modern urban hellhole." Within this hellhole, are "warring gangs, piled on religious iconography, and pointless water imagery, and, oh yes, Mercutio is a singing drag queen." Rozen says what's missing amid the "frantic activity and eye candy" is the poetry. She says there is nothing wrong with updating a classic, but hopes this "rocket fueled Romeo and Juliet won't be the only version its young audience ever sees. That would be a tragedy" (Rozen).

I found the introduction to the movie to be riveting. It certainly got my attention as well as many others in the theater. Without all the effects I just mentioned above, this movie would be yet another classic Shakespearean lullaby. It is exactly the loud audacious introduction and the surreal setting that lift the audience up to a level far and above appreciating Shakespeare. Instead the audience is vivaciously enjoying a riveting, supersonic movie. For this romantic tragedy to be set in Verona Beach, an "urban hellhole" would

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