Romeo and Juliet (Film 1996)

A Star-Crossed Adaptation: Romeo + Juliet - A Critical Response 11th Grade

Ludicrous car chases, intense hot pink hair and a world where Prince songs are sung as hymns; is this what Shakespeare wanted when he wrote Romeo and Juliet over 400 years ago? Baz Luhrmann’s film adaption of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, is a kaleidoscopic, punk version of the story of ‘star-crossed lovers’ that buries Shakespeare’s work amongst the flamboyant scenes. In one catastrophe, Luhrmann has mixed Shakespeare with gang wars, luring both to audiences to this production, yet disappointing all. Despite the ‘huge success’ this film has made in the box office, we can only ask; what was Luhrmann thinking to betray Shakespeare like this?

The tragedy begins with a TV news report on the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The report is titled ‘Star Crossed Lovers’. We are then shown a quick montage, introducing the main characters before a panoramic shot displays the setting; Verona Beach, dominated by two skyscrapers displaying large lights which read Montague and Capulet. We are then immersed into this ‘future world’ where a standoff occurs between the Montague boys and the Capulet boys. We are shown an extreme close-up shot of the guns, each branded a ‘sword’ and labelled with the family crest. If the rest of the movie stuck to this...

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