Media Assignment

Two directors Zefirelli and Luhrmann had taken Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ love tragedy and had modified it into their own version of ‘Rome and Juliet’. Their interpretation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is based in very different decades.Zefirelli shows his version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ based around in the 15th century, with costumes which they would wear in the Shakespearean times, so that it may help viewers to understand more effectively on what the characters are talking about and may help the mood of 15th century characters settle in, whereas Luhrmann sets his version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ during the 20th century creating a modern atmosphere but with Shakespearean language so that the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ story has not lost the touch of Shakespeare’s writing; the 20th century also helps viewers on what the characters are talking about without them understanding the Shakespearean language, because of the settings and actions.In the story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ there is a point to which the story takes a step from romance to tragedy when the beloved friend of Romeo, Mercutio is killed by Juliet’s cousin Tybalt. I am going to compare the ways Zefirelli and Lurhmann potray the death of Mercutio in their own version.The scene on ‘ Mercutios death’ in Zefirelli’s version of’Romeo and Juliet’ starts of as a very blurry vision and this is because Mercutio has a white cloth covering his face; this may mean the appearance of a spirit/ghost pointing out to the viewer that something is going to happen to Mercutio. As the Capulets enter the scene, Tybalt and Mercutio are in the centre square of Verona city having a conversation. The setting of the scene gives the impression that it is not an ‘easy going’ atmosphere, because it is too hot for it to be tranquil and light-hearted.When seeing the start of the scene, Mercutio is twaddling in the background saying ‘blah blah blah’. Mercuti seemsto be behaving very stupidly; he starts to act like a fool and makes fun out of Benvolio, while Benvolio is trying to talk some sort of sense into Mercutio to leave before the Capulets come, Benvolio tries to give advice to Mercutio, but he refuses and goes ahead on acting like a clown. Benvolio can almost beware of something terrible which may occur if Mercutio crosses with the Capulets.This gives of a little tension in the atmosphere but not enough tension which may let the viewers to become interested in. as the Cauplets enter, Mercutio still carries on acting foolish around them, and tries to provoke Tybalt by making fun out of him and challenges Tybalt to a sword fight. Romeo is present at this moment but, does not much do much about the situation or tries to stop the fight as it commences. At first the sword fight is not at all serious but more of a ‘play fight’ with deadly weapons.But then as Tybalt corners Mercutio with the tip of his sword closely touching Mercutio’s throat, the mood of the ambience begins to start shifting to become ‘ on edge’ and tense; this tension, however, does not last very long, as Mercutio breaks it by crossing his hands and starts to whistle to pass off his fear and unwinding the tension and starts to pretend that he is distracted and bored of waiting for Tybalts sword to be moved away from him. Zefirelli ‘drags’ the fight along and it becomes very tedious for the viewers.Throughout the fight scene, there are groups of Capulets and Montagues following Tybalt and Mercutio as they are fighting. As the groups become closer to Tybalt and Mercutio,this makes it harder for the two of them to fight. When Tybalt tried to poke his sword to hit it against Mercutios sword, he accidentally stabbed the sword into Mercutios heart, but realised later that he had blood on the tip of his sword. This is the key element of the sceen where things start to become serious, but the Capulets leave cheering for Tybalt that he had won. Though Mercutio is in pain the Montagues think that he is joking.On the other hand Lurhmann has created a very non-realistic set, for example, the lighting which contrasts with the weather changes and how in the middle of a beach there is a arch-shaped stage looking ‘very out of place’. Though Luhrmann’s set is non-realistic it works well for the characters personalities and how the death of Mercutio fits well with the set.Luhrmann opens the fighting scene there are various takes of camera angles which show Mercutio and Benvolio on a beach while Benvolio is sitting on a ‘high life guard chair’ whilst Mercutio is shooting in the sea. The atmosphere is dark and looks as if the sky is creating a storm; this presents the tension on the viewers, telling them that things are not going to go very smoothly. Benvolio is trying his hardest to holler over the gunshots created by Mercutio, telling him to leave the beach, which is telling the viewers that Benvolio senses something and wants Mercutio to leave the beach as soon as possible.The camera then cuts the shot from Mercutio shooting into the sea, to Benvolio and Mercutio walking and talking over each other, they both then settle down on a table along with the other Monatgues. Suddenly a roar of rock type music is blasted and screeches of a car, showing the viewers the ‘grand’ entrance of Tybalt on the beach. This gets the attention of everyone on the beach including the Montagues, and makes Benvolio feel awkward and tells Mercutio:”By my head here come the Capulets”Mercutio responds by saying:”By my heal, I care not”smiling, making himself comfortable by lifting his feet, resting them ontop of the table.Tybalt then walks towards Mercutio, stops and says:”Follow me close, for I will speak to them. Gentlemen, good den, a word with one of you”Mercutio seems to be humorous and answers Tybalt”And but one word with one of us? couple it with something and make it a word and a………..blow”Mercutio emphasises the word ‘blow’ making fun out of Tybalt and acting stupid.Tybalt then feels hot tempered and gets Mercutio’s comment by replying him with”Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo?”Lurhmann takes a cut shot of Mercutio’s eye showing anger, which the ratchets the anger of Mercutio and to make the angriness more effective is how the background music, which is a type of rock music which echoes Mercutios feelings.This then seems to take effect on Mercutio making him ‘snap’ out of his humour and makes him become angry and rage rushing through his body. Mercutio suddenly stands up and walks fast towards Tybalt. Tybalt then starts walking fast backwards facing Mercutio and laughing, mocking Mercutio, because Tybalt knows he has pulled the right strings to get on Mercutio’s last nerve.he speed of the music furiously moves with Mercutio’s fury. Mercutio then grabs Tybalt ready to hit him, but then Romeo appears and come in between the two and stops Mercutio. Romeo tries talking to Tybalt wanting to compromise in peace, instead Tybalt wants Romeo to dual and draw out his ‘sword’ (but shown as a gun in this version)Romeo refuses to draw which makes Tybalt angry and go red with wrath and starts to lash out on Romeo, kicking him to the floor, making him bleed. Still Romeo does not do anything to defend himself, but cries for mercy to Tybaly and says”I do protest I never injured thee,But love thee better than thou canst devise,Till though shalt know the reason of my love;And so, good Capulet, which name I tenderAs dearly as my own, be satisfied”Mercutio watches everything that is happening and is disgusted and outraged and runs towards Tybalt grabbing hold of him and hitting him as hard as he could making Tybalt fall to the ground.Romeo then staggers up stopping Mercutio from hitting Tybalt, and holds him back.As Romeo is begging Mercutio to back-off from hitting Tybalt. Tybalt see’s a piece of broken glass next to him and instantly lifts it up and without thinking lashes it out to hit Romeo, but instead lashed it out on Mercutio’s side. Mercutio staggers past Romeo and Tybalt walking towards an old theatre stage and poses one hand in the air. While the other hand is against his wound and shouts”A scratch”Mercutio starts laughing becoming serious and screams at the top of his lungs,”A plague, on both your houses”This is left saying with an echo to show the audience on how much power one speech made throughout the entire beach. Mercutio is no longer being humorous but takes on a completely different role. Luhrmann makes this affect very dramatic with echoes and a change of atmospheric weather, covering the sky with doomy clouds. As if the threat was more of a curse with the thunder as some sort of warning.Luhrmannputs superstition as a threat with the aid of computer effects. Also the camera shots are cut from one person to another to show the audience the facial expression of the characters present at the beach to make the viewer become in touch with their emotions.Mercutio then falls staright onto the floor, and Romeo rushes to Mercutio’s rescue, kneeling close to Mercutio, crying at Mercutio’s slow death. Luhrmann brings the sorrowful emotions of a friend loosing his best friend. The emotions Romeo lets out, makes an impact on the viewers. Of sadness.The fight sequence is extremely different to how Zefirelli expresses. Comparing the two directors Lurhmanns version seems more brutal with blood, anguish and pain.Unlike Zefirelli’s version seems more of the softer approach with only some emotion.Hence, Zefirelli’s version had a very strong way of changing the mood continuously with having a high point of tension and then a tragic atmosphere.In conclusion, I prefer Lurhmann’s version, because it was more understandable, on how he had modern day characters extracted from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ speaking Shakespearean which seemed to be a way which everyone talked, and was not spoken as speeches.Also it was a very good idea to have a type of colour for each the Montagues and Capulets so you could understand which character belonged to which family.I thought that Zefirelli’s version was also good, although it did lack in music which only played once which was cello music as Mercutio was dying and special affects. The clothes that the characters wore were very ’15th century’ and went well with how Shakespeare must have presented his plays with the same sort of clothes, so it gave off a very historic feeling to the play.All in all I enjoyed both plays and though they were both unique in their own way.

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