The Opening – Act 1 Scene 1

The opening scene in the Luhrman version is set in a typical U.S gas station. It is a busy and open area, much like the market setting portrayed in the original script, which is also busy. This is very clever of Luhrman because he is trying to modernise the original setting without losing the feeling of an open and busy area. A market square in modern America would be very strange. In the Zefferelli version, the director has tried to replicate the setting and atmosphere of the original, using a typical market square from the time that the play was written, this might seem to the audience as a more ‘realistic� version of the play as the film is trying to be more identical to the original play.At the start of the scene in the Luhrman version we see the first of our families, the Montagues. They seem like typical American youngsters having fun in their car with the music turned up. They pull into a gas station and all seems well until the second family arrives, the Capulets. They seem more suave, they are smart looking Latinos, and they seem serious compared to the fun loving colourful Montagues.This is a good way of showing the differences between the two families. However in the Zefferelli version we see the Montagues and Capulets enter a traditional market square similar to one in the original play, we don�t see many differences between the two families as they enter the scene, they seem kind of the same type of family, the only thing keeping them different is the colours of their clothes, the Capulets wearing black and blue and the Montagues wearing yellow and red, the clothes have been made to portray what people wore in the time the play was written, men in tights, frills and Robin Hood like hats. In the Luhrman version the dress is close to modern day attire, Hawaiian shirts and tuxedos.In the first scene in the Luhrman version there is not much reference to the original script, with little speech being used, but it is accurate to the original script. Such lines as when Abram, a Capulet asks the question “Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?” and Sampson, a Montague replies, “I do bite my thumb, sir”. This starts the gunfight between the two families. For those that are unsure, the biting of the thumb at one another is an ancient Italian insult. I think that some of the audience may not know what the biting of the thumb is and Luhrman hasn�t shown us what it means which is a minor fault I think.We see that their relationship is obviously frail as only a small spark is used to ignite the fire which in comparison is a small exchange of petty quarrelling is used to start the fight. The use of movement in this scene is fast and furious as the action switches from person to person as they fire their guns, the camera zooms up to each of the main characters and then freezes as text is used to introduce each person, when the screen is un-freezed, the action goes back to being fast and furious again.This is very different compared to the calm, collective atmosphere of Zefferelli�s opening scene, where the two families embark on a sword fight after the quarrelling. The fight may not be as action packed as the previous version but is not any less amusing as we see the whole fight moving into the courtyard, where everyone in the picture has their swords drawn and are ‘clowning around�. This adds the fuel needed for the action in this scene as the build up to the fight is less tense than Luhrman�s version, the two families in this version seem calm and composed and the rivalry doesn�t seem to be as serious or intense as we see in the Luhrman version.One impressive point that Luhrman has integrated into the modern version, without altering the script is this; In the original/Zefferelli script/picture, Benvolio says “Put up your swords”, then the characters do so in the Zefferelli version, but in the Luhrman version and the modern world where people use guns instead of swords, he has used the camera to focus on the guns where it says the brand name of the gun which is called a sword. This is a very good way of not altering the script but staying close to a modern day likeness of the play.The calm music doesn�t help in the seriousness of the rivalry in the Zefferelli version, but the thumping loud music in the Luhrman sets the heart thumping and is a better way of giving the audience the seriousness of the rivalry, as this is the most important factor in the play because if the two families were not at war then Romeo and Juliet could live happily ever after. But Luhrman does not go astray of the original script because has used the original script, this may seem a little strange to the audience at first but quickly catches on and is easily understood later on. Zefferelli has used more of the original script, but has altered it a little, but this seems unrecognised as it is used to help make the script more natural and to fit in more with the picture.There is un-intentional humour as the Zefferelli characters seem ‘camp� to us modern day folk because the men are wearing tights and frocks, the Luhrman characters seem ‘cool� because we are used to the attire. But Zefferelli is trying as close as he can to the original play. If Zefferelli had tried to set his film in his time then I expect we would have seen white men with afros, high heels and flairs. If we were studying that type of version at school then I expect we would also see them as ‘camp�.There is one more difference between the two versions. At the end of the scene where Prince Escalus says that if the two families fight again there will be deaths, Zefferelli has portrayed the Prince riding in on a horse, and we know that princes were around in the time that the play was written, then he speaks to the families. However in Luhrman�s version, he has used the modern day equivalent of a prince, a police general, this is good because there are no princes in modern day cities so Luhrman has used the next best thing, a modern day equivalent of a prince. If Shakespear were alive today I think he would have been impressed by Luhrman�s attempt to modernize his story, as he has done this very intelligently and very well.The Ball – Act 1 Scene 5This scene is where we first see Romeo and Juliet together, and this is the scene they first meet. It starts when the Montagues sneak into a Capulet party/ball. A traditional Shakespearean ball, with traditional dress and dancing is used in the Zefferelli version. Romeo and his fellow Montagues are able to make it inside the Capulet residence because the ball is a ‘masked ball�. Romeo uses a cat like mask to disguise his identity. In the modernised version, Luhrman has cleverly changed the theme of the party, from a masked ball to its modern equivalent a ‘fancy dress� party.For this, Romeo�s costume is a knight; Luhrman has tried to show the audience that Romeo is in a sense, ‘a knight in shining armour�. In both versions, Capulet welcomes everybody and, even though he�s too old to dance himself, so he gets everybody else to dance because he like to watch those who have lots of life left enjoy themselves. The party in the modern version is also where we first see Mercutio. At the party in the new version, he is performing as a drag queen, this helps us get an idea of this characters personality, we see that he is lively, energetic and one of those people who has no enemies. In the Zefferelli version, however, we don�t get to meet Mercutio just yet.The following is the same for both versions, but is done in different ways. This is where Romeo first sees his true love, Juliet. Romeo is enjoying the party when a dazzling young lady catches his eye. He doesn�t know why, but he knows that the girl he sees is ‘the one�. The camera is very linear, and stays at head level all the time. The camera focuses on Juliet all the time as she is dancing, even though fellow dancers get in the way, the camera still keeps track. We are seeing Juliet how Romeo sees her, in the Luhrman version however, the camera movement is quicker and has more variety than staying linear, it follows Romeo and Juliets eyes, this is good because eye contact is the best way of showing how someone is in love. Romeo uses a lot of reference to the original script in Zefferelli�s version, I think Zefferelli uses a lot of the original script because it is a good way of getting across the message that Romeo has fallen madly in love with this girl, and that she isn�t just another Rosaline.I think that Romeo hasn�t fallen in love with Rosaline, but instead has fallen in love with the idea of falling in love, and has maybe encouraged him a little more to gather more information on Juliet. We don�t even get to know who Rosaline is, and she isn�t even mentioned in the modern version. Such lines as ‘O she doth teach the torches to burn bright!� and, ‘Beauty to rich for use, for earth to dear�, helps us see that Romeo has really fallen in love this time, because he doesn�t say these kind of things about Rosaline.Juliet still hasn�t seen Romeo, because Romeo is still tying to hide himself, but his luck turns when Tybalt spots him through his voice, Juliet�s cousin and respected Capulet family member. Tybalt seems frustrated that an archrival has intruded on his family�s ball, he tells Lord Capulet of his findings, but is even more frustrated because Lord Capulet doesn�t seem to care because Romeo has a good history and has never before troubled the Capulets, Tybalt says he will fight Romeo for this act, but Lord Capulet becomes furious at his nephews disobedience.This doesn�t interrupt Romeos interests in Juliet, and as Juliet takes a break from the dance, he sees his opportunity, and ceases it. He pulls Juliet behind the pillar he is hiding behind and tries to make Juliet listen by pouring his heart out, his language is like poetry, everything he says seems to flow, even when Juliet questions and dismisses his actions, but Romeo keeps coming back with better and more enticing speech, fro example, ‘O then, let lips do what hands do! They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn into despair.� Juliet replies, ‘Saints do not move, though grant for prayers� sake.� Romeo comes back with, ‘Then move not, while my prayers� effect I take�. Romeo then kisses Juliet and says, ‘Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purg�d�.After their little escapade, we meet The Nurse. She interrupts Romeo and Juliet and warns Juliet that her mother wants a word wit her. The Nurse then gives Romeo the bad news; he finds out that Juliet is a Capulet. Benvolio tries to make Romeo forget that she ever existed. The Nurse then tells Juliet the same news; we see this well by the line ‘My only love sprung from my only hate!� which gives the message across clearly. Romeo and Juliet meet under different circumstances in the modern version, Romeo has just taken some kind of hallucinogen, a drug perhaps, and it looks as if Romeo is trying to test himself, asking his brain if he wants to live, taking the risk of death to the edge when we see him with his head in a bowl of water.He eventually withdraws his head from the bowl. As he is exiting the bathroom he happens to walk by a fish tank, he is still maybe suffering form the drugs side effects, he then sees Juliet on the other side of the fish tank. This fish tank isn�t just an ordinary fish tank, this tank means a lot more. As we see Romeo and Juliet see each other through the tank, there is a lot of focus on the eyes of the two characters, this makes us feel closer to the characters, the fish tank is the only separation between the two making contact, even though their faces are distorted, this doesn�t change the fact that they may have fallen in love with one another, and this gives the love at first sight emphasis more impact.They finally meet beyond the tank. Juliet is attempting to go somewhere but her attempts are foiled when Romeo talks of his love for her, she questions his motives but seems more convinced of Romeos authenticity of true love for her with flowing speech of his undying love for Juliet. Romeo kisses Juliet and even pulls her into a lift when he sees that her nurse is calling for her. The lift signifies their isolation from the whole party, as before Romeo was chasing Juliet all over the ballroom trying to get his message across, but Juliet was still walking away from him.The camera follows Juliets every movements well and is showing that things are very chaotic in a way, following Juliet up the stairs, through the hall way, past the balcony, rushing around, maybe showing us a sign of things to come. The soft love music from the lone singer, which is also present in Zefferelli�s version, quickly whimpers away to more fast tempo music as Romeo chases Juliet. All is stopped though when the nurse catches them and Romeo finds out that Juliet is a Capulet and that she is due to marry Paris. We see that Romeos brave attempts may have been stopped by one thing, the family name.One thing that I am keen to point out is the use of costume in the two versions. As I have already said, the Zefferelli version has a traditional Elizabethan masked ball; Romeo and every other person seem to be wearing the same darkish coloured clothes. There is one exception, which is Juliet, her bright orangey/red dress makes her stand out from everyone else and shows us that this is the most important female in the scene, Juliet. The dress has a more important role in the Luhrman version, as each character has a fancy dress costume similar to their personality/character. Paris has an astronauts costume, signifying that he is brave, noble, and representing the great American astronaut Neil Armstrong, a man who held the world to a standstill, a national hero.Then we move onto Tybalt. He has a Devils costume on, showing us that he has a fiery personality, a short temper, and an evil man maybe; the devil is the main route of all evil. Mercutio as I have already said is a drag queen, this shows us that he is humorous, and doesn�t care what people think, also that he may not take life that seriously, but he is respected by both families and tries to play a neutral part in-between the feuding families, but we know that he is closer to Romeo than anyone else in the families. Romeo has the costume of a knight, a knight in shining armour perhaps, a saviour, a brave soldier, this also coincides with Juliets costume, as she has chosen the costume of an angel, the route of all goodness, an angel is perfect, maybe this is how Romeo sees her, an angel has no faults.The Balcony – Act 2 Scene 2Juliet appears at a balcony at the back of her house and speaks of her love for Romeo. Romeo, as he is leaving the Capulets party/ball, he cannot withdraw his feelings for his newfound love and has no choice but to go back to the Capulet residence to try and confront Juliet. This is the second of the love scenes, and as you go through the play they all have things in common that you notice.For example, when the love scenes take place, the two lovers are always separated from the chaos that surrounds them, the fish tank, the lift, and the balcony scene, later on we see a few more examples of this similarity, in hindsight the marriage and the closing scene. Their love is seen as real and pure, this is helped by the use of language they use towards one another which is imaginative and flowing. Juliet appears on the balcony, and speaks of her love for Romeo, she says that she doesn�t care that Romeo is a Montague, this shows the audience that the biggest factor in the pair being together peacefully cannot stop their love.The two versions are quite similar but have some obvious differences due to the modernisation of the play. First of all in Zefferelli�s version, we see Juliet walk towards the edge of her balcony. She speaks of her love for Romeo, she is so in love that she calls for him knowing there�s a good chance of him not returning the call, this is where the most famous line in the play comes in, ‘O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?� Romeo hears this as he is hiding in a near by tree, and replies to her call. Juliet is obviously startled and surprised by his appearance but is still glad to see him. She fears for Romeos safety because if he gets caught he will be in big trouble, also she wonders how Romeo got to the balcony in the first place. His answer is that love enabled him to climb the walls easily.This shows another bond between the pair in that even death cannot keep Romeo apart from Juliet. The pair exchange vowels and agree to marry with no one knowing, Romeo eventually parts from Juliet and leaves the scene. The quietness and twilighty settings of the scene also help isolate the couple from the rest of the world, the romantic music that was used in the ball scene is used once again. Juliet is wearing a nightgown, which doesn�t really signify anything here, apart from maybe promoting the ‘angelic� theme. In Luhrman�s version, Juliet once again enters the balcony area and speaks of her love towards Romeo.But in this version, as well as the language being original, it seems to be delivered more naturally, it seems more believable and passionate towards us. Juliet then makes her way down from the balcony, towards the swimming pool, as Romeo enters the courtyard area, we see that he is maybe a little nervous on meeting Juliet again, we see him hold close to the wall, and stumble over some chairs, because he may be nervous but we know for sure that he doesn�t want to get caught by guards or he will die. She still speaks of Romeo, but in the previous version, when Romeo confronts Juliet and alerts us of his presence on the balcony, in this version Romeo surprises Juliet by the swimming pool.Juliet is so surprised by Romeo�s being there that as Romeo attempts to comfort Juliet they both fall into the swimming pool. The swimming pool has more in common with a fish tank than you might think. The swimming pool much like the fishtank symbolizes the couple�s isolation from their surroundings, as the couple go underwater, there is no music and the camera focuses on the eyes of the pair, also there is a lot of moving around under water, but there seems no rush to return to the surface as I think they see this as a moment of togetherness, purity and isolation again.As Romeo speaks of his love for Juliet, the two swim about until Juliet hits the edge of the pool, she stops and hesitates a little before kissing Romeo because she is still weary of the dangers that may arouse. The couple exchange vows and the romantic music from the ballroom scene crops up again, before the nurse calls on Juliet. They embrace once again and Romeo hesitantly leaves. There is a lot of passion in this scene and we get a better feel that the two are in love.

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