Books and Movies Reviews

Romeo and Juliet

The 1996 Luhrmann version of Romeo and Juliet is unusual because it takes place in modern times compared to the original play four centuries earlier. "The location of the movie was Mexico City; from Churubusco Studios to the badlands of Texcoco to the city's famed Chapultapec Castle" (Thomas). All of these become the setting of Verona Beach, a sexy present-day world ruled by the two feuding families.The film captures many aspects of the '90s, from fast-driven cars to Hawaiian-style shirts and quick-flinging guns instead of swords.The most surprising thing about the movie is that the original language of the play has been kept. The character’s names are all the same and the plot hasn’t changed but what has changed is the style. The film starts out with a fast changing montage of images, often blurred. It has a good pace and keeps the audience in suspense. Instead of mundane colors appearing in the film, bright, bold, vivid images roll across the screen. An alternative rock soundtrack chopped scenes and unusual camera angles adds a stylish new Shakespeare."Luhrmann wanted to avoid a stagy version of the classic play so he decided to cast young Americans for the roles of Romeo and Juliet and for the opposing Capulet and Montague gangs, letting them speak the famous lines in their own American accents" (Twentieth). Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the characters in the leading roles. Danes' portrayal of a young and innocent Juliet is well depicted, especially in the scenes in which she wears white, symbolizing purity and innocence. DiCaprio's representation of Romeo is that of a rebel, and as Luhrmann said, "He does seem to symbolize his generation. I just thought he'd be a perfect Romeo, it was as simple as that" (Twentieth).Another interesting aspect of the film is the diversity of the cast. Mercutio, Captain Prince and Tybalt are all of different races. This cre…

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