Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare (published in 1595), who is considered as the best writer in English history, is a play filled with love, death, conflict, drama and hate. Romeo and Juliet are both teens that have fallen madly in love with each other and have rushed into marriage. Eventually, the hate between the two families tears the relationship apart causing tragedy, leading to suicide amongst the two young lovers. But how is this tragic play still relevant in 2019? Well, Romeo and Juliet are still relevant in 2019 because it is teaching lessons and meaning to modern days impetuous teens and feuding families. Arguably, I think that the movie made by Baz Luhrmann is better and more effective in uniting us with the original play. The use of only selected Shakespearean language, music, and visuals (more dramatic scenes) and the actors in this movie are much more effective than the Globe Plays’ interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.
The 1500s was the beginning of a modern era, an era where Kings and Queens powered over England and war was just about interminable. Fashion was becoming more and more big and bold and brand new inventions came out all the time. This is the era where Shakespeare was writing, producing and selling out plays and shows around England. Some of his most famous plays include Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, As you Like it and of course the most well known, Romeo and Juliet.
The Globe plays the use of Shakespearean language is just too much for even a true Shakespeare fan to keep up with. The dialogue in this play is fast and rushed and very hard to focus on. Keeping the Shakespearean language is smart and original, but if the play was slowed down more it would make it much easier to understand, however, if the lines were spoken slower it would make the play longer and more boring than it already is. Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet on the other hand, have picked out only the best Shakespearean lines. This is very effective because the movie is easy to watch for all viewers and it is easy to tell what the play is about. Keeping the lines that he did add to the overall effectiveness of the film. The language features in this film are overall really good. In some scenes, the dialogue may have been a bit too fast, but having the other really dramatic scenes slowed down a lot more made the film flow well. For example, having slow dialogue in the intimate scenes like the pool scene and having fast dialogue in the fight scenes. This was effective.
Baz Luhrmann’s use of music, costumes, and symbol was used amazingly during the film. The music in the film added so much suspense and dramatic element to the film. During the romantic scenes like the scene when they first met at the fish tank, and the night they spent together, ‘Kissing You’ by Des’ree played. This was beautifully done and calmed down the film from the dramatic fight scenes. The diegetic sound was played at the masquerade ball and non-diegetic sound was playing for the other scenes. “I had a dream” by Whatever played when Tybalt was planning to kill Romeo. This is effective because it built suspense and emotion to the film.
In the Globe play production, music was used, but the music used was Shakespearean time music, this is effective but boring to listen to. It is a good idea to use Shakespearean time music to build authenticity. However, it wasn’t as fun and effective to listen to. The costumes in the Globe Play were authentic, they represented what people wore in the 1500s, but again, nothing was special about it. However, in the movie, the costumes were carefully and cleverly picked to suit the roles of the actors. Tybalt wore all black leather and boots. The costume he wore made him look evil, which is the role that Tybolt plays. Romeo and Juliet wear simple light outfits, Romeo wears a beach shirt with his buttons undone at the top, this makes him look nice and approachable. The rest of the Montagues wear similar clothing. Juliet generally wears a nice simple dress. At the Masquerade ball Juliet wore an all-white angel outfit, Tybalt went as a devil and Romeo went as a knight. The costumes at the ball worked very well because it symbols the traits of the characters, with Juliet being innocent and angelic, Tybalt being evil, and Romeo being Juliet’s Knight in Shining Armor. The costumes were very effective and appealing in this movie and made it easy to distinguish between the two families. The symbol was also effective, guns were carved in as the sword names from the original and the number plates on the cars also had meaning from the original.
Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet has an amazing cast. The actors are more effective in Luhrmann’s movie than the actors in the Globe Play. Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes amazingly play the roles of Romeo and Juliet. DiCaprio is very convincing and impulsive. These traits, however, lead to the tragedy at the end of the play. Luhrmann states in a documentary that he saw DiCaprio in a magazine and he claims that he was “perfect to play Romeo” and that he needed Dicaprio to be that role. Clare Danes is also perfect to play Juliet she is very mature and is a well-spoken and convincing adolescent. She is very good at showing a young girl becoming a woman. Clare Danes also didn’t look too young to play Juliet, she made the relationship look romantic, rather than creepy. The Chemistry that is shown between Romeo and Juliet in the movie is really good and makes the viewers build a stronger connection to their relationship. The Globe Plays actors were amazing as well, they have done amazing at moving around and knowing all of the Shakespearean languages which takes so much skill because Shakespearean isn’t a language that we use today. The main comment made about the Globe Plays’ actors is that their lines were spoken just a little bit too fast at times to fully understand what they were saying.
In conclusion, Baz Luhrmann’s interpretation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was better than the one that the Globe made. Both, however, were very well done, planned and scripted. Luhrmann’s movie included cherry-picked Shakespearean lines that made it easy to follow and understand. Music, visuals and the cast of the movie made it worth watching and told the story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in a more modernized and understandable way. I would highly recommend watching this movie. I would also, however, recommend watching the Globe Play if you want the full Shakespearean experience.