“Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.” This is a famous quote from Shakespeare’s original play “Romeo and Juliet”. William Shakespeare has had a massive amount to do with our language history and this has also influenced modern interpretations of Romeo and Juliet. Hi , my name is Oakley and in my speech today I will discuss Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 Romeo and Juliet modern interpretation and compare it to William Shakespeare’s original play to show the timeless nature of this incredible English writer’s work.
There aren’t as many similarities between the two but one thing stands out in the movie that is accurate from the original play, this is the language ; the language used in the Modern version of Romeo and Juliet has to-the-point Shakespearean text. Although it is not 100% accurate from the original , the script-writer has provided the actors with a summarised version as opposed to the original script. Examples of this are shown in the early scenes of the film as the Montagues arrive next to the Capulets at the gas station. Evidence of similarity is shown when the Capulets and Montagues say “do you bite your thumb at me sir?” . In the original play , Sampson and Abraham come face to face in the Verona Marketplace, but in the 1996 adaption Samson and Abraham meet at a gas station. Although the scenery is different the film is pretty much as William Shakespeare wrote it over 4 centuries ago . “Do you bite your thumb at me sir?” is a sentence or taunt that we would never hear nowadays as it is seen as unusual and sophisticated , I think that Baz Luhrmann decided to use original Shakespearean language because it makes the film all the more authentic and eye-catching. Another similarity is the personality and behaviour of characters. In the film the characters act and perform as if they were actually Romeo and Juliet from the original play ( in a modernised setting of course). The characters are in a modern setting but there feelings are the same as the play , the only difference in character is the language update that included modern text. Baz Luhrmann used a lot of the same plot as the original play to revive the spirit of William Shakespeare and the timeless nature of his play.
Now that we`ve got the similarities out of the way , lets now talk about the differences , in the film there is lots of noticeable features that we may not expect as the audience to appear , such as the cars , guns and clothing designs . This is a major gap from swords – guns , tards- Hawaiian shirts and horses to cars. Although some of the older audience may not like the idea of a modern adaptation from a legendary play it sure surprised me. The fact that this adaptation used modern scenes and props makes it all the more relatable and imaginable , not only do the props and scene make it more believable and realistic but this movie might be more watchable and than the original!.
Which one is better ? 1996 version or the original play and text? , In my opinion the 1996 version intrigues the audience to give them an edge of the seat experience that wasn’t attainable from other adaptations , such as Gnomeo and Juliet which is an example of a great movie but a drastic makeover from traditional Shakespearean text ,the movie itself is targeted at a younger audience as it is animated , the key difference from the original play is the text , it uses modern English but uses the original Romeo and Juliet theme. Although this movie is successful , the language and storyline is not authentic. Luhrmann’s 1996 adaption it shows key aspects that give the audience a feeling that just cant be explained , the cars, guns , clothes and actions just give the movie that spark of fire that may not appear when watching other successful stage productions of either . Besides the storyline , I also liked the movie because of Leonardo Di Caprio , I believe that he was the best actor to play Romeo because the acting and portrayal of the character is 100% believable, the fact that the film producers chose him to play Romeo makes the movie all the more famous and rememberable . It probably even made todays audience react the same way that people would’ve reacted 400 years ago watching the romantic hero of the original play in the late 1500’s. Obviously if they didn’t use Leonardo Di Caprio the movie would be less famous and less successful. This is because Di Caprio’s incredible acting brought Romeo into the modern world , I believe that the LA setting was as incredible as Verona.
Luhrmann an Australian director did a very good job on the movie overall , the movie was a hit when it released in cinemas and on dvd . Not only did it influence todays modern interpretations of other classic movies , the movie also grossed over $146 million dollars , this movie was definitely a success according to the profits, I believe this movie may be the best remake of a historical play that there will ever be. As well as the profits the movie also made it onto the list of movies you should watch before the age of 12 , also the list of movies you should watch now.
Overall Baz Luhrmann’s modern interpretation of Romeo and Juliet shows the timeless nature of William Shakespeare’s ideas and work by using his play and turning into something a person nowadays would watch . This movie has the success and profit it deserved , in my opinion Luhrmann’s interpretation is the best modern Romeo and Juliet movie there will ever be . The timeless story of Romeo and Juliet will go to live on for a long time . Thanks for listening!