Compare and Contrast: Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is one of the most known plays in history, and everybody knows that. It has been produced and played by many people over the years, but two motion picture versions stick out. Franco Zeffirelli (1968) and Baz Luhrmanns (1996) versions are both well known. Although these two productions are based on the same storyline, the balcony scenes are radically different.
Zeffirellis balcony scene is just as you would imagine it if you were reading the story. The balcony is high, and Romeo (Leonard Whiting) is down in the brush and hiding out of site. Juliet (Olivia Hussey) appears and is very convincing when she speaks, while she moves about. The black and white film really adds to how the Shakespearean language pulls you into the movie and scene. When Romeo climbs the tree and kisses Juliet, the excitement he acts out doesnt seem exaggerated its believable.
In Luhrmanns version the movie leading up to the balcony scene has been quite intense. The balcony scene isnt really much of a balcony scene; its a pool scene. Juliet (Claire Danes) comes out of an elevator at the pool level. Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) scares Juliet and they both fall into the pool. So, this scene known for the balcony takes place in a pool. The kissing seen is a little much for Shakespeare.
The difference between these two is like night and day. Zeffirellis film is what you think of when you think of Romeo and Juliet. Luhrmanns film is beefed up and modernized. Zeffirelli used black and white and a more formal use of what Shakespeare had in mind. Luhrmann used guns and drugs to draw in the generation for which his movie was made.
Both versions were entertaining in their own way. Both directors put their personalities into this classic love story, and enjoyed both. Luhrmanns version entertained me more though. I liked how Luhrmann used how the world is today to make this tale more exciting. The violence and partying along with the Shakespearean really made this film grab you.