Comparitive Essay Romeo and Juliet Luhrmann's vs Zefferelli's version. Watch
William Shakespeare in around 1595, wrote what is now a, world renowned play which is known as ‘Romeo and Juliet’. This play is also known for inspiring the audience with its powerful messages that even people to this day can relate too. There are two different interpretations of the play that are both very different. One of them is directed by the Australian director and producer, Baz Luhrmann. The other interpretation was directed by the Italian director Franco Zefferelli. Both talented directors have each created something unique and compelling. Both versions display different understandings of certain scenes, for example, Act 5 scene 3 otherwise known as the ‘Death Scene’. Luhrmann’s version is clearly a more appealing film as it attracts a more young and contemporary audience. This means that Luhrmann’s interpretation is superior to Zefferelli’s. Both representations of the play add to the success of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and so have many other films and versions before these for over 420 years.
Firstly, different people over the course of around 420 years have changed the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to fit the era they were performed in. And many directors and producers of these different interpretations of the play have or haven’t considered Shakespeare’s intent. Shakespeare’s intent was to create an entertaining play that would have everyone and anyone watching on the edge of their seats. Shakespeare became a world-renowned artist primarily because of the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. This is because the play has never decayed over time, because it shares emotions that people still feel today. In the ‘Death scene’, Luhrmann’s setting was in a church, filled with flowers and decorations, but Zefferelli’s was in the Capulet crypt, which appeared to be made out of cold concrete with past Capulet family members lying next to Juliet. The best play to rein act Shakespeare’s original play in a traditional way is Zefferelli’s. This is because they have the correct setting to fit the original and the time the play is set in is the same as the original. So, this is what Shakespeare’s intent is, why his intent will live on throughout history and this also proves that Zefferelli’s is the most traditional and closest to the original play.
Secondly, the Shakespearian era was over 400 years ago, thus the play must change to appeal the audience in the present and should change to suit the time it is set in. And both Zefferelli’ s and Luhrmann’s version were both performed at different time periods to each other. Zefferelli’s, was created to be performed in front of an audience who enjoyed a traditional show rather than redesigned modern one. Both interpretations still follow the storyline but some bend the it to appeal to different audiences, for example, an audience that is in the 21st century. Luhrmann’s version. Luhrmann’s film was set in 1996, and it has a retro, modern and contemporary theme to attract a young audience. Although Luhrmann’s version was not set in 21st century, viewers would still rather a more contemporary theme. A comparison between both films will show that in the Luhrmann’s ‘Death scene’, Juliet is laying to rest in a church which is more relevant to the younger generation, compared to Zefferelli’s where Juliet is lying to rest in her family crypt which is uncommon in the world of today. Therefore, Luhrmann’s version is the better film in this instance because it attracts a younger audience and appeals to the new generation as opposed to Zefferelli’s, which appeals to older people that enjoy a more traditional theme.
Thirdly, Shakespeare was committed to creating a play that could relate to people’s emotions. He did this by including love, heartbreak, tragedy, death and happiness all in to one play. He was successful in doing this and people like Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zefferelli want to continue his intent in different ways. Both films were both conveying films and each of them had the same powerful message, which was that violence does not solve problems, and that no one should die because of the name or a title they were given. In this case, Luhrmann’s movie was the most powerful because it was only made 21 years ago and people today can relate to the powerful message it has. A contemporary audience is bound to be more entertained by a modern film, even if that film doesn’t follow the exact storyline as the original. Luhrmann’s is also the better film because it uses a setting that people can recognise, like the ‘Death scene’ which is in a church when Zefferelli’s is in a Crypt. However, Zefferelli’s interpretation is closer to Shakespeare’s intent in which it is closest to the original play by him. Overall, the recommended film is Luhrmann’s.
To conclude with, Shakespeare has truly created a masterpiece. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is known for its powerful message meaning hidden within it. That meaning of this play is that violence is never the answer. He has made something that will never be forgotten, because no one can escape basic human emotion. This play is also powerful because the viewers can relate to things that are in the play such as, heartbreak, love and happiness. Franco Zefferelli and Baz Luhrmann have both created something unique and different from each other but have succeeded in making the audience feel all those emotions. Overall, the film that is closest to Shakespeare’s intent is Zefferelli’s, the one that appeals to a contemporary audience is Luhrmann’s, but overall Luhrmann’s is the recommended one out of both of them.