I figure that if I just keep typing, something profound will eventually come out of all this -

Friday, October 28, 2011

Analysis of 1968 Version of Romeo and Juliet

Alright, I'm going to start focusing on specifically unique elements found within this version.
What major themes are strongly represented?
    -Violent Hate
    -Love vs. Lust
How true to the text does the film remain?
    -Large chunks of text are pulled from the film. Entire scenes are removed at times. I'd approximate that 70% of the text is still found within the film.
How true to the plot does the film remain? 
    -Extremely true. Despite the removal of certain scenes, the overall tone and tenor are accurate. Paris lives, but I can stomach that.
What is lost/gained by diverging away from the plot?
    -Time Gained - The film is meant for a modern audience, so the film needs to last only 2 hours, instead of 3.5. This also impacts the overall feel of the play because while the first 3 Acts have sufficient time to build and develop, the last 2 progress extremely quickly, feeling slightly rushed. Romeo and Juliet's love builds strongly, but suddenly everything comes crashing down within the last 20 minutes
    -Juliet's depth Lost - Act 4 Scene 3 (When Juliet takes the poison to feign death) is reduced to Juliet going to bed and taking the poison. Her soliloquy is eliminated completely which I found to be a shame, because it shows a little more maturity and foresight to be scared. I find myself relating to Juliet a bit more during her musings because it shows that she does think somewhat ahead. Before I'm constantly frustrated because she never takes a moment to consider the consequences of her actions, except for in this one scene. Hence, I was disappointed to notice it's removal
What minor characters receive more screen time and how does that affect the play?

How does the costume/setting/language/cultural representation affect the themes in the play?
    -Directors Interpretation - I found that the directors emphasis of certain elements played up the theme of fate more strongly in this version than others.
      -Romeo and Juliet meeting at the party was established as a twist in the dance, not them meeting eyes across a crowded room, but more happy luck putting them together in a dance.
      -The friar, while looking a statue of Christ has the sudden inspiration to marry Romeo and Juliet, suggesting divine intervention.

      -When the Prince states that the hour Romeo returns to Verona he shall die, the clock begins to gong, providing a foreshadow that the hour is near to Romeo's death.
      -As Romeo leaves to go to Juliet's tomb, he passes by the messenger from the Friar, suggesting that had he waited 5 minutes he would know the truth.
    All these contribute to a much stronger feeling of a higher power at work here. Romeo and Juliet are doomed by fate from the beginning and that is more  dramatically represented.

    -Setting - In this instance, the fighting in Verona is portrayed as a literal riot. In my mind I pictured a street scuffle or a brief brawl between the two familes. Understandly, I always thought the Prince was being a little dramatic when he threatened the families about the consequences of fighting. In this version, however, the two families literally cause a riot when they fight. There's no doubt of the hate between these two families. It's not just a small feud, but on the level gang wars that escalate. Little wonder the Prince of Verona declares martial law.

How do the actors portray certain characters? Again, how does this affect the themes represented?
Would Shakespeare be rolling over in his grave if he knew about this interpretation?
    -Negative. In most instances I feel that the portrayal of fate and hatred are more strongly represented than in other adapations-elements I think are necessary to the overall strength of the play.

What kind of interaction is there between main characters?
    - Romeo & Juliet - There's a whole lot of phyiscal passion between these two. Throughout the entire film they are passionately embracing, kissing, necking. I'm surpsied Juliet isn't covered in hicky's. Joking aside, the amount of physical interaction between the two is double or triple what other films show. (including a rather scandalous bedroom scene, especially considering the PG rating) This changes the theme of love quite dramatically, causing the audience to question whether this love is an enduring love based off of mutual respect and friendship or simply a couple of hormonal teenagers. You want to believe that their love is a truly epic, enduring sort - worthy of being immortalized through suicide - but it really doesn't seem that way. It's hard to get past the image of two teenagers making out every chance they get.

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