To compare and contrast two films

The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast two films made by two different directors of, “Romeo and Juliet”. The two directors made the same story into a movie. There is a difference between the two though, one is an old 1968 version and the other is a more modern 1996 version. The 1968 version, Zefferelli’s version, was truer to Shakespeare’s original, while the 1996 version, Luhrman’s version, had its own originality. In this essay I’m going to compare and contrast the two.

The events that happen in Zefferelli’s film is completely different from the events in Luhrmann’s film. Zefferelli being true to Shakespeare and Luhrmann being modern and true to rock and roll there has to be differences. For instance the opening events in Zefferelli’s version are much closer to the way Shakespeare would probably want it. The way it starts is a little more appealing to the older generation because it starts of with the narrator, Lawrence Olivier, speaking with his soothing voice as the camera slowly pans the gentle landscape of Verona City.

Also in Zefferelli’s film the Capulets start the argument by biting their thumb at the Montagues, then Tybalt, played by Micheal Yorke, comes and turns the argument into a fight, and instead of the police stopping it is the Prince who stops it. Where as in the Luhrmann version it is very different. In the start of it there is a news reporter on a television screen speaking and recreating the prologue but in a 20th century way.

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While the woman is speaking she fades and the narrator, Pete Possewaite, starts to speak and at the same time the camera shows clips of Verona City 20th century style with neon signs, skyscrapers, billboards and statues.Also in this version there is a fight but instead of the fight being at the market it is at a gas station and instead of the Montagues being brave, calm, peaceful people like in the Zefferelli version they are loud, cowardly, peace disturbing people. Also in the Luhrmann version the Montagues are the jokers instead of the Capulets as in the Zeffirelli version. Both events have different effects on the audience. Zeffferelli’s effect on me was it gave me a little calm humour at the start then a little excitement with the fight and back down to calm but with no humour. You won’t be as fond of it if you aren’t into 16th century style movies. Where as the Luhrmann version gives excitement and jokes right the way through, and it makes you feel interested by their terminology but confused by the speed because so much things are happening at once.There is a big difference between the settings and props used in the two films. In Zefferelli’s film the props looked cheap but they used them wisely. For instance Zefferelli’s version was set in the 16th century medieval market place in Verona, Italy. It is a hot sunny afternoon with market stalls filled with fruit and vegetables, horses trotting around, bells ringing, and when the chaos breaks out there’s men fighting with steel swords and plenty of market people running around. I think it cost a lot to do all that back in those days but it’s nothing compared to the cost of Luhrmann’s film.Luhrmann’s film was a lot more high-tech than Zefferelli’s film. For instance instead of black and brown horses there was almost every colour car you can think of. There has to be though because it’s set in the 20th century in a fictional Verona, which was filmed in Mexico, California, and Miami. It had props like skyscrapers, guns (which they referred to as swords), cars, televisions, a gas station, and they even had helicopters but the best touch was the statue in the middle of the city separating the two families Capulets and Montagues. All this played had a similar effect on the audience with both Zefferelli and Luhrmann’s films. They both help you feel like it’s real because of the detail they put into this particular aspect, which is one of the few things they both have in common.The acting is, in my opinion, one of the biggest advantages Zefferelli’s version has over Luhrmann’s. The actors in Zefferelli’s film play their parts like it was made for them. They might seem old fashioned with their costumes but they make the costumes work for them, and they speak clearly, plus they have the accents with facial expressions and body language down pact. For example Tybalt, who is played by Micheal Yorke and is supposed to be a dark, evil and mysterious character with no love for any Montague, is played perfectly.The accent is evil, the expressions hateful and even the body language is mysterious. I haven’t seen Leonard Whiting or Olivia Hussey, who are Romeo and Juliet, act yet but judging by the high quality of acting I have high expectations. Even the narrator plays his part correctly. The way he speaks is calm and gentle just sets the scene and tone. In the Luhrmann film although the acting is good it is not as good as the acting in the Zefferelli film. For example, the man that played Tybalt, John Leguizimo, didn’t quite get the accent right because it was a mix of Latino, American and Italian but he did get the dark, evil and mysterious aspect across. Also the narrator’s part was read exquisitely by Pete Possewaite like in Zeffirelli’s version.Once again I haven’t seen Leonardo Dicaprio or Clare Danes, who are Romeo and Juliet, act yet and I’m not sure what to expect in this film because it is very unpredictable. The acting in both films was good though and acting has a huge impact on the audience. If the acting is absolute garbage and everything else is great then the movie still would not be that great. The Zefferelli actors have a better effect on the audience, the same as the Luhrmann actors but better, because the acting helps you to get to know the characters and makes you love, like, dislike or hate a character and gets you into the movie a bit more, which is one advantage Zefferelli has over Luhrmann.Camera shots and angles is another big part in a film. There are many different types of camera shots and angles and many of them were used in both Zefferelli’s and Luhrmann’s films. In Zefferelli’s movie he used a lot of long, high and medium angle shots, to show Verona’s lovely landscape, with a lot of panoramics which helps you appreciate the beauty of Verona. Also before and after the fight started he used a lot of sow zooming and close ups to build up tension, which is what Luhrmann, pretty much, done.There is a difference though, Luhrmann takes advantage of the technology and uses higher angle shots, moves the camera faster so the shots and sequences go faster, a lot of extreme close ups, point of view shots, zooms and medium shots. The panoramics are much faster though but there are much more which builds up a lot pf tension and makes the film a lot more suspenseful. That makes a big impact on the audience because in Zefferelli’s film the camera shots and angles help the audience further understand what’s happening and build up tension. Where as in the Luhrmann version the camera shots and angles confuse the audience a bit but still build tension.Sound effects, put together with the camera shots and angles, also play a big part in a movie. This is one aspect, I think, Luhrmann definitely has over Zefferelli. Zefferelli’s sound effects are great but Luhrmann’s are better. In Zefferelli’s film during the prologue you hear slow, gentle and soothing instrumental music that coordinates with the narrator’s calm and relaxing voice. After that it switches to the market place where you hear the sounds of people talking quite loud. Then suddenly the sounds get louder and you start to hear more sounds like horses and their hooves, shouting and bells.During the fight, though, you could hear all those things plus screaming, swords clattering, and trumpets blowing which creates the atmosphere. However, Luhrmann’s sound effects were different. During the prologue you could hear classical church music which the switched to rock after the prologue and then to punk, all of the instrumental. After that you could hear the sound of car engines and burning car tires scratching against the pavement, which are some sound effects he used a lot.When the fight broke out you could hear screams, instrumental Latin music, the cling clang of the spurs on the Capulets’ boots and just before you could Tybalt’s match as it plummeted to the asphalt. Then after the fight when Tybalt began to chase Benvolio you could hear the busy traffic of Verona with people beeping their car horns and sirens of the police cars with the propellers of police helicopters in the background which was a nice touch because it’s the 20th century and the police don’t chase people with horses anymore, but both Zefferelli and Luhrmann’s sound effects were fantastic but I prefer Luhrmann’s. Zefferelli’s sound effects create the realistic atmosphere for the audience, yet still it doesn’t create the atmospheric feeling as well as Luhrmann’s.There are a lot of emotions a film could make you feel. They can make you feel happy by making you laugh, sad by making you cry, or even angry because of what someone has done. They can also make you feel all these emotions in a space of ten minutes. That is exactly what happens in Zefferelli’s film. In the beginning there’s a little humour which suddenly changes and becomes serious.Then the foolish fun becomes ferocious fighting until Tybalt arrives and expresses his hatred for all Montagues which you could see by his facial expressions and hear by the words coming out of his mouth. Tybalt turns the ferocious fight into a barbaric battle and then the Prince comes and shows his disgust of the way the Capulets and Montagues are fighting which you can see by his facial expressions and body language, but in Luhrmann’s version it’s a little different. First at the beginning there’s joy and humour like Zefferelli’s, then a short while after the Montagues reach the gas station there’s a little more humour but anger shown by the Capulets. Then suddenly it switches from humour and anger to anger and fear. As the camera starts to pan and show the expressions on their faces the tension slowly builds.Then, bam, it turns into a fight and you could clearly see the fear on the Montagues’ faces and the hatred in the Capulets’ eyes, and when Tybalt and Benvolio get caught by the police you could see the disappointment on Tybalt’s face and the relief on Benvolio’s. At the time you could see the anger in the policeman’s face because of all the damage they had caused. The show of emotions does help in a movie because it assists the audience on understanding the film. In Zefferelli’s version the emotions the characters show get you to understand them and what’s happening because of the slow panning and the time taken to show their expressions which slowly builds up tension. In Luhrmann’s film though it is passions and emotions of the characters that help the audience indulge.Both films are fabulous remakes but both have their highs and lows. They have a great effect on audience overall. The effect Zefferelli’s version had overall, on me personally, is that it is a good film with humour that is more realistic in showing how Shakespeare’s play was but it is more for the forty years and older generation. At the same time it has some magnificent acting and it’s easy to keep up with. Luhrmann’s overall effect, on me once again, is that it is also a good film with humour but is more a modern film for the fifteen and up generation because of the personality of the characters, the colours, the sword guns and the action and explosions.The acting, however, is terrible but can be overlooked because of the action. Overall they both are stupendous films with glorious opening sequences, but in my opinion, the German Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 version is better than the Italian Franco Zefferelli’s 1968 version. I prefer modern 20th century settings and action to old fashion 14th century settings and action even though the acting is better.

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To compare and contrast two films. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from

To compare and contrast two films
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