In Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ the opening fight scene starts off with a shot of some yob like people listening to heavy music. You can tell that think they are above the rest by the way they are all messing around in the car. These are the Montagues They pull up at a petrol station nearly running over one of the garage workers and Benvolio Goes inside the building. As he walks into the building you see the Capulet car pull up very smoothly.
You can tell which car is which because it says on the number plate. Now the camera angle is from the bottom of the car door. When it opens you see a leg come out of the door with smart black trousers on and black leather boots with a metal heal. A cigar drops to the floor and he treads it out, all of this is introducing you to the smart smooth style of the Capulets.
Still only looking at the lower part of this mans leg he goes into the garage, as he does some nuns exit the garage. The punk like Montagues are rude to the nuns as they drive off by licking their nipples etc.
As they are so involved in this they do not notice that some Capulets have pulled up and as they see them there facial expressions change dramatically to one of fear and they become very panicky. The Montague in the car shows his holstered gun and says “quarrel I will back thee”.
The Capulet smoothly shows his gun and then draws back his lip to reveal a metal plate where his teeth should by with ‘sin’ inscribed on it, he hisses when he does this. The Montagues are so panicked that the one in the car jumps and falls back into the car. The Capulets start to mock them for their wimpy behaviour and laugh as them. Feeling they have to do something in return one of the Montagues bites his thumb at the Capulets to mock them. The Capulets rev up their car and reverse around the garage. The Montages are not sure what to do and they run around like headless chickens for a while. One of the Capulets gets out of the car in as rage and shouts asking if they bite their thumb at him. Then the Montage very worried asks his friend what the law is, he tells him to say no. He says no but he does still bite his thumb the to houses argue and are about to have a little shoot out in the garage but then Benvolio comes out of the Garage and tries to keep the Peace.
A lady in a car is hitting one of the Capulets over the head so he draws his gun and she stops. This little bit and the nuns is to show that the whole town is getting involved and affected by the two houses. Now we see Tybalt face for the first time. We see him light a cigar and drop the match to the floor. He challenges Benvolio to a fight but Benvolio says that he is keeping the peace. A little boy comes out of the Garage and pretends to shoot Tybalt. Tybalt turns around and points his gun at him. Then a shoot out commences with Benvolio getting shot and dropping his gun to the floor. The Capulets are puffs as usual and drive off with the petrol pump still in there car so petrol goes every where including on Benvolio. Tybalt gets a scope on his pistol and takes his jacket off for extra smoothness. He then kneels down and shoots one of the Montagues in the car. Then he drops his cigar to the floor into the petrol where Benvolio is lying, Benvolio quickly gets up picks up his gun and runs off over the cars in the traffic jams having shots at Tybalt but fails to hit him.
[The other version] Opening scene
In the two studio productions of Romeo and Juliet the opening scene is not as well done as in the film because of many reasons. The main reason is the lack of space and funding probably. The fight scene is set in a market place and t o make them more interesting they tip over stools and tables. By-standers are brought in, in both productions to show that the blood feud between the two families has spilt over into the city and is affecting the public. In the Thames version more so the bystanders are angry at the two houses as well and hurl insults this shows that they have reached the end of their tether with them. The studio versions are not as good as the films for obvious reasons.
In the two film versions Tybalt is portrayed in the same way as well as differently. In both versions is made out to be very smooth and an excellent ‘swords man’. We can see this when Mercutio says “more than prince of cats.. The very butcher of a silk button, a dualist.” on top of this the main thing portrayed in both is that he is evil. We can tell that he is evil by the way he acts and what he says for example “Peace I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues and thee.” He is used to show the state of violence that the town is in. He is always the trigger for violence and he enjoys violence. He symbolises danger and the clash between the houses. In the Baz Luhrmann version he is very religious we can tell this from what he wears, a waist coat with the son of God on it, his car having the same image in it and when he says “as I hate hell….” Tybalt means ‘prince of cats’ and in the Zeffereli version he actually has to little cat ear imitations on his hat. A fault of Tybalt is he is very cocky and possibly to cocky because before he fights Romeo and dies his famous last words are “Thou wretched boy, that didst consort him here, shall go with him hence.” The main thing we get from the films is that Tybalt represents evil and is a threat to anyone and every one.
The to chief families of the city of Verona were Capulets and Montagues. There had been a quarrel between these two and now they hated each other immensely. They could not even meet each other without an argument or brawl occurring. Frequent bloodshed disturbed Verona. One day in the market some Montagues saw some Capulets across the market place and bit their thumb at them to provoke a fight and that is what they got. Benvolio came out to split up he fight as his name means ‘good’ he sort got the situation under control. Then Tybalt came along and he causes the situation to fall apart and brake out into a bloodthirsty brawl. This is the first time we meet Tybalt and he has already caused havoc. After the brawl the prince gives out a warning that the next person to cause a fight will pay with his life. Mr and Mrs Montague are worried about Romeo their only son so they ask Benvolio to try to find out what is wrong with him. He found out that Romeo was lovesick so Benvolio and Mercutio persuade him to go to the Capulet party so that he can see how many other beautiful women there are apart from Rosalyn.
They told him that this party would make his swan seem like a crow. On the way to the party Romeo talks of dreams and Mercutio makes a speech about a fairy that makes people dream things. He talks all about the imperfections of women after this weird speech all of his friend think that he may be gay. They don’t take it as a joke, because they always knew Mercutio was a jumpy not quite all-there kind of person. When they get to the party Romeo sees a woman dancing who is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. He started to praise her and was over heard by Tybalt lord Capulet’s nephew. He recognised Romeos voice and was furious that a Montage dared come to their party to mock them. He would have killed Romeo on the spot as he was protective of Juliet, insulted and he liked violence but lord Capulet would not allow it, out of respect to the guests and Romeo behaved like a gentleman at the party. Tybalt promised that the Montagues would pay for the intrusion.
In the two films Mercutio is portrayed differently, but in both he has a lot of character. In the Zefforeli version he is not that weird he is just very snappy and has a short fuse. We can tell that he is clever by the way he speaks he manages to play on words all the time and wittily winds people up. “QUOTE” He is a good swords man like Tybalt and has an extensive knowledge of fighting, which is, demonstrated when he talks “QUOTE”. In the Baz Luhrmann version the make him very hyped up over the top especially at the party and when he makes his Queen Nab speech, he is portrayed as a transvestite. When he does the queen Nab speech they think he must be on drugs so he has flipped or something along those lines. In the Zefforeli his friends just think he is having a fit or has just lost it. Both films do this because on a couple of occasions through out the film he talks about women as scum and with no respect. “QUOTE” We know that Mercutio respects Tybalt because he says things like “Alas poor Romeo, he is already dead…. And he is a man to encounter Tybalt.”
The fight scene is the first time Mercutio and Tybalt meet in the film and the last time they meet ever. In the Baz Luhrmann film it is set on Verona beach. It starts with Mercutio standing in the sea shooting waves this shows that he is all fired up and ready for a fight. Benvolio is with him on the Coast guard seat. He warns Mercutio that the Capulets are around a looking for a fight. They meet up with some Montagues and go for a drink in a little cafï¿½. The Capulet car pulls up and they get out. One of them hisses at a child and the child runs off. All the Montagues are scared but Mercutio does not care. Tybalt asks where Romeo is and Mercutio says that he does not know. Then Tybalt says something that Mercutio does not like, he probably said this because Mercutio was winding him up before. Mercutio gets very angry and starts pushing Tybalt they are about to fight then Romeo comes.
Tybalt challenges Romeo to a duel. Romeo declines because he has just married Juliet. Tybalt gets very angry runs after him and starts to kick him along the sand into the old theatre. This is very symbolic because its like the same old play over and over again. Mercutio gets very angry with this and goes after Tybalt. He hits him with a bit of wood and then starts hitting him up the once stage. Mercutio reaches for a bit of wood to finish Tybalt off but Romeo gets in the way and then Tybalt picks up a bit of glass. As swing it around Mercutio takes the force of it because Romeo was in the way. Mercutio said it was a mere scratch and he would be ok then he staggers off towards the town and says “A plague on both your houses” he asks Romeo why he got in the way and he said I thought it was for the best. Mercutio dies.
The Zefforeli version is set in an old town square with a fountain. Mercutio is very hot and irritable. He is messing around with a white cloth. He goes over to the fountain to bath himself. Benvolio is with him and tells him that the Capulets are coming Mercutio replies “by my foot I care not.” A great number of them come over and ask for Romeo. Mercutio jibs them so Tybalt think he will humiliate Mercutio by splashing him with water, Mercutio is very cross and draws his sword for under the water. He gets out of the fountain and starts chasing Tybalt. The Montagues try to hold him back but they can’t hold him. They start fighting and at first it is just a playful fight and they shake hands and play around. Mercutio starts to embarrass Tybalt so he chases Mercutio Romeo tries to split them up. Tybalt accidentally stabs him. He sees this and decides to walk off. Mercutio is hurt badly and moaning etc. as he stagers up the steps they all laugh and they only realise that he is not playing around when he has no pulse.
Because of Tybalt killing Mercutio Romeo chases after him and slays him. This results in Romeo in been banished from Verona. The priest sends him message that Juliet has pretended to die and he should come back t o find her in the tomb. Then they could run away and come back to Verona at a later date. Romeos servant sees Juliet’s fake funeral and tell him that she is dead. Romeo then goes to get some poison to kill himself. He goes to her tomb and kills him self. She wakes up to find her lover dead. She takes his dagger and stabs herself. The two households promise never to fight again.
I think that if I produced ‘Romeo & Juliet’ now I would make it a marshal arts film based in America. It would be based on gang warfare. I would portray Mercutio as a small Chinese person who is a really good kung fu fighter. Tybalt would a big broad racist white person who thinks he is really cool. The fight scene would be and action pack Kung fu tournament in a warehouse.
Over the last thirty years Mercutio have changed a lot but Shakespeare wrote in such a way that not even the best producers in the world could change their character.