The 1996 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, provides viewers with the same theatrical influence as the original play. Baz Luhrmann was able to accomplish this through modern filmmaking techniques and visual imagery. Luhrmann's adaptation maintains much of the same elements of the original play. However, Luhrmann was able to make it more appealing to modern audiences by integrating modern elements into the film; thus, turning Shakespeare's original love story into a more modern, and controversial, interpretation of the original love story.
Today, Shakespeare's poetic language would leave viewers perplexed. Luhrmann is able to keep Shakespeare's original language by incorporating creative cinematography, editing, and style. Luhrmann recognizes early on that it is imperative to modernize the prologue, in order for viewers to fully comprehend the film's plot. Any misperception would leave viewers confused, and not emotionally involved. He is able to accomplish this through the use of dialogue, written text, and visual images. In order to reach modern audiences, Luhrmann has to be inventive in his filmmaking techniques. Therefore, he integrates modern-day media language. By adding news media, and displaying selected pieces of text onscreen, he is able to intensify the romantic teen tragedy. He turns Shakespeare's original play into a distinguishable, modern film. .
Luhrmann's use of visual imagery and symbolism can be seen throughout the film. One place viewers see this is through religious effects and topics. Each character in the adaptation displays some type of religious emblem, which symbolizes their Christian faith. At first sight, such emblems appear to be no more than a typical representation of religion. However, Luhrmann uses them as a means to show that while violence, sexuality, and power may seem to overwhelm the film, religion is at its core. Another religious symbol in the adaptation is the Virgin Mary; she is used to represent Juliet's purity.