Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Shakespeare Adaptations


I was going to complain about this week's topic for Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves, but a little voice in the back of my head told me "Thou doth protest too much." Okay, I really wasn't going to protest. I just wanted to use that quote. Why would I have anything bad to say? I'm a Shakespeare fan. I mean a fan of his actual work. In college I took a Shakespeare course, by choice. We covered all the tragedies, some of the comedies, and I had a great time. I need to reread most of them since it's been years since my last perusal.

I'm rambling, so lets's get to the point. This week's topic is Shakespeare Adaptations. Instead of just going with direct adaptations, I'm using those that try to hide what they are with different titles, settings, character names, etc. So yeah, these might be a bit on the loose side, but they're adaptations, nonetheless.

The Lion King
(1994)
Or, as The Bard Called it, Hamlet
Simba (Matthew Broderick) stands in for Hamlet, a young prince dealing with the death of his father. Like Hamlet, Simba is quite unsure of himself, has talks with his dad's ghost, learns valuable lessons from his two friends, and soon comes to the realization that his uncle killed his father. Sure, the ending where Hamlet and his whole family wind up dead has been softened considerably, but hey, this is Disney.

Deliver Us From Eva
(2003)
Or, as The Bard Called it, The Taming of the Shrew
The shrew, in this case, is Eva (Gabrielle Union), the domineering big sister to Kareenah (Essence Atkins), Bethany (Robinne Lee), and Jacqui (Meagan Good). She's so involved with their lives it's a big problem with the men her sisters are involved with. Those guys get together to hire Ray (LL Cool J), their own "Master Player," to "tame" Eva. In other words, they hope she'll fall for Ray and forget to mettle in their affairs.

Warm Bodies
(2013)
Or, as The Bard Called it, Romeo and Juliet
As if there were any doubt what play the film was based on, our star-crossed lovers are named R (Nicholas Hoult) and Julie (Teresa Palmer). Rather than being Capulets and Montagues, this is a romance between a zombie, R, and a human. If you haven't seen it, it's kinda hard to explain. Just know that it's so much better than it sounds. Click here for my full review.



35 comments:

  1. I didn't know Deliver Us from Eva and The Lion King were based on Shakespeare. Good call. I have Warm Bodies listed as one of several films I mentioned in Shakespeare adaptations as I went for a different approach. Instead of three movies. I went with three Shakespeare adaptations and the films that were based or adapted from Shakespeare. You'll see the list tomorrow.

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  2. I love that you went with Lion King! That's a great choice. I never thought of Warm Bodies being like Romeo and Juliet and now I feel stupid. lol

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    1. Thanks. Warm Bodies is an admittedly loose adaptation. Very loose.

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  3. I'll toss out an obscure one for you for when you get the chance and want a little Billy the Shake: Scotland, PA. This is an almost straight reading of Macbeth, but it takes place in 1970s Pennsyvania within the context of a fast food restaurant. There's still plenty of murder and double-crossing. It's entertaining as hell even without it being a direct pull from Macbeth, but it's absolutely Macbeth.

    And speaking of Macbeth, if you've never seen Throne of Blood, track that down before the month is out. It's the same story as our ambitious Scotsman, but done by Kurosawa with samurai. One of Shakespeare's bloodiest plays...with samurai

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    1. Scotland, PA is such a wickedly twisted movie. It loses its way every now and then but stays pretty close to the source material and the performers through themselves into their parts with brio.

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    2. I've never even heard of Billy the Shake, but it sounds crazy in a good way. I'll have to look around for that one. I haven't seen Throne of Blood, but I definitely want to. Thanks!

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  4. I didn't know Deliver Us From Eva is a Shakespeare adaptation. All are enjoyable movies. Great picks!

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    1. Honestly, I was surprised to find that out, as well.

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  5. Great picks this week, Dell! The Lion King is like the ultimate Stealth Adaptation of Shakespeare - I love it! I don't love the movie itself as much as practically everyone else seems to, though (I prefer Beauty & the Beast and Aladdin).

    I really need to see Deliver Us From Eva, because I LOVE me some LL, and Gabrielle Union too!

    Warm Bodies is very cute.

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    1. I'm definitely one of the "everyone else" since I love The Lion King.

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  6. Love the connections:) The Lion King is the only one I have seen i enjoyed it quite a bit, It is Disney so you know one of the parents has to die. I haven't seen Deliver Us From Eva but it sounds funny. Warm Bodies is one I do want to see because I heard it is quite funny and original. My ex loves it and highly recommended it

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    1. I kinda hate to say this, but I'm with your ex on Warm Bodies.

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  7. I'm told there's a very good LGBT adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set on an army base, Private Romeo.

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    1. Never heard of that one. However, to be honest, the title makes it sound a little too "adult," if you get what I'm sayin'.

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  8. As you know I'm not much of an animation fan but having two nieces, a nephew and three great nieces and a great nephew I've seen The Lion King more times than I care to remember! As those things go its a good one and a good variation on Hamlet. I've yet to see either Deliver Us from Eva, that's been on my list for years-I really like Gabrielle Union so I'll get there someday, or Warm Bodies which doesn't look like my kind of thing. All three are inventive picks!

    In a roundabout way we have two matches. I went with a straightforward version of Hamlet that is the best I've seen and a musical take on Taming of the Shrew.

    Hamlet (1996)-Kenneth Branagh adapted, directed and stars as the tortured Dane supported by a cast that is drawn from the cream of the British acting world with a few choice American stars pulled in for good measure. What makes this version stand out from the myriad others is Branagh’s decision to pull the play out of the dingy and poorly lit 14th century to the lush baroque 19th, resulting in deserved nominations for Art & Costume design, making it a far more vivid experience. That’s a great help since he has also chosen to present the entirety of the play’s nearly four hour run time. In a cast that includes Derek Jacobi, Julie Christie, Robin Williams, Gerard Depardieu and Judi Dench among so many others it’s difficult to choose any MVP’s aside from Branagh but Kate Winslet as Ophelia and Rufus Sewell as Fortinbras, the crown prince of Norway are memorable. It’s a challenging view but worthwhile.

    Joe MacBeth (1955)-Updating the Scottish play to the criminal underworld of 1930’s America this violent take on the tale (it begins with the title character blowing away a crime boss then going directly to his own wedding) is an inventive twist on the material. Excellent work by Paul Douglas and Ruth Roman as the murderous mobster and his rapacious Lady M hold you rapt as the homicidal pair climb the ladder of success over an ever increasing pile of bodies.

    Kiss Me Kate (1953)-The Taming of the Shrew moved into the world of the modern theatre and musicalized by Cole Porter. Famous stage star Fred Graham (Howard Keel) tries to dissuade his equally famous ex-wife Lilli Vanessi (Kathryn Grayson) to postpone her upcoming marriage so she can co-star with him in a musical updating of The Taming of the Shrew. She agrees reluctantly since their relationship post-divorce is as combative as their married life so it’s not smooth going. Add in several flies in the ointment including second lead Lois Lane(!) (Ann Miller) and some mobsters who are mistakenly putting the squeeze on Frank for a debt Lois’s boyfriend owes and it’s a wacky time backstage. Onstage though there are some amazing dance numbers performed by four of the best dancers of the 50’s (Miller, Carol Haney, Bob Fosse and Bobby Van) and great music sung by all including “It’s Too Darn Hot!” and “From This Moment On”. One of the great musicals, originally shown in 3-D.

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    1. Gotta love The Lion King, right? There is some gore in Warm Bodies, but it's much more rom-com than The Walking Dead.

      I've not seen any of your picks, though the '96 version of Hamlet has been on my watchlist for some time. The four-hour runtime is more than a bit daunting so I haven't brought myself to tackling that beast. I will, one of these days.

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    2. One of the nice things about this version of Hamlet is that it has a built in intermission about 2 1/2 hrs in providing a natural break in the viewing experience, which was most welcome when I saw it in the theatre! It also made it an easier and less onerous view at home when I went to look at it again.

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    3. That's certainly good to know. Thanks!

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  9. I don't know that Lion King and Warm Bodies are considered Shakespeare adaptations, but I can see your points. Some elements of those films might add up to the basic formula Shakespeare has invented in his works. Great picks, then!

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    1. Truthfully, "inspired by" and "variations on" Shakespeare would be more accurate, but there are definitely plenty of connections to be made. In the case of The Lion King, Disney does maintain that it is an adaptation while Warm Bodies makes plenty of allusions to Romeo and Juliet.

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  10. Just goes to show how much you can work with Shakespeare's works, but still keeping the basics of the story. His works influence is endless and transcends cultures and languages

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    1. That's exactly right. They've lasted so long because the core themes are universal.

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  11. Nice call on The Lion King. I would have never thought to see it for this theme but it's a great pick.

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  12. Nice left-field choices. The Lion King is great, although while watching I overlooked the Hamlet references. I second Joel and urge you to watch Hamlet (1996) w/ Kenneth Branagh and Kate Winslet. Warm Bodies is sweet, and I never thought I'd say that about a zombie movie.

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    1. Trust me. I've been psyching myself up to that version of Hamlet for 20 years. I might be almost ready. (4 hrs, yeesh)

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  13. Dell, not being a Shakespearean I would not have made the connection of any of these films as adaptations but knowing what little (how little, microscopic) I do about Shakespeare's plays then I can appreciate you taking these modern films and twisting them to fit this week's prompt. "The Lion King" I'm familiar with and the other two are introductions. I'm not sure if those films based on their description is enough to reel me in but I'm willing to take a look at the trailers. Have a good weekend and thank you for stopping by for a visit, "Thou unmuzzled, flap-mouthed, foot-licker!" Imagine that being said with nothing but love! ;)

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    1. Hey Cathy! The people who made all three of these films are on record as having taken their cues from the corresponding Shakespearean works, so I didn't twist them, they did. Of the two you haven't seen, Warm Bodies is the better film. It's synopsis does not do it justice. Love the Shakespearean insults!

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  14. Yes! Love that no one else picked these. Oh Lion King, great film and for me even better as it improves on Hamlet (not a fan of that play). Not seen Eva but interesting that Gabrielle Union is in two adaptaions of the play. And yes Warm Bodies is slightly better than it sounds.

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    1. Since Hamlet is my favorite play by Shakespeare, I'll just say "ouch!" I do love, The Lion King, however.

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  15. Great post! The Lion King and Warm Bodies were bold choices.

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  16. Very timely. I saw an adaptation of Hamlet tonight. Never thought of The Lion King ha

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    1. Cool. It's my favorite Shakespearean play.

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