11 October 2004 | flingebunt
Sex, Violence and bad jokes (every thing that makes Shakespeare good)
Here are some facts to think about,
All plays and movies are interpretations. Imagine "The Matrix" with Wil Smith as Neo and Val Kilmer as Morpheaus (don't laugh, it nearly happened). Even the Bard was interpreting a place he himself had never been to.
Shakespeare was such a great writer his work can be taken and changed and reworked and reinterpreted in so many ways, yet his writing remains good and true. No other play write stands for such treatment and reinterpreting Shakespeare is the greatest honor that can ever be done to his work.
Shakespeare is always cut and edited. There are many alternative versions of Shakespeare's plays, but we only see one version because for a long time British scholars refused to publish alternative versions (the bastards) and kept them from the public.
This version is loved by so many people, it does everything to try make the characters real to us to our now and true to the Elizabethen theatrical tradition.
Sometimes it fails. The first 20 minutes are generally disliked by audiences, but then the point was to make audience know in no uncertain terms this is not classical Shakespeare. But I think they were trying to hard at the start.
The interpretation of the balcony scene in interesting but it leaves out some of my favourite lines from Romea and Juliet.
The dedication of the actors to the project is fantastic. some reviewers see the the actors as trying to get through their lines as quickly as possible, but when you consider Leonardo Di Caprio when to Australia (flying Coach) to make a video version of the movie to convince studio execs to finance the project.
The scene that makes the movie, the scene everyone remember is Romeo dressed as knight, falling in love through a fish tank with Juliet dressed as angel. One of the most beautiful love scenes every filmed, with no dialog (hence no Shakespearean help).
One of the most interesting films ever. Not perfect, but captures everything I love about Shakespeare. That is blood, sex, violence, bad jokes and so on.
One last point. In Shakespeare's time people filled the time of the play with dialog. The dialog can be cut and many ideas told with language of cinema. If you are a purist you wouldn't like real Shakespeare anyway.