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Screenshots: Shakespeare-Inspired Edition

Gabrielle Kossuth, Lifestyle Editor

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Some may associate Shakespeare with a musty collection of plays that you’re forced to read in English class, but did you know that many of your favorite movies are based on these theatrical masterpieces? Read on to find out which Disney movie has its origins in a dark place, and which of your favorite teen movies from the 90’s is based on The Taming of the Shrew!

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Based on: The Tempest

Rating: 1/5 storm clouds

Comments: Terrible. Absolutely terrible. I made it about twenty minutes into this piece of garbage before I was overwhelmed by the archaic CGI and utter lack of plot. Although The Tempest is among the most bizarre of Shakespeare’s works, it fully does not deserve to be disrespected on the silver screen in such a fashion.

West Side Story (1961)

Based on: Romeo and Juliet

Rating: 5/5 balconies

Comments: Though Romeo and Juliet is arguably Shakespeare’s best-known play, it is far from his best piece of work in terms of plot. Privileged teenagers marrying after knowing each other but one day, familial feuds with no rationale, and suicide based on second-hand misinformation are enough to turn the tragical into trivial in the eyes of the reader. However, West Side Story retains the star-crossed lover element of the original while placing the conflict in a modern-day setting, trades the familial spite for the harsh reality of gang warfare, expunges the rash and stupid actions  for the good of all those involved, and overall creates a cinematic (and yes, musical) masterpiece that resonates deeply within the audience. Dare I say that West Side Story is better than Romeo and Juliet? Dare I shall.

The Lion King (1994)

Based on: Hamlet

Rating: 4/5 skulls

Comments: Before the hate comments begin hurling faster than a stampede of wildebeests, allow me to assert that I am primarily evaluating these films based on their theatrical origin. The connections between Mufasa and Hamlet are undeniable, both being visited by the ghost of their father and ordered to avenge their deaths by taking down evil uncles, but The Lion King is first and foremost a Disney film… thereby necessitating the omission of some of the play’s more questionable components. Borderline incest and mass character death (including suicide) are replaced with spiritual guides, punchy sidekicks, and a happy ending that leaves the audience feeling as though the hardships endured by the young prince are worth it in the end. Although I will always enjoy watching The Lion King, it should be viewed as drawing inspiration from Hamlet rather than purely being based on the play.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Based on: The Taming of the Shrew

Ranking: 5/5 woodland animals

Comments: Full disclosure: this is my all-time favorite movie and what inspired me to do this article in the first place, but I will do my best to assess it based on the inspiration it takes from Shakespeare. The movie starts off on a far lighter note than the play, with shrewish Katherine (a.k.a. Kat) rolling up to a red light and blasting Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” rather than being the byproduct of a homeless person’s fever dream. The modern shrew is a far cry from her Shakespearean counterpart, as her will and own beliefs are maintained throughout her relationship with Patrick Verona (formerly Petruchio) and earn her a place in the Kickbutt Feminist Hall of Fame. 10 Things I Hate About You brings a fresh take to the archaic ideals of the original play and sets a high bar for modern adaptations all around.

She’s the Man (2006)

Based On: Twelfth Night

Rating: 3/5 disguises

Comments: While this movie has its cringe-worthy moments typical of any early 00’s teen flick, the plot is driven forward by its theatrical roots. Both Violas have something to prove, with the original Viola needing to prove her ability to work for a living and her modern counterpart needing to prove her ability to play on the boys’ soccer team, thus necessitating their transformation into their male twin Sebastian. The original Viola believed her brother to be dead after a shipwreck, so this modern interpretation allows for comedy to prevail over tragedy. Not unlike 10 Things I Hate About You, the movie incorporates elements from the original play (attending Illyria, going to Cesario’s for dinner), but in such a way that it still presents a fresh, modern take on the play.

 

 

About the Writer
Gabrielle Kossuth, Lifestyle Editor
Gabrielle Kossuth is a senior at NASH and has attended North Allegheny since Kindergarten. As The Uproar’s Lifestyle Editor, she focuses on profiling all things up and coming around the area, as well as spotlighting trends and tips for our readers. Outside of newspaper, Gabrielle participates in a plethora of school activities, including Amnesty International,...
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