I haven’t revisited it in ages, but The Lion King is something of a childhood favorite. Scar was always a captivating, effective villain and the scene where Simba discovers his father’s corpse is among the most unforced tearjerking moments I’ve seen with personal significance. It’s interesting to analyze it removed from nostalgia and more in the context of the play, as the basic structures are obvious but viewing Timon and Pumba as a shift on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern isn’t something I’ve done before, but only adds to the creative appreciation.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: A hilarious and wise presentation of two silly people trying to apply rational thought and tangible processes to that which is anything but- the attempts to grasp life’s complexity. Oldman and Roth play well off of one another and I wish both had given more straight comic performances in other works. Unfortunately this last watch reminded me that there are plenty of moments of dead air in this film, which stand out more than they typically would since the rest of the film is so captivating in its intelligence and humor. As it stands, this is perhaps the funniest film to tackle Shakespeare’s themes that I’ve seen, and will surely place high on my list for its entertainment, wit, and application of the common thread of tropes woven through not just Hamlet but most of the work from the Bard.
Forbidden Planet: I enjoy the campy B-space film, even those based on other source material (I have a special fondness for Robinson Crusoe on Mars), but this one does next to nothing for me. As an adaptation of The Tempest I suppose it’s decent in its application of some aspects of the story, but aside from an interesting experiment at taking a Shakespearean comedy and transforming it into a B-sci-fi movie, it’s not worth much.
Julius Caesar (Mankiewicz) is a revelation, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering who was in front of and behind the camera. Still, I was impressed and glued to the screen throughout both hours of this masterfully constructed and accessible adaptation. Brando perfectly executes the famous speech that sways the people, capturing the essence of the blended manipulation with emotional authenticity that is so difficult to pull off in a balanced fashion in other adaptations on film and stage. Mank’s camera, placement and direction of his actors is of course beautiful, and I can’t think of a better filmmaker to take the helm.
10 Things I Hate About You: I actually agree with knives on this one, and while Clueless is the “best” of this subgenre of movie, this one cleverly manipulates the plot of its source to suit the politics of its era. Taking a play that’s sometimes accused of misogyny and transforming it into a politically correct space with heavy doses of feminism, brief recognitions of racism, and touches of socioeconomic concerns populating the social dynamics of the high school milieu actually works just as well here in the differences as it does in the similarities. Probably best of all is the emphasis on promoting self-actualization vs. conformist change, and the view that the changing that does occur in the process to achieve this peripheral evolution is authentic and not forced when one breaks out of self-focused isolation to choose to compromise themselves in congruence with the one they love. This film works as an adaptation in the way it plays to the inverse of the original, which shows pretty strong insight on the writers’ part. It’s also just a fun movie that works just as well on a revisit, with Larry Miller and Daryl Mitchell stealing scenes in parts that may not work with another actor in place who couldn’t deliver the martial with the gusto they do. Oh and yes that dress is hideous (my girlfriend entered the room solely to comment on its ugliness earlier today).
Michael, I have it reserved at the library, so it should come in sometime this week- I’m interested to hear your thoughts on why it’s your favorite though!