Thursday, June 4, 2009

How Weary, Stale, Flat and Unprofitable

Wow, first some Hollywood genius comes up with Where's Waldo -- The Movie and today we have ANOTHER great, can't-miss idea. You all know Hamlet, right? Melancholy Dane? His dad's ghost wanted him to avenge his death? Spoke in cliches? Yeah, that Hamlet. Four hundred years after it was written, it is still considered to be one of the greatest works of art that the English speaking world has ever produced. To this day all aspects of Shakespeare's play are studied and debated. Why did Hamlet hesitate to avenge his father's murder? Why did Ophelia kill herself? Was there a time when Hamlet was a happy and contented man? How did Hamlet like his eggs? Poached? Scrambled? There have been memorable movie versions of Hamlet with Laurence Olivier's 1948 rendition generally considered to be the best. Well, turns out there's going to be another one. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that. Hamlet has been filmed several times, as I said, and will probably be filmed many more times in the future, barring nuclear war or a zombie outbreak.

Emile Hirsch is set to play the title character. He's a good actor and just might be able to pull off one of the greatest roles ever written. Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke is signed on to helm the film. I'm not a huge fan of hers but I'm reasonably sure she won't give us a makeup wearing Hamlet with glistening skin so that eliminates one worry. So, what is the great, can't-miss idea to which I referred way back in paragraph one? It turns out that Hirsch and Hardwicke have decided that what we've been seeing for the last four centuries is an inferior product and have decided to toss out all of Shakespeare's fruity dialogue. No one in this version will be saying to his son, "Neither a lender nor a borrower be." You won't be hearing, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." And, "To be or not to be," will probably now be replaced by, "Um, whoa, bummer."

This is not the first time someone's had the brilliant idea to do this to Shakespeare. Remember the movie O which took the revered Venetian General Othello and made him a high school basketball player? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Oh, what about 10 Things I Hate About You which once again put Shakespeare in a modern high school setting. People know this movie for three reasons:
  1. Like Joe Dirt, it's one of those lame movies that Comedy Central likes to run 20 times a year.
  2. It had Heath Ledger in it.
  3. It really, really sucked.
Let's not forget Scotland, PA...oops, too late, everyone's forgotten it.

Oh well, it's not the first stupid idea the movie industry ever came up with and it certainly won't be the last. Who knows, maybe this new movie will defy the odds and be good (it almost certainly won't, of course, but it's fun to say that). If it does become a hit, it will make it easier for me to make my new movie. It's Julius Caesar retold as a Judd Apatow-style stoner comedy. Instead of, "Et tu, Brute?" my character says, "Dude you stabbed me. Totally lame."

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