Saturday, 23 April 2016

Feature: Talk Like Shakespeare Day

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Hear ye! Hear ye! 
On the 23rd of the fourth month, we celebrate the birthday of the Bard.
The Bard? Thou asketh? Whoever is t’is old fart?
My tongue will tell the anger of my heart
How dare thou mock the magnificent Bard?
Thou crusty batch of nature. Hide thy shame!
Me talketh of the greatest poet that ever liveth – William Shakespeare's the name.

I’ll stop now before it gets any more pathetic. Please don’t pay any mind to the odd rhymes and the absence of iambic pentameter, or any proper meter for that matter. Recreating Shakespearean language is just as hard as it sounds, but it’s also a lot of fun. So please feel free to rise to the challenge and leave comments in a perfect Shakespearean style. 

Very many of us have reservations when it comes to Shakespeare, remembering having to labour through his plays back in school, when it took a dictionary, a patient teacher and a set of annotations to even understand what we were reading. But let me assure you, even without ever having read a single word out of Shakespeare’s quill, you probably know more about his plays than you are aware of. After all, his themes and ideas are timeless and his exploration of the human psyche is just as relevant and above all interesting today as it was in the Elizabethan Age. That’s why Shakespeare’s plays are a well of inspiration for contemporary filmmakers. Can you believe that more than 500 movies have been influenced by the Bard?

Check out this table to see which of Shakespeare’s plays are the most popular as movie material.

© stephenfollows | Source: stephenfollows

So let’s do a little game now. Can you guess which of Shakespeare’s plays influenced these famous movies? 

The Lion King (1994)

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This one is pretty easy. Let’s sum up the major plot elements. We have a young prince, Simba, whose wise and just father, King Mufasa, is killed by his own brother Scar. The dead king appears to his son in an apparition. The Prince is banished, then comes back, fights his uncle and restores the kingdom. Not to forget the slogan “To be or not to be”… err… I mean “Hakuna Matata.”

It’s quite obvious, isn’t it? Exchange the animals with humans, move the story to Denmark and make sure there’s no one left alive in the end and you have – Hamlet!

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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I can practically hear 90s kids all over the world heave a nostalgic sigh and melt at the mere mention of this movie classic. This is another fairly obvious one. We have two sisters. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) is popular, outgoing and a little naïve, while her older sister Katherina (Julia Styles) is sarcastic, rebellious and a feminist at heart. Bianca isn’t allowed to have dates unless her sister does, too – something that seems very unlikely to ever happen. So she and her crush Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Lewitt) set Katherina up with bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger), hoping that love might tame her bitter heart. And there you have it already – 10 Things I hate About You was based on The Taming of the Shrew.

Warm Bodies (2013)

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Shakespeare and Zombies? Oh yes, Shakespeare and Zombies! We have a tragic, star-crossed love between a zombie and a human. The names are already rather telling. We have Zombie R (Nicholas Hoult) and the human love lead Julie (Teresa Palmer) but, to throw even the last bit of subtlety out of the window, there is - lo and behold - a balcony scene. This is Romeo and Juliet all the way – just with brain-eating zombies and stuff,  but wouldn't a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

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