This week marked the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. The great Bard gave us 16 comedies, 10 histories, 12 tragedies, 154 sonnets, and five longer poems. Many of his plays have been transferred to the big screen and many others have inspired films that might not share the exact same stories or titles, but were clearly inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.
Great adaptations have been filmed by great artists such as Kenneth Branagh, Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa and Laurence Olivier. But here are some of the films that might not seem at first sight Shakespearean and might surprise you:
10 Things I Hate About You (1999) inspired by Taming of the Shrew
In the late 90s flick, Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles, star in the high school version of the Taming of the Shrew.
I think that anyone who was a teen in 90s, has seen this movie… At least us girls...
O (2001) inspired by Othello
Again starring Julia Stiles (those were her glory days); Othello set in a high school and centered on basketball player Odin.
She's the Man (2006) inspired by Twelfth Night
A more embarrassing, unnecessary, yet short of fun to watch “version” of the Twelfth Night, starring Amanda Bynes (remember her?); you can totally live without having seen this one…
The Lion King (1994) inspired by Hamlet
Yes. Lion King. The Disney animated film. It might not strike you at first, but Lion King is sooo the Hamlet story. Minus the Hakuna Matata song.
Much Ado About Nothing (2013) inspired by Much Ado About Nothing
This latest version of the same titled Shakespearean play, is a really good adaptation of the original text, but in the modern era with a modern touch.
Warm Bodies (2013) inspired by Romeo and Juliet
Yes, I mean the Zombie film. Even if it was not Romeo & Juliet inspired, I would still like this film; what’s not to like? Zombies & Shakespeare… amazing combo!
My Own Private Idaho (1991) inspired by Henry IV Part 1
One of Gus Van Sant’s best films that features the late River Phoenix, is indeed inspired by Henry IV and Henry V.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
This film is not so much inspired by a play of the Bard, rather than two characters that actually play a very small part in Hamlet. In this hilarious 1990 film starring Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, the characters seem to be unaware of the greater story that they are part of and try to deviate from it.
And then there are those films that were not inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, but rather from his own life: Shakespeare In Love (1998) was inspired by his life as we know it (with a small romantic twist), giving Gwyneth Paltrow her first (and hopefully last) Academy award and Anonymous (2011) was inspired by Shakespeare's life according to the Oxfordian Theory; saying that Shakespeare did not actually write his plays.
But, for me, the best non-traditional adaptation of a Shakespeare play will always be Baz Lurman’s: Romeo + Juliet. The cast, the direction, the music, the editing; the Lurman way to transfer the legendary play to the modern era...
A long time ago, we used to be friends. But I haven't thought of you lately at all.
That’s what the song says but that was not the case for the many Marshmallows (a.k.a. the Veronica Mars hardcore fans) who never stop thinking of their favorite TV show. Neither did the cast and the creator of the show.
Veronica Mars was a TV show that aired during 2004-2007 at UPN & CW. It lasted three seasons when suddenly it was taken off air, leaving fans with many cliffhangers. Despite the efforts of creator Rob Thomas to revive the show by pitching the studio a 4th season trailer with Veronica and her summer internship in the FBI, the show was never brought back to air.
Rob Thomas & Kristen Bell never stop believing in the project and kept thinking on making a Veronica Mars movie, but there was never enough (or at all) funding to move forward with the project. Until March 13, 2013 when they uploaded a video at Kickstarter.com (a crowd funding website that helps raise funds for all sorts of projects) starting a funding campaign.
So, there it was: the chance for all heartbroken fans to revive the favorite show. And boy, did they deliver! The campaign broke all kinds of records:
· Fastest project to reach $1 million.
· Fastest project to reach $2 million.
· All-time highest-funded project in FILM category ($5.702.153)
· Third highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
· Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history (91.585)
All that, thanks to the devoted Marshmallows! Of course they got their treats: according to the amount that they donated they got T-Shirts, tickets to the premiere, privileges to download the movie earlier, even to star as an extra alongside the favorite cast! That’s a pretty good deal, if you ask me!
So, filming started and on March the 14th, 2014, exactly one year after the campaign started, Veronica Mars the film, was released in selected theatres and was available on line for downloading.
The film takes place 9 years after the show ended, with Veronica having finished law school and being in NY starting her first big-shot lawyer job. She has Piz on her side and she seems to be finally in peace and having it all. Until a certain someone (Logan) calls her asking for her help as he is falsely (?) accused of murdering his girlfriend. So, once again Veronica is drowned back to the rabbit hole (Neptune that is), where she faces her former classmates in what can be described as the reunion from hell, her dad and a conspiracy.
Will Veronica return to her old ways? Will the safety of Piz overcome the magnetic pool hat Logan has on her? Will she throw away everything she’s worked for to return to being a PI?
I’m not going to spoil it for you; you are just going to have to see it for yourselves. As for what did I think of the movie: well, I was really looking forward to it (being a Marshmallow myself and all) so I might have had really high expectations. Of course it was awesome to see the old gang back together, of course I got the chills in hearing Veronica’s narration and witty lines but I was expecting it to be more of a film and less of a two hour Veronica Mars episode. There was a downside to not getting 100% of the cast back (Carrie Bishop’s part was re-casted as Leighton Meester was unavailable at the last minute), but still, if you have Dick Casablancas on board, you’re good to go!
What’s ahead for Veronica Mars now? Following the film, Rob Thomas had yet another treat for the fans: a book entitled “The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line” that continues the story where the film left off. And of course, rumors are buzzing over a sequel!
There you have it: a project that the fans of Firefly would envy; a devoted fan base that would do anything for their fictional characters; a success story that might open the way for many other similar projects...
"The German Doctor" (Walkonda), is a Argentine historial film that tells us the tale of a family that encounters -without knowing it- one of the most notorious was criminals of all time: Josef Mengele. The Nazi doctor who tortured his victims during his time in Auschwitz, escaped Germany at the end of the war and ended up hiding in South America. The story in the film takes places at 1960, where allegedly Mossad (Israeli Secret Services) had tracked him down in Argentina and tried to arrest him.
There he meets a family, where he immediately takes interest at the younger daughter, who according to him she needs " help" to grow taller as he claims that she is under-deveveloped. The girl and her mother get closer to him, without knowing that he wishes to conduct experiments to the little girl.
The film shows us the soft face that Mengele was rumoured to be showing to his victims and how he tricked them in order to make his experiments, as welll as his true dark and scary side. We also see the impact that he had on the little girl and how she was attached to him. The performances of Àlex Brendemühl as Josef Mengele and Florencia Bado as Lilith, really stand out, as well as the amazing cinematography.
What fascinated me, is that we see a side of the war that we have not seen many times on film: the aftermath and how these ruthless criminals continued their life and their horrible experiments, years after the war had ended.
An amazing film that is definitelly worth watching!
Ever since I first set foot on a cinema theatre, I knew that something magical was happening there....