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  • Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations

    Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations

    February 10, 2010, 8:33 am
    Really, any play written for theatre is extremely hard to translate to film and make it filmic. This is especially true for particularly wordy plays, such as anything written by Shakespeare. The number one rule "show not tell" has to be creatively re-thought to make it work in order to translate to screen, and to do that is more easily said than done.

    -Original text must be (mostly) kept in tact
    -Editing brings something unique/new/particularly "film" to the play
    -Usual rules of montage, continuity, etc.
    Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations
    5. As You Like It (2006)

    At first this film makes the viewer go "eh?" (and not just Canadians...). The cast is multicultural and it takes place in Japan, adding a Japanese cultural twist to the play. Consequently the movie is beautiful to look at and easy to watch, as well as well acted and cut. I especially liked the sumo wrestling scene, because it had a particularly well thought out montage: tense, interesting, and overall cool.
    Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations
    4. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

    This is the epitome of modernizing Shakespeare, and the editing has a lot to do with how they managed to pull it off. It intercuts guerrilla-style news clips, making it clear to the viewer that the city of Verona is inadvertently intertwined in the conflict between two families (companies?). When a Capulet sneezes, it’s more newsworthy than a war overseas. The overall editing style is fast-paced, choppy, and has no problems using cheesy transitions such as box wipes. It’s effective in making the movie very stylized and interesting to watch, but ultimately it hits the viewer over the head and actually gets a bit tiring. That said, it takes the play to a completely different level than Shakespeare could’ve imagined. Makes me wonder what he’d think about it...
    Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations
    3. Richard III (1995)

    This film’s editing is so well thought out that it sucks you into the story, and makes it easy to understand, follow, and watch. It has an almost "call and answer" style of editing, where one angle is perfectly followed up by an opposite angle, and conceptually it makes sense in the viewer’s head. Bonus points for Sir Ian breaking the 3rd wall and making his monologues have more of an audience interaction than the typical talking to oneself. This helps it stay true to the original point of a monologue in a play rather than just representing the monologue on film.
    Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations
    2. Hamlet (1996)

    When I started watching the film, my notes consisted of "too rushed" and "weird montage/cut— my eye is going all over the place." It seemed as if the editing was trying too hard to be purely illustrative and showcase the acting more than tell the story, but I found myself ensconced and thinking "wow I could learn something from this edit" about 15 minutes in. Suddenly my notes took a different turn and I realized what an interesting way to tell Hamlet this is. Brian Blessed is terrifying the first time Hamlet meets his ghost, and this is largely in part due to the heavy cutting and particular way in which the montage was pieced together leading up to his reveal. It was at that point that I realized that I could forgive the "too rushed" feel that I originally had— aside from the fact that the epic film is 4 hours long, even rushed.
    Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations
    1. Titus (1999)

    I still don’t totally get the kid throughout the film, but I do understand that the montage was so beautiful to watch that it was hypnotic. It was hard to pull away and take notes. Every movement makes sense and leads to the next movement as if it was supposed to be there. On top of that, it could jump from ancient to modern art direction and still carry the story. It’s obvious what drives this film— the edit and the art direction take precedence over the text, and makes it a successful film adaptation.

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  • Other Postings By Member
    • The Top 5 American Western Standoffs

      The Top 5 American Western Standoffs

      August 5, 2009, 12:24 pm
      To kick off the first post for the Edit Decision List, I thought it would be fitting to choose a topic that relies on one of the most fundamental techniques in editing film: building tension. There are many places for using this technique, but it is in its most blatant use in the Western Standoff. Therefore here is The Top 5 American Western Standoffs based on editing.

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    • Top 5 Edited Live Action Movie With Talking Animal

      Top 5 Edited Live Action Movie With Talking Animal

      July 17, 2009, 12:32 pm
      I just recently finished compositing some shots for a live-action Disney DVD film (soon to come) involving talking animals. This is the first time that I’ve really done anything like that, and although I wasn’t editing, I could appreciate how difficult it can be to edit a film with animal actors as I saw the shots come in. And it’s difficult regardless of if they have moving mouths or not. Animals aren’t really "acting" on their free will as humans do, so discerning which take is the best has to with a mixture of the action being performed properly (pun intended) as well as juxtaposing the action with another action to convey an accurate sense of emotion, which 95% of animals (arguably) don’t naturally exhibit.

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