Can you ever successfully modernize Shakespeare? I've been thinking back to all of the 're-imagined' Shakespeare films I have seen over the years, and as someone who has spent more time than she would have liked studying the Bard, I have to tell ya, most of them are pretty darn bad. I don't claim to be an expert, but for some reason watching Ethan Hawke deliver To Be or Not to Be in a Blockbuster really didn't add much to the experience. Well, that's what I thought anyway when I read the news over at Sci Fi Wire that Terrence Howard has announced the start date for his very own 'Modernized Macbeth' which will be replacing the misty moors of Scotland with the Caribbean sun.

For those of you who skipped high school English, Macbeth was the story of a Scottish warrior who is so affected by a 'witchy prophecy' that he is driven to usurp the Scottish throne through treachery and murder. It is by far one of Wilie's bloodiest plays, but there just must be something about it, because there have been Macbeth updates set in everything from rave culture to the fast food business.

So how to do you successfully transplant Shakespeare to modern day? Well, I happen to think that the films that work the best are the ones that are willing to throw the language right out the window -- sacrilege I know, but hear me out. I think for a lot of audiences the mismatch of modern settings with iambic pentameter just doesn't work as well as it should, and ends up distracting audiences from becoming truly involved in the story and instead spend their time trying to figure out what the hell people are saying. Granted there are some exceptions; Baz Luhrmann did a fair job with his Romeo and Julietupdate (although he did a little trimming with the dialog), but I still think the best Shakespeare films are the ones who only look to the plays for inspiration, and not as the script.

So what do you think? Does modern-day Shakespeare ever work? Sound off on some your favorite Shakespeare adaptations below...
categories Cinematical