Almereyda’s Hamlet Interpretation

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Chosen Topic: Many directors have staged and filmed conceptualized versions of Shakespeare’s work, hoping to derive new or unexpected meaning from old plays.  Does Almereyda’s 21st century interpretation of Hamlet intensify or diminish the play’s “greatness”?  Make a strong case, using examples from the film to support your argument.

Almereyda’s Hamlet interpretation

Michael Almereyda's Hamlet is a modernization of the old play originally written by William Shakespeare. Almereyda’s version of Hamlet is an up and down version of Shakespeare’s indefinite place in the 21st century. In many ways I think that the modernized version of Hamlet is easier to appreciate but in retrospect that diminishes the play’s “greatness,” in my opinion. The producer did a great job making Hamlet “user friendly” for today’s audience, but at what cost? Almereyda was able to preserve Shakespeare's dialogue for the most part. The majority of the renowned lines are there. The setting of the film has been moved to New York City and Denmark is the name of the corporation, instead of the country and Claudius is the CEO of Denmark. For the most part, in my opinion, the cast is below par. Ethan Hawke is portrayed as a weak and very mundane prince. Julia Stiles doesn’t do Ophelia any justice, Bill Murray who plays Polonious is rigid and tough, and the actors who play Gertrude and Cladius (Diane Venora and Kyle MacLachlan), didn’t really catch my attention either. This was very disheartening because I have just now started my endeavors into familiarizing myself with Shakespeare’s more famous works and to me and this film didn’t even hold a candle to the actual playwright. Almereyda's style is modest compared to Shakespeare, and his approach drains the play of the power that Shakespeare has so eloquently created. There are several examples of the eccentric way Almereyda molded his version of Hamlet to appease today’s audience. Such as, having the infamous line “To be or not to be” presented...
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