Hamlet (the Film vs. the Play)

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Brennan Walsh

Franco Zeffirelli’s version Hamlet was very faced paced and intense. The characters as a whole were more thrilling due to the fact that today’s audience demands constant intensity and action. It was a good adaptation and although I am not a historian it seemed historically accurate for the most part. The language was spoken delicately and precise by all the actors. The scenes were correct for the most part, but some things such as Shakespeare’s famous speech, “To be or not to be was placed in a different scene and I think the scene where Polonius spies on Hamlet and Ophelia and he realizes Hamlet is mad is different in that Polonius never spies on them Ophelia just tells him.

The only real issue with the movie is the absence of Fortinbras. He is a pretty important character, but I believe his part was cut from the film because his part is not a very necessary part in the play, and one can still understand the whole of the story without Fortinbras. But in the play, the ghost of Hamlet's father appears dressed in armor, as if ready for battle, and Horatio says it must be a sign about their preparation for war. The whole element of war in the play is important because it is always in the back of everyone’s head. Yes, all this tragedy is happening with deception but at the same time the same Fortinbras is mad at Denmark for the death of his father and he wants to start a war. And at the end Fortinbras is there to take the throne, Hamlet is kind for a brief moment and he wants Fortinbras to take over as king. Horatio has no noble blood so Fortinbras must. However, having everyone die in the end is more tragic for a Hollywood film than having something left over to take over the throne.

As far as the actors go, Mel Gibson gave a vigorous interpretation of Hamlet; and Glenn Close was very passionate and very believable as Gertrude. Helena Bonham Carter was extremely exciting and demented; the character Ophelia was more bizarre in the movie...
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