Romeo and Juliet, done in all it’s traditional glory, is due to be released this Friday, and in anticipation we have listed our top 5 favourite Shakespeare adaptations, from the stoically traditional to the cheesy teen high school genre (trust me, there are many) to the crazily modern. Let’s start with the latter, shall we?
Romeo and Juliet (1996)
The 1997 production of Romeo and Juliet introduced the world to a blazing new way of presenting the Bard. Gun shooting, cross dressing, ectasy taking characters are rife in the loud and tumultous modern day Verona which screams classic Baz Luhrmann in style. Leonardo Di Caprio's performance as the boyish and infatuated Romeo earned his place as a household name, and gave Claire Danes her first 'cry face' GIF opportunity.
Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
Joss Whedon's nice vacation break from creating smash hit The Avengers was to pull together a cast and create a critically acclaimed adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most popular comedys from the comfort of his own home (and garden). Focusing on the relationships and misunderstandings between Cladius and Hero, and Benedict and Beatrice (honourable mention to Catherine Tate and David Tennant here who portrayed these roles on stage last year and were terrific), the film has been named 'an utter joy, Whedon's most emotionally resonant and fully realised feature film to date.' Fun fact: Hero was played by Jillian Morgese, who was an extra in Avengers that Whedon took a shining to after she could cry on cue.
Henry V (1989)
When you see a movie has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, you know it's something special. Kenneth Branagh is a true Shakespearian actor, having appeared in Othello, Much Ado about Nothing, Hamlet and as the title character of his swan song, Henry V. Henry V follows a powerful and intelligent young King as he follows his questionable claim to the French Throne. Branagh carries this and it's astoundingly fantastic, and try spotting a young Christian Bale as the 'boy' character.
The Lion King (1994)
The Lion King is a children's film. A freaking awesome children's film, and we know why. Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's most celebrated plays, based on a young Prince who's Father was killed in mysterious circumstances and his position usurped by his Uncle, which is more or less exactly what The Lion King takes from the tale, but in the Animal Kingdom with a gassy warthog, a exasperated meercat and an awesome, awesome baboon.
She's the Man (2006)
Yes, it's cheesy. Ridiculously cheesy. And yet, I defy you to find someone who was a teenager in 2006 who doesn't love it. Based on the identity swap comedy Twelfth Night, Viola (pre-institutionalised Amanda Bynes) just wants to play football when her team is cut. So when her brother decides to skip school and tour Europe with his band, Viola promptly takes his place at the school, resulting in excruciating living conditions with the fabulous Channing Tatum and hilarious love triangles echoing Shakespeare's original play.
We’ll leave you with a trailer to the latest film version of Romeo and Juliet, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth releasing this Friday in both US and UK cinemas.
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