Hamlet and film Essay
The 3rd film version of Hamlet staring Mel Gibson varies in many ways to original play, “The Tragedy of Hamlet.”
The film version starts out with the morbid funeral of Hamlet, the deceased king of Denmark. Joining fellow mourners was Hamlet’s son, Hamlet and Gertrude, Hamlet Sr.’s former wife. This conflicts with the play for the first scene shows the ghost of the king while the guards keep watch. In the film, we do not see this scene for a good fifteen to twenty minutes or so. And when the apparition does show up, it is all in one night where Hamlet is present the first time we see the ghost. To keep an audience at a movie, you must follow some sort of flow that keeps the audience in their seats. I see how the ghost could have been the first seen, but it does not give any time to develop the sorrow Hamlet felt after the lost of his father.
In the play, the reason for Hamlets moping around is not clearly defined by his father’s death being the main cause. In the movie, we see Hamlet’s anger/depression in stages. First it is his father’s death. Then it is the fact that his mother and Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle married so quickly. Next there was the implication of evil doing by Claudius. Finally comes the death of Ophelia, Hamlet’s love interest in the story. In the play version, we start the story with some flashback, but most of these events have happened already. This follows in conjunction why the director probably added the funeral and delayed the ghost scene. I feel its purpose was to spread out the semi-climatic points so we, the audience, can be interested in finding out what happens next.
After seeing the movie, I never realized Hamlet and his mother were so close in that sexual way before. On two occasions does Gertrude kiss Hamlet on the lips one was embarrassingly passionate too. Then during the speech where Hamlet is comparing his father to his uncle, he flings her onto the bed and straddles her. If that was not bad enough, he starts the act of simulating sex in disgust to mock what she and Claudius does. At no point when reading that very scene in the book did I picture this was going on. I saw it a slightly heated discussion nothing more. The thought of any incestuous act bother me, as I’m sure it does for most people. Back in Shakespeare’s day, you most likely did not have to be so obvious to get your point across. Things sure have changed since then.
One part that I found not to be really necessary in the play version was the whole Norway parallel. As it turns out, it was cut from the movie version, mainly because it was excess story that didn’t need to be told. The end of the play, Fortibras comes into the castle and after hearing Horatio’s explanation, claims Denmark for himself since he is the only royalty left for miles. The movie simply ends with Hamlet and Leartes reconciling their differences, and Hamlet saying farewell to his mother. Fortinbras was not in the picture during the movie, so it would have been awkward to write him into the end.
Along with these major changes, other things were different. The lockets of Hamlet Sr. and Claudius, the showing of Guildenstern and Rosencrantz’s execution, the lack of Polonius sending a spy for when Leartes goes back to Paris all were but a few of the play to movie comparisons. In a business where everything done will effect the amount of money it draws, these changes will be made. Original artistic integrity was obviously not a main concern from the film makers. However, the interpretation and screenplay of the movie were interesting, and provided a refreshing insight to one version of Hamlet’s tragedy.