By any standard, Kenneth Branagh’s 2006 production of As You Like It is exceptional. It is both an incredibly entertaining film and – in my mind - a terrifically faithful adaptation of Shakespeare’s original play. In the DVD extra “From Page to Screen With Kenneth Branagh,” the director explains that, as a filmmaker adapting Shakespeare, “you’re trying to serve the story in the medium you’re working in” (emphasis added). The point being that if you just stick to the text, then you don’t have a visually stunning movie; but throw the text out the window in order to make a Star Wars prequel-esque, special effects-heavy, cinematic explosion, then you’ve lost Shakespeare’s genius in the translation. Brannagh makes neither mistake here.
In As You Like It, Branagh makes the bold decision to change the play’s setting from a French dukedom (of an uncertain time period) to the feudal Japan of the 19th century. In fact, as the film opened, I felt like the play was happening in the cover art of Weezer’s classic 1996 album Pinkerton.
|You should own this album.|