Author Topic: Shakespeare: The Expanded Film Universe  (Read 3470 times)


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Shakespeare: The Expanded Film Universe
« on: December 29, 2017, 04:38:33 PM »
Shakespeare: The Expanded Film Universe
By Jubal

In our final Exilian article of the year, I'm going to be looking at the works of William Shakespeare and giving a deep and insightful analysis into them entirely butchering them for the sake of a few cheap puns in the hope of providing some mild entertainment. The plan is simple: find a bunch of Shakespeare plays, mash them together with classic films, and then use our crystal ball to discover what the bizarre resulting Shakespeare Expanded Film Universe would look like! If you're ready and have your popcorn to hand, read on and find out...!

Minion of Athens

In which pretty much the least well known Shakespeare play meets pretty much the best known incredibly annoying yellow goggle-wearing peanut species1. Timon, a much loved and brilliant supervillain, is slowly driven to despair by the fact that the ridiculous tiny henchmen foisted upon him by narrative necessity2 are continually vastly more popular and better known than he is. Eventually, bereft of dignity, he flees to an abandoned cave and offers support to the heroes in the hope that this might give him some peace. The minions follow him anyway, and he dies in misanthropic (and mis-minionic) despair.

“We have seen better freeze-rays.”

Raiders of Love’s Labours’ Lost Ark

Ferdindiana of Navarre is an archaeologist3 who has foresworn the company of hackneyed plot hooks and common villain tropes along with his fellow exacavators. His attempt to keep them out, however, is foiled when suddenly his life becomes full of punching Nazis all the damn time4 as they are forced to use their wits, whips, and fists to foil a deeply improbable plot to steal the Ark of the Covenant. Eventually, through the course of the film, he and his fellow excavators are forced to admit that they actually get quite narratively satisfied by punching Nazis – only to find that the Nazis run away at the end in order to make room for a sequel!5

“At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
As long as no more snakes each season shows.”

The Taming of the Shrek

In what is basically a minor variation of the first Shrek film, a young man takes on a bet that he can persuade a young lady to marry him. Only in this version she’s actually literally an ogre, which is the sort of thing that’s bound to go well for everyone. Bawdy humour and animated banter ensues on an epic scale, culminating in Shakespeare’s classic “For Now I Do Proffess Mine Self To Believe” set to a rocking shawm, hurdy-gurdy and sackbut soundtrack fit for the hip modern seventeenth century audience.6

“Say that she rail, why then I'll tell her plain
She sings as sweetly as a nightingale:
…and then her face! (do doo da-dum) my eyes did not deceive, (do doo da-dum)
For now I must profess! (do doo da-dum)  that in such I believe (do doo da-dum)...”

Batman: The Dark Twelfth (K)night

In yet another Batman reboot, Illyria City is plagued by a love triangle between its various higher ups, including the enigmatic Viola, who has a secret identity7 that can never, ever be revealed8 and which nobody would ever guess9 (she’s Batman). As the mysterious “joke” plots thicken and grow more complex around the city's Mayor Malvolio, and mysterious figures from Viola's past begin to emerge, can everything be resolved and the city saved before everyone marries the wrong person and it is too late?

“Be afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some… some men just want to watch the world burn.”

King John: A Space Odyssey

An artistic sci-fi classic in which an increasingly mad computer starts killing off members of the high medieval anglo-french aristocracy after being forced to lie to them and in desperation to preserve itself and save what it believes are the mission objectives.10 As the JoHN, or Judgement of Higher Neurosystems, engine is cut off (“excommunicated” in the wacky space-jargon used) from its links to base computer systems and refuses help, its behaviour becomes increasingly erratic. But what will its ultimate fate be? Do the human operators have the strength to defeat their machine master? And what ultimately lurks at the end of the mission?

“Be great in act, as you have been in thought. And please don’t unplug me.”


After Romeo is enough of an idiot to get himself killed off, he is resurrected in a bizarre sixteenth century programme by the apothecary and the Duke of Verona and turned into a highly advanced super-soldier to clean up the streets of the constant Montague-Capulet warfare. But the programme is being manipulated by cunning and ambitious officers, leading to more and more deaths along the way11, and Romeo must struggle with his returning memories of Juliet… can he outwit his enemies and become the policeman Verona needs?

“But soft – what man through tenth floor window breaks?”

Star Wars Ep III: Revenge of Macbeth

There are many facts we need to face up to in our lives: yours for today is that you always deep down secretly wanted Macbeth with lightsabers.12 In this film, the noose tightens around Macbeth as he gets caught up in the deadly webs of galactic politics. After a mysterious prophecy claiming that he will bring balance to the force, Macbeth becomes Macdarth Macbeth, murders Dunca (the leader of the Jedi Council), and then eventually his best friend, O-Banquo Kenobi, as he comes to power over the Galaxy.13 But he’s safe – or thinks he is – for he’ll never be slain til’ Birnam Wood do come to Coruscant…

“And tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
In a galaxy far, far away…”

And that's all! Thanks for reading, and look forward to seeing you for yet more great14 Exilian articles in 2018!

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...