I just scrolled back through my blog and was SHOCKED that I hadn’t written a post about this before. WERE THE WORLD MINE is this amazing, award-winning musical/movie I saw over the summer, and promptly told everyone I’d ever met about.
This is on the short list of my favorite movies. Well I mean I actually have a LOT of favorite movies. And now that I’m starting to think about it, I don’t know if they still count as ‘favorites’ if they’re all my favorites, and there are dozens. So maybe this makes me a movie-slut? I give my affections to any movie that catches my heart for even a moment.
Now the challenge is to see if by the end of this blog post, I can tie it all back into writing. That’ll be interesting to see.
Anyway, this is a movie that combines several things that make me happy. Shakespeare (specifically A Midsummer Night’s Dream), glitter, gays, punk rock attitude and attire, and a musical.
Yeah. All those things. In ONE movie. It’s crazy, isn’t it? Basically, the story is about the picked on gay kid at a private school who gets roped into the school’s spring musical. While practicing his lines, he finds a secret potion recipe hidden in the text of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and creates a magic flower that turns people gay. From there it becomes a “put everyone else in my shoes, and see how they like it” story, which I think most kids who are different, on the outside, or generally don’t fit in can really resonate with.
One of the things I like about this movie, and movies (and books) like it is that they give us a retelling (specifically A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and along the way they make it into something new and different. I adore books where a fairy tale is taken and reinvented – moreso when the story itself is actually reinvented and/or modernized. This can be an outlandish concept – see the example I’ll provide below – or it can be as simple as doing a movie about a Shakespearean play which actually comes to life and is all about prejudice and walking in the shoes of others. The only time I end up disappointed is when the “Jack and Jill retelling” (to make up an example that won’t infer any other books) follows the exact format of the original. Same characters. Same obstacles. Same story. Same ending. Bring in the unexpected. Who says Beauty ends up with the Beast? Maybe Rumplestiltskin runs off with the gold and ends up in domestic partnership in D.C. The skies the limit.
Essentially, I’m saying take your idea, and push it as far as it will go. If you want to do a modern day Romeo and Juliet, adding in witches is a safe bet. 😉 An example of something I think is really interesting is Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. It’s a modernization of Little Red Riding Hood with werewolves and werewolf hunters. Two concepts I never would have thought to put together. But now, its one of the examples of how awesome an old story can be with a new breath of life.