Comparison between the Branaugh’s and Campbell Scott’s Hamlet
The Branaugh’s Hamlet is more faithful to the version originally produced by Shakespeare than the Campbell Scott’s Hamlet. In scene I of Act I, the apparition wears the armor that the King Hamlet wore while fighting with the armies of Norway, but all his skin is covered with black polish, that simply is not consistent with the supposed status of the martyred King Hamlet in the world hereafter. However, when Hamlet comes to see the King’s ghost, the ghost’s skin is the natural color. This indicates that the black color symbolized the apparition’s unrest to meet his son. The skin was first colored purposefully, so the original theme is maintained. On the contrary, a look of the King’s ghost in Campbell Scott’s Hamlet does not display such symbolism. Characters in the Campbell Scott’s Hamlet are a bit overacting, probably in their attempt to lend a comic touch to the play. Performance in the Branaugh’s Hamlet is sober and more particular about the theme of the story that is principally tragedy.
Both versions have respective features that make them exciting. The Branaugh’s Hamlet’s excitement lies in the lighting effects and the graceful attires but these are pretty much also the features of the Campbell Scott’s Hamlet with the added effect of comics and the substantial replacement of dialogues with music. I think that Hamlet in Branaugh’s Hamlet is a bit too aged and mature in the look to be eligible for the character. He does carry the charisma that a prince should have, but Hamlet would have looked better, had he been in the early twenties. Campbell Scott’s Hamlet looks younger and skinnier and is more appropriate to display the characteristics of a young man overcome with betrayal and rage than an aged Hamlet. Nevertheless, Hamlet in Campbell Scott’s Hamlet is a little too informally dressed to match the elegance of the Prince of Denmark, though it indicates the joviality of his cognition. But as the original Hamlet has no element of joviality in his character, the Hamlet in Branaugh’s Hamlet better suits the character than that in Campbell Scott’s Hamlet. However, the joviality of Campbell Scott’s Hamlet makes the play all the more interesting and exciting than the Branaugh’s Hamlet.
Of the two, I find the Campbell Scott’s Hamlet more innovative than the Branaugh’s Hamlet. The music playing in the background in the Campbell Scott’s Hamlet is a good replacement for the dialogues for the audiences that have read the play before watching this version in the first two scenes of Act I, whereas the Branaugh’s Hamlet places emphasis on the original dialogues and their delivery. It is not only the music in Campbell Scott’s Hamlet that makes it innovative, but the slight comic touch to the theme of the play is also quite new in its nature and is totally unseen in the conventional Hamlet performances. The non-verbalized interaction between characters in the Campbell Scott’s Hamlet is a nice way to replace the strict dialogues that the play is originally based on. In addition to that, the jovial nature of Hamlet in Campbell Scott’s Hamlet provides another proof of the innovative touch to the play.