A Midsummer Night's Dream Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 27, 2012
Not highbrow -- just weird.
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2011
As a rule, I dont like to watch any William Shakespeare adaptations until I have read the play first. Having just finished reading this classic comedy/love story, I was eager to see it on screen like I am of any of the screen adaptations of his wonderful works. This however, isn't as good as the great master deserves.
While preparing for the wedding of Duke Theseus (David Strathairn) to Hippolyta (Sophie Marceau) a group of actors including Bottom the Weaver (Kevin Kline) rehearse an amature play for the forthcoming betrothal while forbidden lovers Hermia (Anna Friel) and Lysander (Dominic West) run away together, pursued by Demetrius (Christian Bale) and Helena (Calista Flockhart). Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Faerie King Oberon (Rupert Everett) wants to get at his wife Queen Titania (Michelle Pfeiffer). He dispatches malicious 'sprite' Puck (Stanley Tucci) on a mission to humiliate his Queen. En route Puck can't resist messing with the mortals lost in the woods also, ensuring all sorts of confusion.
Director Michael Hoffman's take transports us from ancient Greece to late-19th-century Italy (complete with newly invented bicycles) and I have to say, it works. The sets and costumes are absolutely stunning, drawing you into the magical and mystical land of the faeries. He addresses it with the same playful tone that Kenneth Branagh captured for his adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing" and also like that, uses the same mix of both American and British actors who are perfectly suited to their roles. It's a lush and extravagant production, infused with Shakespeare's humour but something doesn't quite click. The mock Pyramus play at end is way overlong and almost grinds the film to halt. The only positive is that this is when the underused Sam Rockwell gets a chance to contribute something, but by then it's too little too late. As David Strathairn's 'Theseus' says around this time "No epilogue I pray you..." if only he'd said this 15 mins earlier, we could have had a satisfying ending.
It's classic Shakespeare that, shockingly, hasn't had a decent adaptation yet. This is the best so far, but for fans of the great playwrite only.
It captures the look but doesn't quite capture the heart.
Super Reviewer
½ April 10, 2011
A great take on a Shakespeare classic. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
½ August 12, 2010
Anyone can reinvent the Bard and go willy nilly with their own interpretation, but this production kept most of the message intact. With excellent casting and memorable scenes, this is a version that I adhere to as a success.
Kyle F.
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2010
More visually pleasing than Avatar,this production adds more emotion, depth, and fun to the story than past productions, and there is a combination of good music and fine acting, most notably by Stanley Tucci.
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2007
Re-rated: They shouldnt have used William Shakespeares name on the US title if they altered the story, even if it was just a minor adjustment. Im not quite sure how to rate this really, this is my most favorite play from Shakespeare, and Im not sure if its cuz I know the characters from front to back with my eyes closed or if its the overall production (very untraditional) thats gotten me all unhinged with this version...

Clearly, I love the story, but my quandry is with some of the major cast members and their acting of the characters theyve played. This film showed a lot of each of the actors ability (at that time) to capture a role and portray them well.

- Although Stanley Tucci acted puck pretty well, I cant wrap my head that he looks older than Oberon.
- Rupert Everett sort of played a pretty shoddy role of Oberon.
- Wasnt contented with Anna Friels acting as Hermia.. I wonder if she actually knew her role?
- Dominic West - Couldve done a better job playing Lysander..

Good Points: Kevin Kline did a particularly awesome job with Bottom, and Pfeiffer understood who Titana really is and portayed the role really, really well. Flockhart proved that she can really act, did a great job in playing Helena! Sam Rockwell - I am most impressed with his acting, he gave us a glance that he can deliver different emotions ferverently, I feel that he is quite underrated by most, I love this guy!

The film gets a good bump up from a 3 star rating due to the ending. But Halmark, this couldve been better.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2007
Shakespear was a fruit.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2007
Kevin Kline is the definitive Bottom - a classic performance... and there's Ally McBeal too!
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2007
Perhaps it was because I was only 14 when I watched it, but I found this to be dull as dirt.
Super Reviewer
½ October 6, 2006
It wasn't too bad but who really cares?
Super Reviewer
½ January 12, 2011
Though the acting is right on, and the enchanting direction of the director is showing very well, the chemistry between the actors takes this all star cast down a level.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ December 18, 2010
While slow and inconsistant in its story at points, the film remains a well-acted and faithful adaptation of Shakespeare's fun, classic comic relief.
Super Reviewer
September 17, 2008
I didn't like this director's take on Shakespeare's famous play. I saw this play two years ago outside at a beautiful park and it was much better than this crap. What was version it all about? Sex. There was really no other point. At least the version I saw on stage was humorous. This version was just sexual exploitation of actors in showy costumes and sometimes, no costumes at all.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2006
Weak, uninteresting performances and uninspired direction make this film a big disappointment. It is, however, based on one of Shakespeare's most entertaining plays, so it's only a minor failure. Definitely not recommended.
Super Reviewer
February 7, 2009
An adaptation of the Shakespeare play made not long after the success of Baz Luhrman?s Romeo and Juliet. AMSND has never been one of my favorite plays by The Bard, but it certainly has its charms. This was the first Hollywood production of the story since 1936, so there was a lot of room to make it fresh. Michael Hoffman chose to move the play?s setting from Ancient Greece to 19th century Italy; this setting doesn?t add a whole lot to the film, but it doesn?t really hurt much either, aside from adding a lot of bicycles into the play it doesn?t really change anything. The cast has a lot of faces that would be more famous latter on in their career, there?s a pre-American Psycho Christian Bale playing Demetrius and Lysander is played by Dominic West who would later star on HBO?s The Wire. The actor in it who was probably most famous at the time of filming was Kevin Kline, who plays Bottom. Kline is basically resurrecting his Sophie?s Choice/Fish Called Wanda shtick, which I suppose serves the character. Sam Rockwell, Bill Irwin, Stanley Tucci and David Strathairn also have small parts. The sets in the city are all very good, but the outdoor sets in the woods don?t fare so well, it?s pretty obvious that they were constructed on a soundstage. There?s some pretty dated CGI at points, but this kind of project doesn?t really demand highly realistic effects, so it?s not that big a deal. Overall, if you?re looking for a nice well produced and highly watchable adaptation of the play you need not look further, but there?s not a whole lot of interest to a general audience.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2006
How could such a film go wrong? By casting mainly Americans, only Rupert Everett, Christian Bale and Anna Friel fit their roles. Also it seems to be kinda taking the mick, even if it is a comedy, Shakespeare should still be respected. Anyway, I like the parts the afore-mentioned actors play, the sets and there are some good moments. Just don't mention Calista Flockhart...
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2007
This is very mediocre Shakespeare and as much as I liked Rupert Everett in it, I would not recommend it.
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2007
another one of my favorite shakespeare novels that was made into a movie. the characters, costumes and the cinematography were breathtaking. michelle pfeiffer was so beautiful!
½ November 29, 2010
So awful...so goddamn awful...not even Kevin Kline's charm or Christian Bale's talent could save this.... F
November 8, 2010
So full of talented and well-known actors and actresses, that the movie sinks a bit under the weight of them all. Though the sets, costumes, and modern twisting of the play make the language much more accessible, it all goes too far. An amusing adaptation, if not exactly a good one.
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