A Midsummer Night's Dream Reviews
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.
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.