William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

William Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' Reviews

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½ January 21, 2014
The acting in general was not very convincing, especially not as is required for a good Shakespearean rendition. Most lines are uttered without real feeling and with clichéd emotion, facial expression and gesture. Calista Flockhart (Helena), Sam Rockwell (Francis Flute; especially in the play-in-the-play) and Kevin Kline (Bottom) were best, my favourite being Calista Flockhart who brings Helena's emotions convincingly with great authenticity. I have read that "this was Kevin Kline's play", but I disagree because the character of Bottom has a lot of potential as a funny Shakespearean stereotype (but this was probably acted out under the director's guidance). Only in the end did he really show himself in the play-in-the-play. Michelle Pfeiffer (Titania) and especially Rupert Everett (Oberon) show us that the failing fairies' relationship was not only due to adultery and jealousy, but also because of the lack of emotional depth in their relationship - which speaks out of their performance. The biggest disappointment is that I don't see the Shakespearean stereotypes played out on screen, Bottom is supposed to be the idiot with a carpe diem lifestyle, but he is portrayed too gravely, which stifles a lot of potential humorous approaches to the character. Puck also didn't come to life as the witty and mischievous knave he is. I also feel that the director could have done more with the mute characters on screen, their short scenes are there to set a mood, but they seem superfluous.

The soundtrack was nothing spectacular and the sound-effects and background noises were cheap clichés we see everywhere nowadays (cf. forest background sounds). Most of the actors' voice-acting was also uninspired, and does not do homage to the verbal virtuosity of Shakespeare's play.

I sincerely wonder whether the director knows of the potential comedy that lurks in the play, because I did not have the feeling that I was watching a comedy at all. The play-in-a-play was in it's 10-minute totality more funny than the whole 100 preceding minutes. There were no genuinely funny situations, and the movie was absolutely not original in creating these, Instead, it relied too much on the inherent comedy of the incompatibility of some characters and emotions in certain situations, and so took a too passive and unoriginal approach. The movie lets a lot of very obvious occasions of potential funny situations slip by, even the potential very comic situation with the chink in the wall slip (hint: "I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all"). The only scene that comes closest to a comic situation is when Helena runs away from a chasing Demetrius and Lysander, but even this scene was more dramatic than funny. Bottom's lying with Titania too was also disappointing.
January 4, 2014
Even at 116 minutes, I thought that this was so goddamn long. Honestly, it's boring as hell. There's absolutely no funny scenes, nothing exciting or intense, and it's overall just a dull mess.
½ December 17, 2013
A decent adaptation of William Shakespeare`s play.
½ August 6, 2013
This is the version I've been meaning to watch for awhile. Mostly for the cast list that includes Stanley Tucci (Puck), Kevin Kline (Bottom), Michelle Pfeiffer (Titania), Calista Flockhart (Helena), Anna Friel (Hermia), Christian Bale (Demetrius), and a ton more. For the most part, I thought this was a fun adaptation of one of my favorite comedies. Kline killed it as Bottom. He was hilarious and did some really fun things with the part. Tucci almost stole it for me. He was so much fun as Puck. I mean, the ensemble cast as a whole was impressive, so no complaints there. I thought the setting, Victorian era Italy, was pretty cool and actually worked fairly well. It made for some fun bits (like Puck trying to figure out what a bike is) but there were some times when I was like "ok I get it, the costumes and scenery are pretty, but can we please just get back to the story." Overall though, this is a fun adaptation that is great for the masses as well.
June 21, 2013
I still think this in theater looks better than on a movie. I always wanted to see some of this or read it (never had the chance on university but now I do since I end that era at last) and still think like I wrote before, in theater looks better....you may get confused but since is a love story, it is easy to get the feeling out of it (cliche is part of it thanks to Shakespeare). I must admit that on that DRAMA class I had last year, they said he wrote a few comedies and this one was one of those comedies...but seriously, I did not laugh a bit (LOL?). So yes, 3 stars of 5. You want to see this play? See it in a theater not on a movie place. Eso era. - June 21, 2013
June 1, 2013
A delightful adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most accessible plays, with a trans-Atlantic cast of recognisable faces who have fun with the material at hand.

Michael Hoffman's visual treat is a playground for the likes of Rupert Everett and Stanley Tucci to cause a little havoc amongst foolish mortals; it's fun to see Dominic West and Christian Bale compete for the affections of Calista Flockhart, having been previously introduced as rivals for Anna Friel. On the other side of the forest, Kevin Kline steals the show as amateur actor Bottom and his potion-induced fling with the luminous Michelle Pfeiffer is both tender and comical.

There's plenty of fun to be had here, celebrating the pursuit of love and passion.
½ May 7, 2013
Very boring! I will probably never watch this movie again.
½ April 12, 2013
Or: See Shakespeare Slaughtered.
March 9, 2013
Christian Bale is in it, but his name isn't listed! Why?
February 15, 2013
Disappointing. I simply see no point in expanding Bottom's role to make him a round character. There is no love story between him and Titania--the whole point of their romance is that it is patently ridiculous! Similarly, the film seems to want to elevate the two pairs of lovers into modern "heroes" who go against their parents wishes and marry the men they damn well please. But again, the romances in Shakespeare wind up reinforcing the arranged marriage system. Don't try to modernize this work socially. Sometimes Shakespeare is not palatable morally, but his work is always gorgeous and masterful anyway.

Also, the camerawork here is pretty cruddy. Despite the beautiful set, costume design, and makeup, the film's cinematography flattens everything out onscreen and makes it boring again!

Ah well. Three stars for being well-written.
January 22, 2013
Pretty worthless and really only worth it for Tucci.
December 27, 2012
A worthy experience of Shakespeare's beloved comedy. It's safe to say I couldn't stop laughing during the Pyramus and Thisbe section.
½ December 18, 2012
Such a good version of the play.
December 7, 2012
Above par film, worth owning.
½ November 25, 2012
it was a great film, I enjoyed it, it was actually better than what I thought and Kevin Kline, Michelle Phfeiffer and Rupert Everett starred in it, it was a good film but I'm not sure if I want it on DVD
½ November 24, 2012
Christian Bale was adorable. Michelle Pfeiffer was stunning. Stanley Tucci was hilarious. one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.
November 17, 2012
Faultless production and shining performances display the Bard's talent propitiously.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2012
Not highbrow -- just weird.
½ October 4, 2012
i've never seen this version.
October 2, 2012
good adaptation of a shakespearian play
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