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Midsummer Night's Dream

A movie directed by Michael Hoffman

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Come on, carpers! Let Shakespeare be fun!

  • Sep 28, 2008
First, the stars. No, not the astrologer's stars, the movie stars, goofy! Some of those high priced people can act! Of course, I'm in luck in that I see so few Hollywood movies that I don't recognize them, so it's easy to suspend disbelief. The one I did recognize was Stanley Tucci, the star of Big Night. Tucci was spectacular in the role of Puck; he stole every scene he appeared in. That guy Kevin Kline did a similar heist on all his scenes; he made Bottom the prime character of the story, with a little help from the editors and cinematographers, who played on his face - his foolish integrity, his dreams - almost any time when the script allowed. Whichever leading lady it was who played Helena was also "picture" perfect, and her scenes of squalling with Hermia were side-splitting funny. The only flop, as an actress, was Michelle Pfeiffer as the Queen of the fairies; luscious looking, yes, but she delivered her lines more stiffly than a seventh-grade cheerleader in English class.

The setting in Italy was completely convincing; after all, most of the Eizabethan comedies were based on Italian models, with commedia dell'arte roots, and Elizabethans knew rather little about settings in Athens. The little touches of Italian opera - both visual and in the soundtrack - were deft and charming. The whole air of opulence suited the magic of the midsummer night like the smile on a pretty child's face.

Oh yeah, and then there was the script. That Shakespeare guy has a future. [Yes, there were cuts, but the shortening of the play served one very useful purpose. It allowed the actors to defy the current notion that every line of Shakespeare has to be spoken so fast that no one can understand it well enough to be bored. Honestly, it was delightful to be able to follow every word for a change. True, the accents were a hodge-podge of Brit and American, but I for one didn't much mind.]

A film of a play by Shakespeare should be at least as enjoyable for a modern audience as we all assume the Globe Theater production was for the flesh-and-blood Elizabethans.
Bottom's bottom line: What fools these purists be!

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More A Midsummer Night's Dream reviews
review by . June 13, 2009
            Rotten Tomatoes: 68% Fresh    Tania's Score: Magical and brilliant adaptation!    Directed By: Micheal Hoffman  Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Calista Flockhart, Rupert Everett, Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci as Puck.    Synopsis: Michael Hoffman's film adaptation of Shakespeare's magical comedy of a love-tangled quadrangle shimmers with sumptuous cinematography …
review by . December 30, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: just a little magic     Cons: n/a     The Bottom Line: = =     A little sex, a little love, all on a summer night            This updated version of Shakespears classic wasn’t as hard to swallow as I thought I would be. After my initial surprise that I enjoyed Kiss Me Kate so much, which was adapted from Taming of the Shrew, I figured this couldn’t be all that bad.       …
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Göran ()
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Michael Hoffman's film adaptation of Shakespeare's magical comedy of a love-tangled quadrangle shimmers with sumptuous cinematography and a truly stellar cast that includes Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, Rupert Everett, Calista Flockhart, and Sam Rockwell. Relocated from Athens to an Italian villa, the film follows the romantic misadventures of four would-be lovers; at the beginning of the film Helena loves Demetrius who loves Hermia who loves Lysander, but all of that undergoes a change when the four young people chase each other into the woods and wander into the domain of Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the Fairies), and the mischievous magic of Puck who possesses a flower that causes people to fall in love with the first person they encounter. Into the hilarity and confusion stumble a hapless band of laborers rehearsing a play for the Duke's wedding. One of the band, Nick Bottom, a humble weaver, is given the head of donkey and then, through the power of the flower, wins the lov...
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Director: Michael Hoffman
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: May 14, 1999
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: August 05, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 56min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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