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Midsummer Night's Dream

A movie directed by Michael Hoffman

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Sogno di una notte di mezza estate~Love, seduction and fairy dust

  • Dec 30, 2002
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.

Having a fairly talented cast helped pull this timeless tale into this century for me, as well as improved techniques in movies, wonderful costumes, and understandable dialogue. Rupert Everett was aptly cast as Oberon, offering a agreeable body and countenance, as well as skampy delivery of his lines. Stanley Tucci, as Puck, Oberon’s sidekick, made this union even more enjoyable.

Fairies, dust & donkey ears
The story all evolves on one remarkable mid-summers night, and the glorious dreams that evolved. Introducing fairies into the dream sequences adds even more enjoyment, especially with Titania (Pfeiffer), with her tumbling locks of hair and starry eyes.

Even Titania, the woodsland fairy, falls under the spell of the midsummer eve as Oberon sprinkles his magic dust over her as she sleeps as a joke. She awakens to find Nick Bottom (Klein) and falls madly in love with him, even with his donkey ears.

This, of course, makes Oberon vaguely jealous, as he realizes that perhaps he has designs on Titania himself, so he removes the curse.

Boy meets girl/girl meets boy
Add the four-way tangle of heated young hearts with Hermia madly in love with Lysander but forced to be with Demetrius. Demetrius supposedly loves Hermia, or believes he does, and wants to keep her away from Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius but he can’t see her for the foggy bubble of ditzy hanging over her head. Lord, a dang soap opera in the making.

Again, Oberon sticks his well chiseled nose in other peoples business, as he sends his buddy Puck to sprinkle the dust of love over the sleeping young lovers. Being a klutz himself, Puck manages to sprinkle awry and the wrong people are lusting after the wrong people for quite a while. Oberon once again has to step in and re-do the magic to the correct loving couple/s. Good old Oberon.

Wee sprites and sexy babes
Adding the unique style of Calista Flockhart as the whining Helena and the beautiful Anna Friel as her friend and nemesis Hermia made me feel like it was more of this time and place, even with the introduction of fairies and magic potions, than of times past.

This is not my usual movie fare, and I certainly would never seek out Shakespeare of the old school before, but Hoffman’s modern day touches pull me over the hurdle. Filmed in Italy, it is full of lush scenery and gorgeous countrysides. Perhaps this 90s version is a slap in the face of the old school Shakespeareans, but I found it touching and inspiring. Enough that I am thinking, thinking mind you, of seeking out the original play and looking it over.

Thee's & Thou's
Some of the old English speech pattern was kept to make it seem of the time but enough new technology was added to give it a surreal appearance. Overall, I found the marriage of old and new an addition to the production. I guess the mud wrestling between Hermia & Helena was for all those poor guys that were drug into the theatre by their loving spouses and the bicycles were certainly different. Not what I was expecting all all.

And in the end, sex sells
This is a nice introduction into the works of Shakespeare for those like me that have never taken the plunge. And there is just something about Michelle Pfeiffer sitting in that clam shell, covered with fairie dust – hmmmmm.


Stars: Kevin Kline as Nick Bottom, Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania, Rupert Everett as Oberon, Stanley Tucci as Puck,
Anna Friel as Hermia, Calista Flockhart as Helena,
Christian Bale as Demetrius, Dominic West as Lysander,
and David Strathairn as Theseus.=

Directed by Michael Hoffman


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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 . September 28, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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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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