Hamlet prince of denmark finds out that his uncle claudius killed his father to obtain the throne and plans revenge. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 02/08/2005 Starring: Mel Gibson Helena Bonham Carter Run time: 130 minutes Rating: Pg Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli's stripped-down, two-hour version of Shakespeare's play stars Mel Gibson as a rather robust version of the ambivalent Danish prince. Gibson is much better in the part than many critics have admitted, his powers of clarity doing much to make this particular Hamlet more accessible than several other filmed versions. The supporting cast is outstanding, including Glenn Close as Gertrude, Alan Bates as Claudius, Ian Holm as Polonius, and Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia. Zeffirelli's vigorous direction employs a lively camera style that nicely alters the viewer's preconceptions about the way Hamlet should look. --Tom Keogh
Since brevity is the soul of wit ... I will be brief; though whether witty, too, as this production is ... why, I know not.
For 'tis not a trifle thing to take a play like Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and cut its length
Almost in half, without thus giving up half of its meaning. Yet, Signor
Franco Zeffirelli: even he, who aught already did for "Romeo
And Juliet," hath made his mark again here in most splendid fashion.
The Prince of Denmark's been portrayed by Thespian royalty near and far,
First among these the great Sir Laurence. Yet here now comes Mel Gibson: a most
Unusual choice, 'tis true; and better known for other roles. But although
Action star and ladies' favourite, this venture made him humble; justly so:
"The play's the thing," he says as Hamlet, and as himself, he adds: "Hamlet belongs
On stage." And he deplores that merely one of his enactments of each scene
Should be preserved on film forever, and that he never had the chance
To delve into the role anew from night to night. - Fear not, good Sir: I think
You did great honour to the Bard's intent; well understood unhappy Hamlet's
Scorn, his rage, his doubts, his terrible paralysis, all his tormented soul.
I also do agree that although ten years older than the prince when you
Took on the part, those extra years provided further insight of the kind
That's needed for this complex role. Hadst but maintained you this same sense of
Hamlet's gravitas until the end, of my full'st praise you wouldst have been assured.
Alas, the levity that you let creep into the final duel with Laertes
In my view ill becomes that scene, and although Hamlet on its eve hath had
A premonition of his death; hath spoke of providence and sparrows,
And looking at the sunset sighed, I doubt that when he meets Ophelia's brother,
He's so far gone beyond all caring that he'd make light of their encounter.
("The rest is silence," too, would have impressed me more without the lisp.)
But let that be. For I do join you in applauding those who
With you hearkened the appeal of Signor Zeffirelli; and who
Most heartily deserve to share this feature's laurels. Princes of
British theatre: the late, great Alan Bates - usurper Claudius -
All ruthless power, cunning, even carnal, brushing away his pangs of guilt;
Yet, reck'ning he doth not escape. Paul Scofield, next, th' ill-fated ghost;
Not bearing arms, as Shakespeare wrote, but verily a perturbed spirit,
As Hamlet calls him, in his pain. And Ian Holm as counsellor
Polonius: not ponderous, nor slow of tongue and eye but quick, and yet
Slain by the prince, in Claudius's place. They all have stood on stage a hundred times,
And brought to life the Bard's great plays, so well doth it behove one new, as Master Gibson
Is, to Shakespeare's world to credit them for lessons learned; and not just for their acting.
Also permit me, pray, to speak about the ladies in this male-dictated play:
Glenn Close's Gertrude, youthful queen, who gives the lie to Hamlet's chide
And his unmerciful reminder of her flesh's humbleness, and of her
Age. A bit too Freudian, perchance, her and her son's relationship
(That's an approach I've never liked). But a commanding presence, all be told.
Yet, even more praiseworthy is Miss Hel'na Bonham-Carter; her
Ophelia well-neigh impossible to replicate, she's *that* convincing.
Now rose in bloom, in love; now in distress, now finally in lunacy; she wails,
Her hair is tangled, clothes in rags, prophetic words she speaks disguised as
Songs and flower talk, before she drowns and thus propels this drama's end.
What else? Oh aye, of course: Kudos must also go to David Watkin,
In charge of camera, and Signors Ennio Morricone and Feretti
- by first name Dante - for this film's score and the design of its production.
Faithful reporting, too, would be amiss without a word on Hamlet's foils:
Horatio, his school fellow, in Stephen Dillane's able hands, as is
Laertes in Nathaniel Parker's; and Trevor Peacock as the gravedigger,
Spot-on: a diamond in the rough. As player king, moreover, have a
Look out for Pete Postlethwaite; and unlike the movie by Olivier
This one includes both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern - Michael Maloney and
Sean Murray. Fortinbras, though, you'll search in vain in this production, too.
The words, of course, are those of Shakespeare, though moved around a bit, but not in
Ways that by and large, methinks, the Bard would take exception to. Save, that is,
"Get thee to a nunnery," which doth assume a diff'rent connotation here:
A kinder, gentler Hamlet, who still contrives to show some care about Ophelia.
(But would he really? Nay, I think not.) "To be or not to be" not in the
Courtyard but the crypt, however, that is amazingly intense: both
The performance and the imagery. As generally Zeffirelli
In troth well uses film's ability to convey meaning visually, as
In the burial of Hamlet Senior, the prince's wordless visit to
Ophelia, and in the punishment of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
But let me close now. Brief I would be, that was my promise - well, there goes that.
Such is reviewing! Yet, what I wish, in faith, dear reader, thou hadst found
Within these lines is that I recommend this film. So go and watch it - presently!
The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works 2nd Edition
Hamlet (The New Folger Library Shakespeare)
BBC Shakespeare Tragedies DVD Giftbox
Olivier's Shakespeare - Criterion Collection (Hamlet / Henry V / Richard III)
William Shakespeare's Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Grigori Kozintsev's Hamlet
Peter Brook's King Lear
Julius Caesar...more info
Great interpretation, but sloppy dvd production. I recently bought this dvd, and thought it was quite good. The supporting actors are to die for, Ian Holm makes an especially good portrayal, although Gibson is a little off. The only problem I had with this dvd was the scene titled "To Be Or Not To Be." Every time I tried to play it, on 4 different players, the dvd stopped completely or jumped to the next scene. It would have been better if it did this at not such an important moment in the production. I thought it was just the disk I had, so I exchanged it for another copy. Sure enough, same glitch on all four of the players again. Overall this is a great movie, but the dvd could be much better!...more info
A HAMLET for all audiences As a very outspoken theatre and Shakespeare buff, I should favor Kenneth B.'s 1996 version of the tale, what with its full text of the original play and so on. However, I find this version of HAMLET to be far superior to Kenneth's long, overdrawn, melodramatic, and slightly TOO epic version of the story. My main reason for prefering this version is the fact that Mel Gibson is a much more relateable and multi-faceted Hamlet than Kenneth, who's Hamlet goes through out the course of the film whinning, brooding, speaking eloquently, and then...well, whining some more. I was annoyed with his performance, but very refreshed by Mr. Gibson's. He doesn't play the character as a medieval Goth punk boy, he plays him as a relatively normal young man who has been thrust into a situation that is far from average. The supporting cast is also suberb, especially the regal Glenn Close as Queen Gertrude, portraying very boldly the sexual longings of the character, a very rare find in most productions of the play. Helena Bonham Carter turns in the most modern and strong Ophelia that I have ever seen on screen or on stage. Her Ophelia is obedient, yes, but passive, whiny, and weak, she is not. She gives the impression that she is obedient for one reason only: given her sex and the time period, she has no other choice, but she doesn't give in without a fight. Even her insanity is strong rather than weak - she is a very angry Ophelia, and her madness seems to almost be her way of rebeling against what has happened to her and how her fellow characters have abused and walked over her, rubbing in their faces the fact that her decent into madness is the result of their depravity, selfishness, and manipulation. I love Kate Winslet, but her Ophelia in Kenneth's version was too weepy, too whiny, and too converntial. Helena breaks all the barriers with her portrayl. The atmosphere of this film is very fitting for the story: it is a very remote, earthy, dark, dank Denmark, and even though we see many beautiful European locations and sweeping staircases and large royal halls, Zeffereli manages to artfully make his audience feel as Hamlet feels: anxious and claustrophobic....more info
A wonderful Hamlet - too bad about the text editing I remember when this movie came out almost 15 years ago - I really wanted to hate it - imagine! Mel Gibson, Mr. Lethal Weapon, Mad Max as the Danish Prince! I was almost tasting the blood as I walked into the theatre. Surprise, surprise! It's actually my favorite film of this play, and yes, that includes the much-overrated (in my opinion - I hate the voice overs) Olivier version. I really, really, really got behind Gibson as the Prince in this one, and I thought Paul Scofield as the ghost was magnificent - his scene with Hamlet on the battlement is so intimate - a real father/son talk.
For those who know the play, some of the textual cuts and re-arrangements may be startling -it's odd to hear Hamlet tell Ophelia "get thee to a nunnery" in the middle of the Mousetrap scene, for instance. I also found myself feeling frustrated that I didn't get to see Gibson do some of the speeches and soliloquies which were cut -- "How all occasions do inform against me" for example.
The Cool Hamlet Franco Zeffirelli takes another shot at directing Shakespeare--a hobby of his since the 1960s--in this solemn 1991 production with his characteristically abridged text.
Gibson joins an intriguing fraternity of the onscreen portrayers of Literature's Princely Procrastinator. Laurence Olivier had the classically dramatic Hamlet(1948), Nicol Williamson had the staid Hamlet (although in that 1969 production, Marianne Faithfull's Ophelia made more of an impression on me), and Kenneth Branaugh, clad in 19th century costumes, had the intensely sinewy and thorough Hamlet(1996).
But Mel Gibson strikes me as the intensely cool Hamlet. In a drafty-looking Elsinore Castle situated by the sea, the drama begins, and the modernity Gibson lends to the role of the melancholy Dane as he mourns his father (the venerable Paul Scofield) is confronted by his ghost, disturbed by the sudden remarriage of his mother Queen Gertrude(a most Scandinavian-looking Glenn Close) to his Uncle Claudius (a conniving Alan Bates)who succeeds his brother to the Danish throne, emanates.
Gibson makes this role a carry-over from his roles in "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon" as he plays another character on a quest for vengeance (and perhaps he also draws on earlier training as a Shakespearan actor, having played Romeo onstage in Australia years before). Feigning madness, he has the melancholy air displayed in so many of his films and the close-ups of his very expressive trademark cornflower blue eyes encapsulates that.
He has the opportunity to kill his Uncle after learning of his responsibility for his father's death as Claudius kneels at prayer with a troubled conscience after watching a play with an all-too-familiar theme. Worrying that Claudius' soul may go to Heaven if he is killed while at prayer, Hamlet decides to wait for a more appropriate moment--a decison that leads to a mounting array of carnage.
The tragedy of Polonius(Ian Holm)the King's Chamberlain, falls fast on the heels of Hamlet's unfortunate decision, which soon has its bearing on Ophelia(a well-cast Helena Bonham Carter), Polonius' daughter, as well as well as his son, Laertes (a sharp-eyed Nathaniel Parker who is relatively calm in his treachery).
Amid an array of seemingly accurate Danish Medieval era costumes, and an environment of mostly cold solemnity, we watch Hamlet outwit two fellow students, noblemen Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Michael Maloney and Sean Murray), with the fatal consequences for the duo; another lugubrious moment is briefly assuaged by Hamlet's chat with a gravedigger (Trevor Peacock).
Later John McEnery, two decades removed from his memorable performances as Zeffirelli's Mercutio, appears as the nobleman Osiric.
Stephen Dillane's Horatio bears witness to these calamitous events, and after Gibson gives the most soberly forceful delivery of Hamlet's denunciation of his Uncle that I've witnessed to date, is charged with telling the tale. No invasion of foreign troops. No seizure of the Danish throne by the Norwegian Prince Fontainbras in this production. It is just basic, and full of profound sadness, leaving a viewer with much to ponder about the folly of it all....more info
Though This Be Madness, Yet There Is Method In't This is a VERY good rendition of Shakespeare's famous play. For the most part the dialogue is word-for-word. It is, by far, the best Hamlet I've seen....more info
Great high school students will love this movie for its vivid scenes. Very true to the text. Brings Shakespeare to the teen's grasp....more info
A worthy depiction Throughout cinematic history many gifted people have made many splendid versions of what is one of Shakespear's most spirited and acclaimed stories of all time. They have come and gone, but this is one that should remain for all times never to be forgotten. Definitely my favorite, it seems so much more alive than other versions and lets face it, with an actor so live as Mel Gibson at the helm, its bound to be.
Gibson slips immaculately, if not effortlessly into the shoes of this hard-to-fill character previously portrayed by so many other fine actors. But in doing so, he brings something new to the theatrical table set forth here by Franco Zeffirelli (The Taming of the Shrew). It is practicalism. Gibson does not selfishly attempt to play Hamlet in his own way as some have, but instead prefers to keep things deeply theatrical and classic as well as practical for all those watching. In the 'actor's journey' included in the special features leaf, we witness Gibson's painstaking and dedicated efforts to keep the character accurately real through constant research and repetition of the lines. We get to see a master at work. Mel Gibson sacrifices nothing and yet adds everything to the renowned character, and does it with a truly wonderful supporting cast.
Glenn Close is Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, while Alan Bates portrayes Hamlet's Uncle Claudius. Both are superb in their skills and fill their respective roles wonderfully, but the two roles that really captured my attention were Ian Holm as the meddlesome Polonius, and Helena Bonham-Carter as our frail and lovely Ophelia. As a viewer I have always been partial to Holm in any role. To me he seems to be one of the lesser known geniuses of his craft, and that evaluation is in no way lessened by his work here (for those of you unfamiliar with his name you might remember him from his most recent role as 'Bilbo' in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy). He's been around for ages and seems to be at the peak of his acting abilities in this work, moving effortlessly over the unceasing and complicated structure of Shakespear's lines and phrases. As for Helena Bonham-Carter, no one could have been better to portray the ill-fated Ophelia in saneness or madness. She also posesses one of those unique, other-worldly kind of faces that just seems to gel for this role. Paul Scofield returns to familiar work in William Shakespear's plays as the dead ghost of Hamlet's father. Top all of this off with music scored by the legendary Ennio Morricone (who was recently honored with lifetime achievement at the Academy Awards) and you've got yourself a depiction of a story that can't go wrong!
The movie runs 135 minutes long and is accompanied by a making-of documentary by Mel Gibson, "To Be or Not to Be". It also comes with the original theatrical trailer and the movie itself is viewable through English, French or Spanish subtitles. And be sure to buy the widescreen version for better viewing.
This movie is produced with the upmost dilligence, and most superb effort from actors, writers, designers, musicians and director alike. The most wonderful and practical version of "Hamlet" on the market. You'll see what I mean....more info
Mel Gibson's Hamlet This is Hamlet the movie, not a filmed version of the stage play. Having said that , it is very well done. Mel Gibson's early Shakespearean training (yes, he was a Shakespearean actor before he ever was Mad Max, who let's face it was fairly Shakespearean in concept) shows clearly in this rendition of the ever popular tragedy. I thought it was terrific and am tired of uninformed prejudgemental critics not giving credit where its due and yet touting questionably talented boy/men like Tom Cruise.There is real depth to Mel's portrayal of Hamlet along with the confusion and despair the character goes through after betrayal of family and friends alike. Highly recommended!...more info
Hamlet I teach English at a local Community College, and I use this film version of "Hamlet" to back-up the Shakespeare text of the play. This film version is very close to the actual play....more info
Fast shipping This was purchased for school, since I was sick the day they viewed it. I ordered and received this product in excellent condition and in less than 24 hours....more info
"These Are the Best Actors in the World." I put off seeing this film for many years as I did not believe that Gibson would issue appropriate treatment to Shakespeare's masterpiece. In retrospect, Braveheart and Gibson's own masterpiece, The Passion, should have alerted me that Mel was a serious artist with extensive vision far before his later achievements came along. Here, more venturesome viewers than I, discovered that Gibson was not a bubblegum actor but a figure worthy of association with the bard. With this film we see a rather early glimpse of what Mel Gibson would become. There is a boyous impetuousity and energy to his performance that makes him infinitely believable. Helena Bonham-Carter is her princessularly beautiful self. As a feminine figure of wonder she has few peers. Ian Holm, as always, is first class. The same can be said of Glenn Close. One of the things I find rewarding about watching Shakespeare on DVD is turning on the subtitles and having the text enhance the visual experience...and enhance your mind as well....more info
YEA, MEL This is the first time I ever like Mel Gibson. There are many great folks in this, of course. This isn't my favorite version. Kenneth Branagh's takes first place, for me. This is still very good. I like to see all ideas of Shakespeare. Worth the time to watch....more info
The best Mel Gibson movie ever I don't think I gave Mel any credit as an actor till I saw him in this movie. An absolutly awesome presentation of Shakespeare that did far more to culture a desire to read and learn more about him(Shakespeare) then any English teacher ever thought of doing. This for me was my gateway to a world that had previously not intrested me....more info
Franco's Hamlet is First-rate! Like many people, I was capitivated by Gibson's long-ago performance in Gallipoli. Before Mel went to Hollywood and became a two-dimensional 'movie star,' he possessed a persona that projected great innocence and a purity of character rarely seen in film. It was wonderful to get to see that side of Mel Gibson again. Good show, Franco!
HAMLET This was a great teaching tool; however Mel Gibson is the weakest actor of the bunch. Some tasteless moments have to be overlooked....more info
A good abridged Hamlet I just taught a course on Hamlet for Lifelong Learning and this was one of four film versions of Hamlet I used. This is a very good short version of the play. Mel Gibson does a credible job and the supporting cast is excellent. Glenn Close as Gertrude is outstanding - she shows the giddiness and joy of new love which helps to explain the rashness of her remarriage. Alan Bates as Claudius is likeable and you can see why Gertrude violated canonical law to marry him. This is the incestuous relationship at the heart of the play. Think of your mother marring your uncle.
The reason I did not use Olivier's Hamlet is that while it's a good film with great acting - it's a very bad Hamlet. Freud was very much in vogue at the time and Olivier distorted the movie to put overtones of the Oedipus Complex into it. Also the Claudius in this film is obnoxious and there is no reason for Gertrude to marry him or for Hamlet to delay so long.
One of the important points of this play is the struggle between the two "mighty opposites" of Hamlet and Claudius. They have to be seen as equals. The best Claudius I have seen is Derek Jacobi in Branaugh's Hamlet (also my favorite version of Hamlet).
For a short version of the play, I would definately recommend this Hamlet over the Olivier version.
Another point for viewers to note, in Shakespeare's time, a ghost could either be good or evil. Hamlet has doubts about the truth of the ghost's statement until the mousetrap play proves the allegations. At this time Hamlet assumes the ghost is a good, but sometimes an evil spirit can be telling the truth. It is up to the viewer to decide if the ghost is from heaven or from hell.
Shakespeare for everyone This is my favorite version of any Shakespeare play. Gibson is pitch perfect in the role. I actually think he does a better Hamlet than Laurence Olivier! I have never seen Gibson act so well. This is a robust Hamlet that anyone can understand. Gibson makes Hamlet a man of action who is tortured by what has happened to his family. Although madness creeps up on him, he struggles to act honorably. Forget tedious school days trudging through Shakespearean text. This movie is what it is all about. The quip is that you already know the play because most of it has been pilfered for quotations by just about everyone. The English has been updated but not simplified in the movie. Great film, great acting, what a script! This is memorable stuff, just like a Beethoven symphony or Jimmy Page playing the guitar....more info
In It's own way My son purchased this film to help him write a paper on Hamlet (he got a B). Let's face it, Mel Gibson is no Shakesperean actor, but for the neophyte the film gets the story across. Glenn Close is always excellent in any role and the other actors hold up their parts well. I would recommend this film to someone who wants to learn the story but is not interested in true dialog of the period. Not one of Mel Gibson's finer performances....more info
Not a bad adaptation It's interesting to watch, and it's still Hamlet. If you want an amazing, but long, film version, go for Kenneth Brannaugh's Hamlet. This one's worth a viewing, though, as there are some poignant moments....more info
Mel did a very good job as the wishy washy prince Poor Hamlet, couldn't make up his mind to save his life. I really ejoyed this version, Mel and the rest of the experienced cast did a great job. You just have to forget Mel was Mad Max and accept him as the Mad Prince of Denmark and you'll enjoy this as much as I did. Also, if a teenager has to do a book report on Hamlet this is a good version for that age group. Enjoy!...more info
Sliced and diced, yes, but oh what remains! In a Catholic family which includes a daughter who still wears a threadbare "Braveheart tee", a mother who has seen "Signs" three times on the big screen, and several men folk, who, in spite of the female Murphys' incessant pratings about Mel Gibson being one of the Almighty's more lovely creations, are nonetheless willing to admit that the man, after all, can act, it should come as no surprise that this 1990 film, directed by the flamboyant Franco Zeffirelli, is not known as "Zeffirelli's Hamlet" but "Mel's Hamlet." What is surprising, perhaps, is how much this film adaptation has grown on Clan Murphy over the years, in spite of Zeffirelli's mutilation of Shakespeare's text. Cut by half―nay, chopped, hacked, eviscerated, generally shot all to hell, with no Fortinbras, nary a complete soliloquy except for the inevitable "To be or not to be," with lines reassigned all over the place―this two-hour script of a four-hour play should have been enough to make these bardolaters grieve...were it not that the acting and staging of what remained was so remarkably satisfying.
To begin, Zeffirelli is an Enthusiast with an operatic streak. His many virtues and occasional vices, cinematically speaking, appear to stem from a temperamental tendency to what the Italians call "sprezzatura." Let us say, "dying in his own too much." But Zeffirelli has taken his over-the-topness down a notch in this film, befitting its bracing North Atlantic setting designed by the brilliant Dante Ferretti. Zeffirelli has thereby resisted the temptation to Wagnerian excess that I, for one, would have loathed. Instead, the medieval Norse Elsinore that the filmmakers have created, an elemental time and place in which springtime seems like a promise never kept, is subdued in color and ornament, but rich in texture. It reels with labyrinthine staircases leading everywhere and nowhere at the same time, as in one of those dizzying Escher lithographs. More to the purpose, perhaps, Zeffirelli and his cast put their sets to good use. The actors move, interact, fill the stage―unlike the Talking Heads productions one so often sees, in which characters stand around babbling beautifully, but never seem to inhabit their spaces, let alone live in them.
I was impressed, too, as I have been before, with Zeffirelli's talent for getting inside the rhythms and Weltanschauung of another century, another culture. With a play like "Hamlet", this time-traveling facility can be especially valuable, as it has become notoriously difficult for us twenty-first century postmoderns to get our imaginations around a world in which vow-breaking, adultery, incest, and political murder are shocking crimes, worthy of gasps rather than snickers; in which a belief in Ghosts, Angels, Demons―even Eternal Damnation―are tenable metaphysical positions held by sophisticated, educated, people. But that was the world Shakespeare lived in, the world his text hands us, and many directors, circumscribed by their own broad-minded relativism (not to mention, devotion to Foucault-laced lit crit) cannot seem to stage it any longer without dragging in boatloads of irony. What the audience is usually left with is a Prince of Denmark whose much-ballyhooed "nobility" consists of little more than a furious facility for skewering hypocrisy (Branagh) or a rebel-without-a-cause ennui (Almereyda).
Zeffirelli, however, by all accounts (like his star, Gibson), still adheres to many of those traditional concepts which form the subtext of this Elizabethan revenge play, and the anti-anti-hero he gives us looks a good deal more, I suspect, like the tragic hero of former ages than has been seen for some time. Burdened, baleful, a little batty, yes, and ultimately broken, but no deconstructed Hamlet this...and my goodness, how refreshing it is.
As for Gibson himself, there has always been something a little ADHD about the actor, and he holds the screen with his energy as much as his good looks. In the role of Hamlet, his athleticism and animal spirits imbue the top-heavy Dane (always thinking too precisely on the event) with an intensity and edginess that I found most appealing. Not that there's anything blunt or un-intellectual about Mel's Hamlet, either, let us hasten to add; just that, for once, I was able to believe that the Prince of Denmark was by nature a robust male with an intact personality―-until, at least, he returns from school to find his familiar Elsinore transmogrified into the Twilight Zone.
Too, and to his credit, Gibson is one of the few Hamlets I've seen who actually thinks his words as he speaks them; is even surprised on occasion―horrified―by his own suddenly tempest-dark thoughts and impulses. This, too, was refreshing, as actors aren't the only ones who know these lines so well they could recite them in their sleep.
The rest of the cast is excellent, though the mangled dialogue frequently leaves the actors with insufficient material to build their characters' motivations. Helena Bonham-Carter comes across as too feisty and ornery to suit my personal taste in Ophelias, but her mad scenes are nonetheless deeply affecting. Paul Scofield is a soft-spoken, purgatorial Ghost whose impact proves no less powerful for being restrained. Ian Holm's busy-bee Polonius is not so much malicious as enormously irritating, as he should be, I suppose, mixing the devil's own pride with a fawning servility towards his sovereign―-Alan Bates doing a finely calibrated "bloat king" Claudius. The latter is an interpretation for which I usually care little, as it runs the risk of lessening the danger the character should pose to our protagonist, but it works well here as performed by one of Britain's most seasoned performers. Kudos, too, for Nathaniel Parker's endearing Laertes, who proves a worthy mirror-image for Hamlet's faltering will-to-revenge; one can see the poor man's fury, shame, pity and befuddlement, all in the space of a moment, particularly in the engrossingly staged final swordplay with Hamlet.
Special mention, I think, needs to be made of Glenn Close's Gertrude. In spite of her occasionally off-putting Brunhilde-ish get-ups, she is primo throughout. She is also the first actress, in my viewing experience, to nail the poisoning scene. No delicately swooning Gertrude this, as is so common even with the finest actresses. Her Gertrude's death is not only *not* pretty, as they say, it's just about what one would expect, if one really thinks about it, from a fast-acting "potent poison" capable of reducing an otherwise vibrant woman to a lump of worm food in the space of a couple of minutes. As someone who has worked in hospitals with the very sick and dying, all I can say is, "Yes."
Least favorite scene: Ophelia's overtly challenging interchange with her father upon Laertes' departure. In response to Polonius's command that she no longer see Hamlet, Ophelia spouts off with a perfectly sarcastic "I shall obey, my Lord." To my way of thinking, any young woman (especially in that day and age) strong enough to stand up to her paterfamilias in such a ballsy manner should have the whatsis to keep a good grip on her wits when the obnoxious old so-and-so is later killed. The whole episode came across (to me) as an ill-advised and anachronistic concession to the ravenous demands of feminist criticism, and certainly proved a source of cognitive dissonance vis-a-vis Ophelia's later unraveling.
Favorite scene: The Hamlet-Gertrude "shenting scene," in which an enraged Hamlet mimics "making love over the nasty sty" on top of his own pole-axed mother. For Hamlets, this scene is like the tenor's big aria at the climax of an opera; which means that to be fully satisfying, the Hamlet in question must have had the good sense to check himself till now; must have saved something for the finale. Gibson, in keeping with his legendary ability to project rage on screen (think of the revenge-of-his-wife scene in Braveheart-―yikes!) does just that, and the result, when he finally lets fly here, is a doozy: It takes little imagination on the part of the audience to understand why Gertrude is hysterical with fear that her son is about to kill her, perhaps even rape her.
But that's still not the (pardon me) climax, for a second later Close manages a one-eighty that few actresses could navigate: She vises her out-of-control son in a violent lip-lock, and it is Hamlet's turn to be shocked nearly out of his skin.
Okay, so maybe the whole Oedipal thing has been done to death in the last fifty years of Hamlet productions. Goodness knows I've often wished to see just one Closet Scene which didn't end up in Gertrude's bed, with Gertrude's robes falling sexily off her shoulders as her son tosses her about; but in these folks' skillful hands the effect is grisly rather than titillating. This is something of a ghost story, after all, and we should come away just a little freaked out.
I'm reminded of the cover of the program for the Tygre's Heart Shakespeare Company's 1997 production of Hamlet, which read:
"Father dies. Mother marries uncle. Dead father visits son. Son plots revenge. Stepfather plots sons death. Mother is poisoned. Son is poisoned. Dying son stabs stepfather...Hamlet: Suddenly your family seems normal."
Now if only, if only, this had been a nice, plump three-hour Hamlet, complete with "Rogue and peasant slave" and "O how all occasions" speeches left intact... ...more info
Highlights of Hamlet When I first saw this version, not long after its release I was immediately lost and confused. Having a clear ability to understand Shakespeare (as I had read several of his plays, but not yet Hamlet) I was bewildered. A film based on Shakespeare needs to interpret the work VISUALLY as well as with the dialogue.
This is not a film for those who know not the play and it is too short, too cut and too uninspired for those who do. What a pointless mess, really. Typical dreary castle, typical silly costumes, typical, typical, typical. It's everything people expect from films based on Shakespeare, boring, dull, familiar.
See Kenneth Branaughs 4hr masterpiece, and Anthony Hopkins "Titus" or Ian McKellen's "Richard III" to see what Shakespeare can really be on screen.
Accessible Version of a timeless play - worth 4.5 Once again, I'd like to give a half-star rating, but alas . . .
As my by-line indicates, I am a former high school teacher. Without exception, this is the version of Hamlet that is a class-room favorite. (I show 2 others: Branaugh (2nd place) and the film starring Ethan Hawke (everyone hates it).) It is accessible to younger viewers and is just a beautiful film all around.
The filming, camera work and sets are impeccable. One is instantly transported into the world these characters inhabit. As to the script, it IS heavily edited; however, most of what is omitted (see note below) is "shown" to the audience through visual media. This isn't a "filmed version of the play"; it is a film based on the play. In that framework, it is quite well done. I particularly like the beginning scenes that make Hamlet's description of his mother - "Like Niobe, all tears" - come to life.
The acting, to my thinking, is superb. The emphasis here is on Hamlet's relationship to his mother, Gertrude. That comes through quite clearly. Gibson's Hamlet comes across as a soldier - a man of action - who agonizes over the eternal consequences of his acts. He is believable in the role, masterful in some ways. Likewise the supporting cast. Helena Bonham-Carter and Glenn Close provide particularly vibrant portrayals of their characters.
So, why not 5 stars? Without the "Fortinbras" subplot, some of the urgency in the play seems missing. While definitely a secondary story-line, it provides a framework that adds tension to the play as a whole as the war is waged both outside the castle walls and within.
Overall, this production gets an A. Very accessible. Very easily understood. And haunting in its own way....more info
Hamlet Mel Gibson won me over. Hamlet was produced by Franco Zeffirelli, the guy behind Romeo and Juliet 22 years earlier. Great color, grays and browns from the Middle Ages. Shakespeare biographies are sketchy. William Shakespeare was born at Stratford-on-the-Avon in 1564. Stratford is 100 miles from London. Avon is the river. He married Anne Hathaway and had three children. He moved to London and established himself as a playwright. His plays were staged at the Globe. Hamlet is the best, written in 1601. It deals with revenge, procrastination and insanity. Hamlet puts on an "antic disposition" as he delays avenging his father's murder. The real issue is death. Why do we have to die? Why live at all if we must die? Shakespeare died in 1616 at age 52. His 36 plays divide into tragedies, comedies, histories and problem plays. Characters drop like flies in the tragedies.
Best Hamlet EVER The film is set in the time Hamlet was to have taken place rather than Shakespeare's time or some other. This DVD is widescreen with superb sound. It may not boll me over like seeing it in the theater- I sat through it twice- but it will do quite well.Gibson for my money has turned in the best film Hamlet I have ever seen, and I have seen about 14. Also the ENTIRE cast is top notch all the way. Five stars or maybe six? Gibson is as briliant as Olivie was in Othelo- the spares one....more info
Shakespeare on film Excellent film for classroom use to accompany the play. It is only half of Shakespeare's drama, but it gives students a chance to grasp the plot and mood that the writer so masterfully pens. ...more info
Good effort but... This is a Hamlet in which you need to find the grain among the straw: Zeffirelli shows as usual stick to realistic art direction and a master directing actors (as he probed many times both on stage and in front of camera) but such precision can leave you with the need for something daring, provocative, new... and it is not.
Paul Scofield's Ghost and Glenn Close's Queen Gertrude are the best among a cast of talented actors. Mel Gibson for the main role was since the beginning the more controversial choice, and no matter what he is not suitable for prince Hamlet.
But at the end, it was always common with Zeffirelli making this kind of "moves", like casting Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for "Taming of the Shrew" or the multicast of "Jesus of Nazareth"....more info
Hamlet DVD is GREAT! What can I say? How can a movie with Mel Gibson and Glenn Close (both do impeccable Britiish accents) go wrong? Everyone in the movie "gets" the Shakesperare. It was very moving . . . great work . . . a masterpiece. I'm using this verson of the great play to teach my students Hamlet....more info
Finally, Hamlet situated in its' proper historical milieu When it comes to adaptations of Shakespeare, modern films unfortunately fall into one of two rather broadly defined groups. There are those films which seek to set all of the Bard's plays in his late 16th, early 17th century world, even when the plays do NOT take place in a time contemporary to Shakespeare's own (Julius Caesar, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra all take place in times far removed from Shakespeare's own).
The other set of films usually attempt a "modernization" of Shakespeare, setting his plays in our own time, perhaps in an attempt to help us "relate" to an era deemed too distant by some; what usually results is a film that seems awkwardly uncomfortable in both our world and Shakespeare's world-- Romeo and Juliet with DiCaprio, and "O" come to mind here. Although a few films (such as Julie Taymor's beautiful and disturbing "Titus") are quite successful at blending modern aesthetics and world-views with those of the Renaissance.
However, with this version of Hamlet, the viewer is presented with early medieval Denmark... exactly the place and time that Shakespeare had in mind while writing this play. The accuracy of the cultural and historical ambiance is of course to be celebrated (standing in stark contrast to Kenneth Branagh's version which is mysteriously set in a 19th century context, but should be celebrated for presenting the entire play, whereas Gibson's Hamlet is somewhat abridged), but it is only part of what makes this adaptation notable.
The quality of acting and casting seems near perfect in my mind, and indeed the acting shines above everything else in this rendition. Mel Gibson, Ian Holm, Helena Bonham Carter are all superb-- but it is Glenn Close's Queen Gertrude who truly deserves praise.
Close is able to portray the complexities of thought and feeling which motivate much of Gertrude's actions during the play. While reading Hamlet, or viewing a version with a less-than-ideal Gertrude, the character can quite easily become inaccessible and distant; Glenn Close imbues every action with purpose, and sheds some light on one of Shakespeare's arguably most mysterious characters.
Gibson's talent at portraying the tormented Hamlet is an unlooked for surprise, as is his ability to handle Shakespeare's complex language with grace and ease. Sadly, his recent behavior has tarnished his career, but his beautiful portrayal of Hamlet is a wonderful reminder of what a great actor he once was....more info
Mel Gibson Does Shakespeare... 1991's "Hamlet" featured action star Mel Gibson as the melancholy Danish Prince of the title of Shakespeare's famous tragedy. Gibson, whose resume was based on the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon franchises at that time, is surprisingly effective in a role thought be a stretch. Director Franco Zeffirelli had the good sense to let Gibson's energetic performance drive the pacing of a very brisk two-hour version of the story. The result is a very accessible production about murder and revenge in the Danish Royal Family, and a vigorous portrayal of the normally languid and moody Hamlet.
Zeffirelli's movie features beautiful location shooting, excellent costumes, and an extremely talented supporting cast, lead by Glenn Close as Hamlet's mother Gertrude, Alan Bates as the treacherous step-father, and Helena Bonham-Carter as the doomed Ophelia. At the center is Hamlet, as played by Gibson, visibly disturbed in his madness over his father's death, and movingly emotional in his approach to his mother and to Ophelia.
This movie is highly recommended as a different but highly entertaining version of Hamlet. It may appeal most to those without preconceived notions about how Hamlet should be portrayed, or to those who know Mel Gibson only from his later films....more info
Good enjoyable interpretation. I liked this version of the tragic prince's tale. As someone who's spent a lot of time studying Hamlet, the portrayal of the closet scene irritated me, but is entirely forgivable. The acting is very good, though the editing and arrangement of the script might throw you for a loop. If you're not a student who's read the play umpteen times, you should be fine though. Regardless, it's very enjoyable, and definitely worth the price....more info
Shakespear at it's best Stunning acting by Mel Gibson, Shakespearian art hasn't been lost from this DvD a must buy if you have read the story before or just getting into Shakespeare. Truly a intellectual movie you will watch for years to come.
I adore Shakespeare in general and Hamlet in particular, and I generally try not to hew too closely to any one version, but I did not much care for this version of Hamlet. Compared to the superb Kenneth Branaugh version, Gibson's Hamlet seems dazed, drugged, and lackluster. His lines are spoken with no particular emphasis - everything sounds flat and dull. Initially, I felt this was an attempt to portray Hamlet as dazed and overwhelmed by his father's death, but even his descent into madness seems dull and lifeless and pales strongly in comparison to the manic babbling and hyper antics of Branaugh's Hamlet. I appreciate an attempt at a numb, grief-stricken performance, but it just doesn't work dramatically, and Hamlet requires more energy than Gibson displays here.
I will also add that Glenn Close, whom I usually respect, seems overly campy and bubbly here, with very little attempt at any facade of widowhood. This contrasts, too, with the Branaugh version, where Gertrude is superbly displayed as a politic queen, with a perfect facade of mourning, overlaying an underlying joy. This duplicity is more intriguing than the dancing, giggling child-queen we get from Close, and I found it strikingly simplistic.
Also very annoying is that several scenes are cut out of place, lines are spoken out of order, and soliloquies are cut short. This chops the drama badly and while I understand that some people feel that Shakespeare must be made more brief in order to be more accessible, there must be a better way with this.
This version provides a closed caption option for the hard of hearing. I do not own this movie - I rented this through my Blockbuster Online account....more info
"Omelette" Said The Egg. "To Be Or Not To Be...." I do find it most amusing whenever an actor such as Mel Gibson thinks he can produce a performance equal to that of Sir Lawrence Olivier which is after all why remakes are made. Sadly Mel has neither the talent or the on screen presence to portray the Mad Prince Of Denmark and all we have left is a guy who looks as if he is suffering from Mad Cow Disease with his eyes rolling about in his head who just wants his mommy.I give this movie 5 stars because all it did was remind me of just how good the 1948 version was....more info
Look at this! Mel Gibson in a willy script... He did great! That fun lover drunkard Jew hating man! I expect much more from him in the future...
HA! How many Years has it been since I've seen him in anything?! His past works where wonderful, pity for his future....more info
Odd ingredients make maybe the most accessible hamlet I laughed my head off when I was told that Mel Gibson had made a version of Hamlet. But even though casting a then action star as the meloncholy dane made as much sense as casting Charlie Sheen as King Lear, Gibson actually pulls it off, making for a more accessible and relateable Hamlet without cheapening or selling-out the material. The rest of the cast is perfectly acceptable: Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Ian Holm etc. And director Zeffirelli (already a notch on his belt with a definitive version of Romeo & Juliet) brings an interesting visual style to the mix: Matching the film to a rugid, harsh, grey, landscape the mirrors the rugid, harsh, grey content of the film to an effect that would have made Igmar Bergman proud (along with an, of course, wonderful Ennio Morricone score). The play is abridged which means that there isn't nearly enough of (amoung others) Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia, but I suppose it's better to wish you could spend more time with someone than for them to wear out their welcome....more info
Disappointing Mel Gibson is always good to look upon; however, this version of Hamlet was not handled well by the director and so the whole production was disappointing....more info
Not Larry Olivier, but it's acceptable and accessible... This is a good choice for a person's first exposure to "Hamlet" on film. Mel Gibson might be a bigoted drunk obsessed with fundamentalist Catholicism in real life, but in "reel" life, he has always been an interesting and competent performer. For an even better filmed version, hunt up a DVD of the 1948 production starring Olivier. If you cannot find a copy, this edition in color with Mel and Glenn Close and some other fine supporting actors is good enough.
A Laughable and Terrible Version of Hamlet Gibson presents a laughably bad and overacted version of Shakespeare's immortal character Hamlet. He is very ill-suited for the role. So too is Ophelia: supposed to be a frail girl, she is instead graying in hair and a bit too strong-willed for the role. Overall, a very bad portrayal of Hamlet. Kenneth Branagh's or Laurence Olivier's versions are considerably better....more info
Fresh and Vivid This is a fresh and vivid version of Hamlet, and merits repeated viewing despite some eccentricities. The strengths are its solid core, with Gibson's excellent embodiment of the hero and the best Ophelia in modern productions, Helen Bonham Carter. Alan Bates' scruffy, dissolute Claudius is also both soundly conceived and executed. The sets are highly realistic and there is a grand amount of outdoor photography making it spectacular to behold again and again.
The chief weakness is a way, way overplayed Freudian interpretation of Hamlet and his mother, which almost spoils the movie. Otherwise Glenn Close as Gertrude is at her professional best.
The 2 hour rush through the play is breath taking, but sacrifices some fine points such as Rozencrantz and Gildenstern, and the ghost of Hamlet's father which sadly misuses an earnest Paul Schofield. These are minor arguments; there is always room for experimenting with the play. It is funny however that Zeffereli, usually a first rate Shakespearean interpreter, shoots so finally wide of target here. But with a play of this nature you have to take what you can get, and I have never seen the funeral of Ophelia better done, and Hamlet's defining leap into her grave. Sure, this is a little bit of an "action hero" Hamlet, but that is an important corrective to too many rather stodgy versions of the play which had dominated for awhile before this came out....more info
WHAT A PIECE OF WORK It was about twenty years ago that I turned on my television idly one evening to find that a showing of Hamlet had just started. I was instantly transfixed and not just because this is my favourite play of all plays, but because I was looking at my absolute idea of what a Prince Hamlet should look like. It was another two hours before I found who was in the title role, but throughout that two hours I watched the action and listened to the dialogue and monologues acted and spoken by as perfect a piece of casting as I think I have ever yet seen.
Let me say that I have seen Olivier's Hamlet and I have seen Branagh's Hamlet and that I hugely enjoyed them both. I am not greatly concerned in this notice to weigh up niceties of interpretation and direction, because there are enough subtleties and possibilities in this great play to allow full scope for the individual style of every great actor for another thousand years. The literary criticism trade, profession or industry, though it has not yet talked Hamlet to death, has been trying hard to do that, and I would not like to be, without intending it, the straw that broke that camel's back. What puts this production in a class of its own for me is simply that for me Gibson IS Hamlet whereas Olivier and Branagh are acting Hamlet, albeit superbly. The blond fringe and the smallish physique are right for a start, in my mind. Then there is the understated style, the diction quiet, the mood brooding and smouldering. That is my idea of how to do the great soliloquies, not declaiming them, and when the repressed tension is abruptly released as, say, when Hamlet runs his sword through the arras, the contrast is all the more effective and does not require histrionics. Does Olivier perhaps over-act a bit? To my way of thinking he nearly always does, and in Hamlet his final `then venom to thy weh-eh-eh-eh-eh-rk!' definitely goes over the top even if nothing else does.
The supporting cast have won high praise, and I shall join in that too. Perhaps no other play by Shakespeare, unless maybe Coriolanus, is quite so dominated by its lead role as is Hamlet. Nevertheless the best Hamlet in the world could be undone if Claudius or Gertrude or Polonius or Ophelia or Laertes were not up to scratch, whereas if he has the kind of `support' provided here a performance that is already superb seems better than ever. One feature of the production, attributable to both the acting and the directing, struck me forcibly this time in a way it had not struck me before, and it relates to the character of Claudius. Up until the play-within-the-play his sang-froid is remarkable considering the primal crime he has committed, and even though his guilty conscience comes to the surface in the chapel, he carries his burden lightly, to all appearances. The play-within drives him to further desperate stratagems, but what came across to me was just how cool and inventive he remained. He tries to have Hamlet executed in England, and when that fails he arranges for not one but two types of poison to ensure the outcome of Hamlet's duel. Most strikingly of all, when Gertrude drinks the poisoned goblet he still controls his reaction to avoid giving himself away. Iago impressed Goethe enough to serve as the prototype of Goethe's Mephistopheles, but Iago's actions were small beer compared with this, and his planning was nowhere near as clever. Iago has had more attention from the commentators because he shares more of the limelight, but at the end of Othello he runs away as if Shakespeare did not even think him worth killing. Claudius may have deserved everything that Hamlet called him, but his defects did not include lack of quick thinking or want of nerve.
The production, but for the fact that this is a slightly abridged Hamlet, suits me admirably. The camera work and lighting are superb, and there are some excellent little vignettes, such as the terror of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern being brought to their executioner. In keeping with Gibson's reading of the title role, the `effects' are less highlighted here than from Branagh, and much less than from Olivier. The ghost is not melodramatic, and significantly the background music is kept within bounds of tolerance. It is a sad pity that William Walton, whose music accompanies the Olivier production, had on the one hand exceptional talent for such music but lacked the experience to know when he was overdoing things. I did not manage to spot what castle was used. It may have been in Scotland, and certainly the scene at the graveside could almost have been from Braveheart. As some will know, the real castle of the real Amled does not beetle o'er any crags, and the Bard's Elsinore is much more imposing than real-life Helsingor, but the Bard's is the concept that we need, and it is what we are offered.
Right at the start we are told that what we are about to see is `based on the play by William Shakespeare'. There are no major liberties, and what we are given is a bit of an abridgement. Hamlet is not a tightly-plotted drama, and I am not unduly upset by what Zeffirelli has done. The opening scene with the night-watchmen is skipped, and at the end Fortinbras is dispensed with. Neither of these acts of pruning bothered me, although I regretted the loss of occasional bits of dialogue from this most quotation-replete of plays. Of all plays that I have ever seen or read it remains my favourite, indeed this production reinforces its primacy. I can't say, as Mr Clive James has said, that it is the best play in the world because I don't know all the plays in the world, but surely it must be a candidate for that honour....more info
Once and Future Hamlet Brilliant is an often overworked phrase, but in the case of *Hamlet* starring Mel Gibson, the word cannot be used enough. For brevity's sake, I will save Zeffirelli's cudos for another time and place except to say that he has done a good thing. This review is for Chris Devore and his beautiful working and dramturgy of the more than difficult Shakespeare script. Devore somehow makes it better. Were he in London, late 1500's, he would have been a collaborator, making Will's work the pearl it is today. My only plea is that, at some date, we will get to see Gibson give the advice to the players which was omitted so that other pieces could be spared.
This may have been Glenn Close's best work. This is not a complaint, but rather a sign that anyting else she may have or has done cannot be any better than this wonderful, small role. Ophelia (Close) has an important commentary that must be heard in order for the play to work - Will was no fool - and it needs a Close to do it.
Alan Bates has been a staple of English theatre and screen and has delivered many fine parts (such as Gabriel Oaks in *Far From the Madding Crowd*, 1967). As Claudius, the regicide and brother of Hamlet, Senior, Bates makes you believe that his reign could have been noble except for that one small cancer, that flaw in his character - very clintonian and very believable.
I have wanted to kick Ian Holm's ever since Ash hurt Ripley in *Alien*, 1979. I have to keep reminding myself that he really is that believable and that I really don't hate him, It's the character he has created so well. His body of work is repleat with characters of such believability that you forget his name - IAN HOLM - until he does it again, the next time, in the next movie. If films were strictly Hasidic, Holm's version of Polonius would be Kosher. There is not one piece of ham in his entire performance. It is worth the purchase of the DVD just to see him act.
Everyone is good in the movie and there is not time to talk about all of them. But a note to those whose noses are airbourne and won't tolerate anyone but Olivier as Hamlet. There are several uneven performances in his excellent movie. There are no uneven performances in this piece.
Finally, we come to the mad prince of Denmark. It is most astonishing that I watched this epic again after Mel's dark night of the troll, thrashing about in complete insanity, arguably brought on by hard likker, frustration, and stupidity. Yet with all said, Gibson IS the essential Hamlet. You will find no other actor who delivers the goods the way the Cruiser from the Boozer does.
You know this is true, not just by watching the exquisite performance on the DVD, but by Gibson's own marvelling at what was accomplished, not because of some actor's raison d'etre, but rather by the actor's very ability to understand that he is dealing with things that go beyond the ken of normal humans. IS Hamlet crazy, or crazy like a fox? And when is he crazy we get to hear Mel say in the devastating interview he made for the DVD release many years gone by.
So, enough from me.
If you want to see the best Hamlet ever, buy this DVD and feast.
Outstanding if you like Shakespeare This is one of my favorites next to Much Ado About Nothing. Mel does an excellent job. I have watched it twice already. ...more info
This is the best movie version of Hamlet. Mel Gibson is a bit too old to play the young Hamlet, but he is very believable. He has awesome facial expressions when he realizes Ophelia is dead. Glenn Close also plays a wonderful Gertrude. When she is dying from the poisoned wine, she, too, has awesome facial expressions. Great movie!...more info
Hamlet Mel Gibson as Hamlet? I wouldn't have believed it till I saw the movie! But what I really liked about the movie was Glenn Close! ...more info
New standard for Hamlet Shakespeare's Hamlet has been done and redone many times over. Probably because the play has so many universal themes it is the most popular of his plays. When I first saw Sir Lawrence Olivier's adaptation I thought there could be no equal. Mr. Gibson has challenged that thought with a moving and passionate portrayal. Mr. Gibson has created nothing short of a new standard for this old favorite. Ms. Close as the doting but fickle mother sets an equal standard for her part. The other roles are filled perfectly as well and the visuals take you back to that time and place to witness the events first hand. This is the one version of Hamlet you must have....more info
The classic story returns for the next generation Though Shakespeare has been studied by scholars for centuries and it theater audience have been limited to the highly educated, only in this last decade have I recently enjoyed the works of Shakespeare through the movie screen. Its language and historical value have eluded me for decades. Only since the release of Taming of the Shrewd on VHS have I ventured to view and thoroughly enjoy not only the Shakespearean words, but a lively tale which showcases how life has not changed since the 16th century. Hamlet, with Mel Gibson, is another such movie that has brought Shakespeare alive and understandable. It is entertaining & easy to follow & not too lengthy that one would lose interest. Glen Close also adds her genius acting to the mix and you can escape into a world that may or may not have existed. It was a pleasant two hours of entertainment which is a rarity in Hollywierd today....more info
Dreadful This film has many problems, bad cuts, miscasting, etc. - but I'll limit myself to Mel Gibson here. This is the most ridiculous Hamlet I've ever seen. Mel plays him with swaggering machismo (the only thing he is capable of) and it is wrong, wrong, wrong. Hamlet is a passive-aggressive type; he is indirect in everything he does. Laurence Olivier's is a good example as to how he should be played. Gibson's doesn't even make any sense.
And as far as the cuts, they're particularly bad here, but everyone does it. Olivier cuts quite a bit out of it himself. Brannagh's is the only film version I know of with no cuts at all and unfortunately I feel it is as wrong as this one....more info
A Tradegy Hamlet is a tradegy and probably derived its inspiration from David, Uriah, and Bethesema - debaucle. Like David, who killed Uriah to cover his sins; so did Claudius kill his beloved brother too take the Queen; the gruesome arrangment less than a three months from the extinquished life of the King. Shakespheare usually includes various and diverse human elements in his dramas and in Hamlet he includes : insanity, moral repulsiviness, and the supernatural. The Ghost of Hamlet's father returns and shockingly reveals that he was poison by his brother; Hamlet re-enacts the murdeous plot through a play before the queen and king; the Act causes the King to lament is dark secret before God; the Queen swears an oath to no more share intimacy with the king.
Tradegy strikes deep in the household with the murder of priest; the same priest who has put Ophelia at odds with Hamlet; Hamlet declares at Ophelia's grave that he loved her more than a hundred brothers could; Shakespeare invention of the insanity or Ophelia was truly magnificent and a scene worthy of any court jurisprudence. Ophelia is the "Macbeth" of strange visions, bizzare party dialogue, and outbursts of pain and rage.
Hamlet combines humour; Hamlet talks fondly to the dead skull of the court Jestor; Hamlet stammers around the court trying to pry a rock away to project upon the king in the court below; Hamlet jests with his opponent during the duel of rights not settled; Hamlet mocks the priest calling him a rat.
The Queen behaves like a youthful female in love; Hamlet tells her that she is not acting seemingly because at her age the temperature of passion should have cooled; the Queen robustly drinks the poison that was designed to kill Hamlet; Hamlet is nicked with the poison of a deadly serpent and dies like an inject mouse; Hamlet tells his friend Horatio that he is dead, a talking dead man. The ghost king told Hamlet not to punish the Queen but to let God exercise judgment and administer justice. Hamlet's has a complex towards his mouth kissing mother; Hamlet is in the pit of strange Greek love mythos.