5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Version
Even though this version portrays Hamlet as being in love with his mother, I still love it. I could do without the mother-son make out session, though.
Published 4 months ago by Bobbi
2.0 out of 5 stars Gibson Great... Zeffirelli Not so Much
Gibson brings a wonderful dynamic to the role... but the rest of the film's direction by Zeffirelli is a travesty. The Freudian Oedipus complex? ... oh, please... done to death. The complete removal of the opening scene of the play (the ghost appears to the guards)? Well, that just about stops any forward momentum the play is meant to have at its start. And the almost...
Published on Oct 8 2002 by bill20694
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brings the play to life,
This review is from: Hamlet (DVD)After teaching Hamlet to college students who had considerable difficulty understanding and appreciating Shakespeare's language, I showed this version of the play when it first came out on VHS, and the students loved it. The manner in which the actors, including Gibson, deliver their lines makes it very clear what each soliloquy and scene is about. I've used this version in several classes since then with students who could only be described as extremely unwilling to read Shakespeare, but they watched it, understood it, and enjoyed it. Afterwards, they had a greater appreciation of what they had read, and it truly did bring the play to life...for them and for me. For a popular audience, this version is a winner.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Version,
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This review is from: Hamlet (DVD)Even though this version portrays Hamlet as being in love with his mother, I still love it. I could do without the mother-son make out session, though.
4.0 out of 5 stars "Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.",
This review is from: Hamlet (DVD)4.5 stars. First off, the look of this version is superb. The costumes are excellent and the set design is oftentimes awesome. There are also location shots that have stunning scenery with gorgeous landscapes. This is a tightened version of the famous play, clocking in at a mere 2hr.15min., but it still holds the heart of the play intact. This is "Hamlet" for the masses, lean and hungry, and without the bloated length of the entire play. As for the acting, there are some notable performances and there are some question marks. Mel Gibson portrays the title character. This was a great surprise back in 1990 to see an Action Film hero challenge himself as an actor. His performance may not be altogether perfect, but it is heartfelt, energetic, and loaded with enthusiasm. Alan Bates plays the King, and while he has no standout scenes, his performance is solid overall: subtle and villainous. Paul Scofield plays the ghost of Hamlet's father, and while he looks a little too lifelike to be considered an "apparition," his scenes are portrayed admirably. Glenn Close is Gertrude, the Queen of Denmark. She has two incredible scenes and holds her own throughout. One of her best and chilling scenes is when she realizes she has been poisoned and looks wide-eyed toward the King with disbelief and horror. What a moment! While many citics wrote that she was too young to be the mother of Hamlet, this minor note is easy to forget once the play is under way. The single greatest performance here belongs to Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia. This is quite possibly the perfect portrayal of the character ever brought to the screen. I won't point out scenes here because her entire performance is outstanding. One of my question marks in the film has to do with the character of Laertes played by Nathaniel Parker. He just doesn't make me believe at any point that he is out for vengeance for either his father's murder or the madness and eventual demise of his sister Ophelia. He instead comes across more like a grinning villain than a son on the edge of exploding with rage. This disappointment comes late in the film, and while it is a key element to the strength of the plot, it doesn't ruin the movie; the movie ends before the plot has a chance to unravel. Another questionable scene is at Ophelia's funeral where the Queen(Glenn Close) is the only one weeping? I was wondering after the scene if anyone really missed Ophelia. Both Hamlet(Mel Gibson) and Laertes(Nathaniel Parker) say as much, but their lack of visceral emotion left me unconvinced. The last criticism is that the final sword fight between Laertes and Hamlet "looks" choreographed: turn, steel-on-steel, duck, turn, repeat, etc. I just waited for the inevitable to happen after all their sword-play was overwith. All these criticsms aside, this is still a worthy rendition of the heralded tragedy. There are many fine moments to be seen and heard here, not the least of which is Mel Gibson pushing himself to become a great actor as well as an international movie-star. All in all, this film is recommended viewing for any who enjoy Shakespear's beloved play.
1.0 out of 5 stars Not this time Mel!,
2.0 out of 5 stars Gibson Great... Zeffirelli Not so Much,
Stick to the Branagh version instead!
2.0 out of 5 stars Ouch, Movie would've been good if not named "Hamlet",
2.0 out of 5 stars A Vanity Production,
The virtues of the film are many, with fine performances turned in by Helena Bonham Carter as Ophelia, Paul Scofield as the Ghost, and an especially memorable one by Glenn Close as an unusually dense Gertrude. Zefferelli also serves himself well by providing a brilliant and concisely edited screenplay; paring down the length and complications of the text for the masses, while retaining all the key characters and points of the story with the precision of a surgeon.
But the name of the play is "Hamlet," and this production is bogged down by Mel Gibson's lack of imagination or sustained sensitivity in the role. Gibson does not embarrass himself in the manner of Keanu Reeves or Michael Keaton in Kenneth Branaugh's "Much Ado About Nothing"; indeed in some scenes such as Hamlet's aborted attempt to return to Wittenberg or in his surprisingly touching reading of the "Alas, Poor Yorick" speech he is very effective. But this is the first film Hamlet not played by an actor who had already distinguished himself in the role on stage. If Gibson had been serious about wanting to invest himself in the part, he would have challenged himself in a theater production where his movie star clout might have been more easily cast aside. But by throwing himself into a big budget film of the play without any real idea of how to play the role is simply an act of arrogance, and by the time Gibson is seen in the Act V duel grotesquely whooping and stomping like in one of the "Lethal Weapon" movies, the film has degenerated into a tiresome Vanity Production.
Zefferelli obviously wanted Gibson because his presence in the role meant that he could raise the money to satisfy his affinity for lavishly ornate sets and costumes. But while this sumptuous rendering served his films of "Romeo and Juliet" and the memorable Burton/Taylor "Taming of the Shrew" well, "Hamlet" is another matter. The most effective films of "Hamlet" had simple settings, such as the stark and cold stone Elsinore of Olivier's film or the generic castle set of the magnificent BBC Television production starring Derek Jacobi and Patrick Stewart; unpretentious surroundings that makes the viewer focus on the very human drama that is unfolding in front of them. By overdressing his production, Zefferelli tries to draw attention away from his less than compelling leading man. But, like Cyrano de Bergerac, Hamlet wears his adornments on his soul; and in this production the soul is sadly lacking.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best film version i've seen (and i've seen them all!),
This review is from: Hamlet (DVD)through my endeavors i've had to read Hamlet 7 times (twice my senior year of high-school). much as i don't like Shakespeare this play is part of my life.
The Olivier version is more accurate to the stage version but the camera techiniques are over-blown and hokey (circling the swords before the duel to see which one is tipped, it made me dizzy). the Branagh version, while creative in it's set up (modernizing it to imerial Russia), and using the entire text, complete with Prince Fortinbras of Norway, is SO long and SO over-acted (especially on the part of Branagh) that i needed a nap after i saw it. and i choose not even to dignify the Ethan Hawke version it was so terrible.
This one is my favorite, all the scenes which are cut aren't necessary for the forwarding of the plot in my humble opinion (the opening scene with the palace guards meeting the dead kingis cut yet horatio's explaination of this happening later in the movie is sufficient). Gibson chooses to play Hamlet as insane (that decision is left to the director) and as i am in the camp that Hamlet IS insane, you could also see why i favor this version. Glenn Close is EXCELLENT as Gertrude as is Helena Bonham-Carter as Ophelia.
solid performances with a great cast, what more does a 400 year old play need?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mel has captured Hamlet's soul,
This review is from: Hamlet (DVD)What a masterpiece. As much as I love Braveheart, I truly think this is Mel Gibson's finest work. It throws all over attempts into shadow, including the great Lawrence Olivier and certainly Kenneth Branaugh or Ethan Hawke. So often the female characters are reduced to cardboard mock-ups of feminine ideals of the Shakespearean age. Not here! Ofelia and Gertrude have souls and minds to probe, filled with as many dark secrets as Hamlet himself. I could never say enough about the caliber of this film. Suffice it to say that it is THE Hamlet of the ages and worth a look as well as a few dollars to own it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great BRIEF history of The Bard's greatest Play,
This review is from: Hamlet (DVD)There are two main versions that currently work the best in getting a feel for this play, Gibson's & Brannaugh's. Gibson's is very much stripped down to focusing on the three main character's. It does loose a lot by this device, but it does gain considerably in that the viewer doesn't have to shift through all the sub-plots. Brannaugh's, however is far more complete & I would consider it far more the best " study " version of the play. If you've read the play ( & this is the reason I give it 5 stars ), Gibson's version is great beause you can fill in the blanks quite easily & nothing is lost. The Ghost is by far better in Gibson's version ( remember, this is not a ghost in the modern sense, so it's important not to judge by appearences ), & the interplay between them in their first meeting is just amazing. However, the politics of the play suffers badly, in my opinion, becuase many of the characters in the sub-plots are missing, especially Polonius' machinations....however, he certainly DIES better in Gibson's version. I personally like this version & I am impressed with all the actors. If this had been the entire play, I think it would definitely have given Brannaugh's version a run for it's money, but being so stripped down, I feel the actuall story suffers greatly. As one reviewer put it, a CLIFT NOTES verion, with which I must agree.
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Hamlet by Mel Gibson (DVD - 2005)
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