Hamlet Movie Review–Shakespeare For Today
Just to kick things off today, I’d like you to engage in a little thought experiment.
Picture Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Doctor Who in the same movie.
Feel free to smoke ‘em if you got ‘em at this point as that was a geekgasm unlike most any you’ve had recently. And it’s exactly what I got my eyes on from the strangest source, sent to me from Warner Brothers.
I’ve been oblique long enough–what they sent me was, of all things, a copy of the BBC’s recent adaptation of Hamlet.
No, seriously! Hamlet! The BBC staged another adaptation of the classic Shakespeare, and they’ve managed to both bring it forward and keep it rooted in its past. In case you’re not already familiar with the plot here, basically, the king of Denmark has recently passed on, and left the throne empty. But in a move of surprising speed, the queen remarries the deceased king’s brother, thus allowing the throne to continue on. But the king’s son, Hamlet, thinks something deeper is going on here, and thus sets out to unmask the truth behind his father’s death. And what he finds will shake Denmark to its very foundations.
It’s a story of intrigue and horror , with shots of comedy all around, giving you the truest glance into why Shakespeare (or possibly Francis Bacon or even the Earl of Oxford depending on what particular conspiracy you believe) is to this very day one of the biggest names in drama EVER.
The dialogue is, if I remember my high school literature classes correctly (and cheers to Boeschenstein and Emmerich on the off chance they read these), mostly authentic, and slung into the mouths of modern era characters is something of a surprise. Though it should be noted that this is not the first time such was done–even I can remember the then-modern MTV-style remake of Romeo and Juliet from 1996 that featured the Longsword-brand shotgun.
Special note here–David Tennant’s playing of Hamlet as “madman” is a comic glee all its own.
Basically, folks, don’t let the weird Shakespeare-speak throw you off. And don’t let the three hour runtime scare you off either. You may not get a chunk of it, but rest assured, this is Shakespeare at its best. And thus, the Screenhead Ten Scale gets its culture on and hands up a full-on ten to the great classic, well done, and brought well into the modern age.