Friday, June 20, 2014

Hamlet (2009) Review

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Director: Gregory Doran
Rating: Parents Guide (IMDb)
Time: 180 min 
Stars: Patrick Stewart, David Tennant

I think I've mentioned on here before that I watch stuff while doing math. Well, I found this production of Hamlet on YouTube...and watched it twice while practicing meh algebra. I loved it.

Set in modern day and based word-for-word on Shakespeare’s work, the RSC's Hamlet (2009) tells the story of the young prince of Denmark, Hamlet, and of the happenings after the death of the king his father. Following the death of the king, Hamlet's mother speedily marries his father’s brother, Claudius, and Claudius is made king. Soon afterwards the castle guards report to Hamlet, telling him that they have seen his father’s ghost. So the movie begins. 

Patrick Stewart is just wonderful and plays a creepy, human, Claudius. David Tennant puts great spirit into his portrayal of Hamlet. I liked Horatio very much in this production. Here he feels like a sort of stable being in the background whom both Claudius and Hamlet count on; I liked him as Hamlet’s friend. His character never stood out to me before, but here it definitely did. 

Throughout the film the castle’s security cameras are used as the audience’s special view into the story; I thought it was a very neat idea, and well doneI didn't care for either Ophelia or Laertes in this version of Hamlet, but I didn't dislike them so much that it took anything away from the rest of the film. Overall, I enjoyed Hamlet very much. Somehow Tennant makes Hamlet's human aches and pains relatable. He makes you agonize with him, question, grieve. 

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"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?"

My rating: 3.4 stars out of 5


I'd love to hear your thoughts on Hamlet (2009) or which adaption of the play is your favorite. 

15 comments:

  1. I very much want to see this some time, but 3 1/2 ? Seriously?!?

    ;)

    xo

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    1. I'm sure you'd enjoy it. :) Well, as I mentioned in my review, I didn't care for either Ophelia or Laertes and though I didn't dislike them so much that it took anything away from the rest of the movie they are important characters. When you've seen it we can talk about it, and maybe I'll change my rating. :)

      xx

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  2. Cool! I just finished reading the play a couple days ago, so it would be neat to watch it! Great blog btw!

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    1. Oh neat! I hope you enjoy it if you watch it! :) I should finish reading the play...I started it a while ago. Hmm. Thanks Elestyn!

      xx

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  3. This is one of my favorite productions, overall. I'd put it in my top 5, probably. Patrick Stewart is amazing as Claudius, isn't he? Sly and sinister, and my favorite Claudius ever. And I loooooooooooove this Horatio -- he might be my favorite Horatio ever too! Certainly in my top 3. Tennant's Hamlet is quite good, has a nice balance of vulnerability and strength. Laertes is meh, Ophelia and Gertrude are okay, I'm definitely with you there.

    And YES! I love those security cameras. Brilliant. Also, I think it's this version where the floor in the main room where they do the first court scene looks like a chess board. Such a cool little touch, underscoring the idea that the characters are fate's pawns, etc.

    I'm so glad you dug it!

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    1. I'm so glad you like it too! Patrick Stewart sure is awesome and he does make a great Claudius. I really liked Horatio too. I've seen a couple other versions of Hamlet and never really noticed him. I'm still not sure how he's different in this one...the actor does portray him well. I'm glad we agree about the 'others.'

      The whole security camera thing really was an excellent idea. Just so neat, and such a simple concept. Yes! The floor was like a chess board! I hadn't noticed that - geez, so cool! Symbolism is so nifty. :)

      Thanks Hamlette! It was very enjoyable. I like Patrick Stewart. :)

      xx

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    2. There are times when I'm almost fonder of Horatio and/or Laertes than I am of Hamlet himself. They're both such wonderful foils for him, and both almost equally enigmatic as he is.

      Have you seen the Ethan Hawke version? It has the only Laertes that has ever matched my own ideas of the character -- Liev Schreiber plays him to perfection. Alas, it has a rotten Horatio, but the rest of the cast is wonderful. It's another one with a modern setting, NYC in that case.

      I've never seen Patrick Stewart turn in anything but a sterling performance. Amazing actor. (Small amount of bragging ahead.) I got to see him on stage years ago, in a production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" He was electrifying. That voice in person? I still get goosebumps remembering.

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    3. I haven't seen that version but it's cool that it's set in NYC. I liked the how the 2009 Hamlet was set in modern day so it's cool this one is too. It looks interesting. I think I'd like to see it at some point, though I probably won't for a while, it being R.

      He's just great. :) Oh man, seriously! That is so cool. I mean, really, that's just nice. :D Next time take me along with you, please. :) I can't imagine how cool that would be to hear his voice in person.

      xx

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    4. I totally forgot/didn't realize the 2000 version is rated R! It does get a bit violent, I guess -- Hamlet shoots Polonius instead of stabbing him, though the final duel is a duel with swords. Not sure it merits an R, though. The "Murder of Gonzago" scene is a little weird -- it's an art film Hamlet made instead of a play, but honestly, it's no weirder than a lot of the play versions I've seen. Maybe you can catch a Bowdlerized version on TV sometime.

      I was in college when I saw Patrick Stewart on stage -- he was at the Guthrie theater in Minneapolis for a limited engagement, IIRC. I almost didn't go, being a poor college student. Our college had gotten a bunch of seats at a discount price or something, but it was still more than I could afford. But then an acquaintance who had a ticket couldn't go at the last minute, so she sold me her ticket for $20, and at the lastest minute possible, I quick changed into theatre-worthy clothes and managed to catch the van that was taking people to the play. I can't believe I almost didn't go! Idiot -- I should have planned to go without shampoo for the rest of the year or something.

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    5. I'm so glad you did end up going! :) That must have been a great. Haha, yeah, it would be a noble cause to give up shampoo for. I still can't get over how cool that must have been! :)

      So clearly you like Hamlet...do you have a favorite adaption? Or do you like lots of different versions for different aspects?

      xx

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    6. Oh, the "favorite Hamlet production" question! Always a tough one for me. I love different aspects of different ones, you see. I really love the 1990 Mel Gibson and the 2000 Ethan Hawke -- they might tie for my favorites, as I have few things I dislike about either, and so much I love about both. But I think my favorite ever was the only one I've seen live.

      Back when we lived in CT, my husband and a co-worker had to travel to NYC for work, and I went along. Our son was just barely 2, I was 5 months along with our first daughter... it was an interesting trip! My husband's co-worker also loves theater (she actually acted during college, I believe), and so she and I managed to get tickets to go see Jude Law play Hamlet on Broadway. As I write that sentence, I still have trouble believing it really happened. But it did -- I have the Playbill framed and hanging on the wall. Just like seeing Patrick Stewart, I was in the right place at the right time, and what a blessing to be able to enjoy both those performances!

      (And before you start to think, "WOW! Hamlette has seen a LOT of stuff in the theater!" please know that the only other thing I've seen that starred anyone at all famous was Haley Mills in "The King and I" when I was in high school. And I've never seen anything else on Broadway, though I did go to quite a few plays when I was in college because I kept taking lit and theatre history courses that involved going to see productions in Minneapolis.)

      ALAS, they didn't film the Jude Law version, so there are only snippets available on YouTube. But it was quite good. Jude was wonderful, as is to be expected, and the guy who played Horatio was splendid. Laertes was unmemorable, Ophelia and Gertrude and Claudius were acceptable, Polonius was funny, I think. The staging was very cool, and Jude Law spent most of the time barefoot, which was yummy.

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  4. I've always wanted to see this! I really need to get around to it soon!
    xx
    Brooke Jordan // Pineapples & Daisies

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    1. It's very good. :) I hope you enjoy it when you see it!

      xx

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  5. Looks really good! Its just weird to see David Tennant as someone other then the Doctor. :)

    catscraftsncritters.blogspot.ca

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    1. It is good! Haha, I know what you mean! Once I started watching it though it wasn't a problem, thankfully. :)

      Thanks for commenting Amy!

      xx

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