Customer Reviews


56 Reviews
5 star:
 (37)
4 star:
 (13)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gibson's a great Dane !
This is a Hamlet that is easy on the eyes and the mind...if you don't have the time and stamina for Branagh's 4 hour version, and would like one a little more updated than Olivier's exquisite '48 film, this is the one for you !
It's by far my favourite Hamlet on film.
Mel Gibson is excellent as Hamlet. He gives him humour and masculine vigor, and the top-notch...
Published on 22 Oct. 2002 by Alejandra Vernon

versus
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, slick, but...
First of all, what there is of this version of Hamlet is first class. Mel Gibson proves a warm, likeable, and surpisingly convincing lead. Helena Bonham Carter and Ian Holm live up to their billing is two of the leading actors of their respective generations. The settings are atmospheric and superb and Old Hamlet stares with eyes of infinite sadness. Best of all is the...
Published on 2 Feb. 2006 by yorrick


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gibson's a great Dane !, 22 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Hamlet [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is a Hamlet that is easy on the eyes and the mind...if you don't have the time and stamina for Branagh's 4 hour version, and would like one a little more updated than Olivier's exquisite '48 film, this is the one for you !
It's by far my favourite Hamlet on film.
Mel Gibson is excellent as Hamlet. He gives him humour and masculine vigor, and the top-notch supporting cast is superb. I especially like Alan Bates...his lusty, murderous king is fabulous...and mention should be made of Nathaniel Parker's wonderful Laertes.
David Watkin's cinematography is stunning, Ennio Morricone's score subtle and beautiful, and the production is one of Zeffirelli's best.
This is very enjoyable Shakespeare, even for those who don't normally like him...and I highly recommend this film to parents who would like to introduce their teenagers to the Bard.
Don't miss this glorious film !!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A PIECE OF WORK, 31 Jan. 2009
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suprisingly good., 16 Feb. 2006
By 
Bruno - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
With casting Mel Gibson as lead, this film was always going to attract a type of movie goer that would probably not normally see a Shakespeare production. Hence it's no suprise that we don't have 100% theatrical authenticity here, it is perhaps (or was at the time) a suprise to see just how good Gibson's performance is. Intense and broody, it manages to convey the confusion of a mind being torn apart by fate in a way that is more convincing and watchable than Branagh's. The whole film is entertaining while still managing to bring something new to the much feasted upon Shakespearean table, just what every film adaptation of the bard's works should try to do.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible, exciting Shakespeare, 5 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
This abbreviated version of Shakespeare's classic is more dense and thus more exciting and involving.
This movie woke my love of Shakespeare, watching from a young age. Mel Gibson is brilliant, and the supporting cast are of the highest calibre also.
Recommended as a gift for all A-level Eng Lit students.
You will be excited and emotionally connected to this timeless play.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet, 1990 Franco Zephirelli, 2009 Optimum Home Entertainment release - Accessible Hamlet, 17 Jan. 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
Hamlet is undeniably one of the Bard's greatest plays. The full and uncut play runs to around four hours, and to the average viewer can drag a little bit. Franco Zephirelli has made an excellent job of trimming a lot of extraneous stuff from the text, so as to leave the main story in all its glory and which still lets the majesty of Shakespeare's language shine through but keeps the runtime down to a more viewer friendly two and a bit hours.

The cast in this adaptation are interesting and captivating. On paper Mel Gibson makes an unlikely Hamlet, but his twitchy, nervy performance manages to convince you of the Prince's tenuous rasp on reality and paranoias. His delivery of the lines as well as his physical acting is well nuanced and, for me, makes for an excellent portrayal. Also of note is Ian Holm as a superb Polonious, Alan Bates as Claudius and Glenn Close as Hamlets Mother.

As well as an excellent cast and director, there is a score from Ennio Morricone, the godfather of film scores. It is a standout piece, evoking the period and place in which the film is set, and underscoring the Bards words so as to heighten their impact.

In all this is a highly intelligible and accessible version of the Bard's greatest play, and highly recommended to all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet at its best, 4 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
If you enjoy a gripping tale of deceit, incest, spectres and multiple murders this film is a must-see. Intriguing sub-plots and mind-games mix with clever use of dialogue.

Although I'm not a particular Mel Gibson fan, his performance as Hamlet is entirely captivating. He draws you into his thought processes, he makes you feel his pain, his anger, his deep loss of his loved ones. Moreover, this Hamlet shows us that he is both highly intelligent and deeply sensitive.

The other equally exceptional player, cast amongst an outstanding Hollywood 'A' list, is the late but very great Sir Alan Bates. He is cast as Hamlet's uncle, and ultimately his murderous step-father-uncle. From the smallest flick of an eyelid to the delivery of powerful diaglogue and ultimately more murders, Bates' performance is electric and equals Gibson's for being unmissable.

Even if you think Shakespeare isn't for you... don't miss this gem of a film. I watched it with my husband who as an 'I don't understand Shakespeare' person enjoyed it so much he's told several of his friends to watch it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, slick, but..., 2 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
First of all, what there is of this version of Hamlet is first class. Mel Gibson proves a warm, likeable, and surpisingly convincing lead. Helena Bonham Carter and Ian Holm live up to their billing is two of the leading actors of their respective generations. The settings are atmospheric and superb and Old Hamlet stares with eyes of infinite sadness. Best of all is the scene between Hamlet and Gertrude, as Hamlet throttles her with a pendant of the king. There are subtle undertones in this scene, directed with Zefirelli's customary flair. It is well worth seeing: in every respect it is a fascinating production. Except: this is so heavily edited that it loses so much of Shakespeare's nuances of language. Shakespeare is so much more than just plot - most of those were not his own, and Hamlet is no exception to that. If all Hamlet were was a story about a man who eventually avenged his father, it would be unremarkable. To cut so much is to give the play a rushed and sketchy appearance, as if the director is trying to provide excuses for Shakespeare's language, rather than revelling in it and presenting it as it is, almost unparalled as a dramatic artform at that particular point in history. This, I think, is a shame. Branagh's version is embarassingly bad at times, and nobody has ever fully explained to me why he chose to put it in some hinterland between its Medieval setting and a modern equivalence. However, one thing that Branagh is not afraid of: the words. All of them are there. A shame that they weren't in this version.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly brilliant!, 7 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
It may not stick completely to the original play but it really couldn't be a better translation into film. I am a big fan of Shakespeare, I studied this play inside out and despite not being entirely accurate, it includes everything needed to portray the depth of character, drama and despair everyone loves about this play. Mel Gibson is perfect as Hamlet, watch and enjoy :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Try this movie as a good intro. to Shakespeare's Tragedies., 9 Jan. 2006
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
Firstly - a review of themis_athena's review - five stars: well written, well done. (Sorry I couldn't write that in Will's style, but it's late and I'm tired...)
Secondly, a review of this version of Hamlet. It was probably this film that helped me to understand the play a little better. The lines are well delivered with understandable expression rather than just 'rattled off' - perhaps giving the unexperienced viewer a chance to appreciate what is being said rather than their tired brain eventually glossing over it all as just words (words...words...). I've previously studied other Shakespeare plays, but I remember (when the film was released in the cinemas) a couple of work colleages - who I think initially went to the cinema to 'look at Mel' if truth be known - remarked how they were pleasantly surprised to have actually enjoyed the play in it's own right because they understood it, having always thought Shakespeare was 'difficult'. (Apologies for that extreeeeemely long sentence). Having said that, it's not 'Shakespeare for Idiots', and it's just a pity so much was cut out (and I seem to think Mel Gibson would agree). The only downside is that I think Helena Bonhan-Carter's Ophelia is lacking something - she seems to be 'off her trolley' right from the start, but maybe my interpretation is just different to Zeffirelli's. Indeed, I think the perfect Hamlet film would be to take Kate Winslet's Ophelia out of the Kenneth Branagh one and put her into this movie, and put missing scenes back in. I think there's probably a lot of 'Shakespeare-ites' who frown on the fact that this movie stars a Hollywood celebrity, but Mel Gibson is a brilliant actor - as is proved here - and gives more to this movie than just someone for us ladies to enjoy looking at (that's an added bonus!!!!).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's greatest play and an amazing film, 16 April 2007
By 
Philip Murray (Consett, County Durham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] (DVD)
Purists of English literature would perhaps discredit this masterpiece of a film for its manipulation, and somewhat removal, of some scenes from Shakespeare's great revenge tragedy. However, the amazing acting from this all-star cast and the excellecent setting and realism of the film more than compensates. Highlights include the scenes demonstrating Ophelia's madness, a fantastically Freudian interpretation of the famous III.iv scene between Hamlet and Gertrude, and the breath-taking final scene. Credit must also be given for their ability to caputre the realism of Hamlet's many soliloquies and the Ghost as an Elizabethan audience would have seen it.The greatest interpretation of Shakespeare on this silver screen? My only criticism is the lack of any extra features on the DVD, hence only 4/5 stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Hamlet [DVD]
Hamlet [DVD] by Franco Zeffirelli (DVD - 2005)
Used & New from: £0.30
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews