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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To buy or not to buy
I would say ,it is a must buy for me . I am really pleased the BBC got together with the RSC and filmed this production ,that I saw in Stratford in the summer.I wish the RSC had done the same with the Tempest that toured britain with the RSC also last year.First of all I had "issues " with Hamlet in Stratford, I felt Tennant lacked passion , anger , and his antic...
Published on 2 Jan 2010 by John Parkes

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22 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neither Fish Nor Fowl
I was lucky enough to see this production in Stratford and so was very excited when it was announced that they would film the production for DVD/Television. However, what you will see on the DVD is not entirely as it was originally staged. There were some very inventive things in the stage version (the use of the mirrors being one) that don't make it to the final...
Published on 1 Jan 2010 by Joan Dark


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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To buy or not to buy, 2 Jan 2010
By 
John Parkes "mozzie" (wigan) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I would say ,it is a must buy for me . I am really pleased the BBC got together with the RSC and filmed this production ,that I saw in Stratford in the summer.I wish the RSC had done the same with the Tempest that toured britain with the RSC also last year.First of all I had "issues " with Hamlet in Stratford, I felt Tennant lacked passion , anger , and his antic disposition pretend madness, to me was un- convincing.He seemed flat in his delivery of important lines. This malaise also seemed to be present in Gertrude who at one point proclaimed "O Hamlet thou has cleft my heart in twain " as if O its raining again outside.However , I sat down on boxing day to watch it on the BBC and was moved to tears.I thought it was great.Tennant in speaking the to be or not to be speech with close camera work , nailed the whole peice.This dvd will deliver those moments when such a familier play will offer another set of insights into the interpretation of key moments in the play.I have everything on DVD concerning Hamlet , this production ranks one of the best.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something new, 18 Jan 2010
By 
The Dude (Liverpool, Merseyside) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This particular production WILL become the definitive Hamlet for a generation. People will say this is purely for Tennant and Stewart. For the most part they will be right, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. Undoubtedly the pair have avid followers from their many years in science fiction, and here they feed off their previous roles. Rather than detract from their performances, I say that experience enriches it. Here both play similar characters to what they've become famous for (though clearly with a twist - especially in the case of Stewart, who plays the villain with elegance) they appear completely at ease as Hamlet and Claudius, when it seems other members of the cast are not so comfortable. Until Ophelia went mad I kept wondering 'what on earth does THIS Hamlet see in her?', and Laertes had no strength of character, no real sense of threat - even when he pulled a gun on Claudius. As for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern...anyone who has scene Tim Roth and Gary Oldman in the roles will probably consider this pair a minor let down.

However, Hamlet, Gertrude, and Claudius demanded my full attention every second they remained on screen. The time spent watching them was a pleasure that moved me both to fright and laughter - some times in the same scene. By the last I was reduced to tears, as it fitting for the finale of a tragedy (though I admit I'm not usually one to reach for the tissue box).

There has never been another RSC production where I've felt so jealous of all those who saw it on stage. You lucky, lucky swine.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A NEW Great Hamlet!, 13 Feb 2010
By 
L. Parker "Ukin' for the UK" (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I saw this as a fan of David Tennant and a lover of all things Shakespeare, and I loved every minute! In addition to David Tennant bringing an exciting new reading of the title character -- adding humor where I'd never seen it and new interpretations of lines which have become practically stale with repitition, I loved Oliver Ford Davies' Polonius. It was an entirely different Polonius, and it was like all of the sudden he made sense, which was surprising and refreshing! And it was very well shot on location, so didn't feel at all like a filmed stage production. If you like Hamlet or David Tennant or both, see this!!
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words cannot describe how good this is, 27 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Gripping, tragic, a bit funny and utterly absorbing. The best Shakespeare production I have ever seen.

It goes without saying that David Tennant's Hamlet is outstanding. The rest of the cast are just as good, especially Mariah Gale as Ophelia, her madness is superb.

The production team also deserve honours. The set is beautiful, costume perfect and props ingenious. It has been translated well from the stage, remaining very much a play but at the same time incorporating some clever cinematic devices that keep the eye interested.

All in all superb. 183 minutes will feel like 20.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent Hamlet., 21 Feb 2012
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
In a lifetime of watching Shakespeare I have seen more Hamlets than any other play, ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime but I struggle to recall a better performance than David Tennants. I knew the production had received critical acclaim but this is in guarantee of excellence, nor did I Have high hopes for tennant's performance. He is superb. He delivers the lines with clarity both of diction and of meaning making this a truly accessible interpretation - an important factor when you consider that for many David Tennant fans this would be a first experience of Shakespeare. You cannot of course put on a great Hamlet if the rear of the cast don't turn up. In this he is ably supported with particularly fine Gertrude and Polonius. If you love Shakespeare you will enjoy this. If you have never tried him, this could be the one for you.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am very glad I bought it, 12 Nov 2010
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
David Tennant is easily the most fantastic Hamlet I have ever seen. He plays the part beautifully, just the right amout of passion and emotion. He gives a brand new indepth insight to the world of Hamlet. The entire cast was expertly chosen and there is not one member that does not fit in. Patrick Stewart executes King Claudius' character wonderfully. The character of Polonius was cast perfectly and I would not like to see any other person in this role. Ophelias madness scene is moving and portrays a broken mind in a brand new way. I showed this version in my english class and not one pupil disliked it, in fact they were even willing to stay behind after school to watch bits again. I would recommend this to anybody, even people who are new to Shakespeare.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding work from the RSC, 16 Dec 2009
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Privileged to see a preview screening of the film this week. Gregory Doran's direction, the staging, lighting, RSC costumes & the breathtaking acting from all involved collaborate to make this an outstanding peice of work. Effectively transfered from stage to screen, while keeping true to the minimalist but evocative sets, this is likely to become one of the definitive Hamlets of David Tennant's generation and loved for years.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best introduction to shakespeare, 10 Jan 2010
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Having never read or studied shakespeare at school or ever (i am 37 now!) but being a huge fan of David Tennent and Patrick stewart, i was a little worried that i would not be able to follow or understand this film/play. At first the language was tricky but after a while when you get into the rythm and flow of the language, the plot is easy to follow and edge of the seat veiwing. The acting from all the cast is magnificant, rich, passionate humourous (in the right places!) and inspiring. After 37 years managing to avoid shakespear, fearing it to be beyond my abilities but, now i have ordered some childrens guides to shakespear and will look for recommended dvds...may even go to the globe!!!
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far from Shake-y..., 31 Oct 2009
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I saw this production live in Stratford, and as a second best to being a hair's breadth from the incredible Messrs Tennant and Stewart, you won't go far wrong purchasing this DVD. The beauty of a well-performed Shakespeare is enabling modern audiences to access the meaning behind the iambic pentameter, and this certainly accomplished that aim. What struck me most was how much humour there was. I've seen other productions of this marvellous play, but they've focused on the tragic aspects to the exclusion of all else. This has a detrimental effect on the play as Shakespeare possessed great wit, and playing up the comical elements of the script serves to heighten the poignancy of the rest. The RSC, of course, lived up to their reputation and my expectations- Every second of this play was masterfully done. Tennant's energy was almost overwhelming- there were moments when he slipped briefly into 'Doctor' mode- but overall his performance was electrifying; varied, subtle and zany by turns. Even better, every cast member was equally as talented as the play's 'stars,' giving it a real ensemble feel. A quality production. Well worth seeing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'To be or not to be, that is the question!' - HAMLET, ACT THREE, SCENE I, 6 Feb 2014
This review is from: Hamlet [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This spectacular production of `Hamlet', the well-known play by Mr William Shakespeare himself, was a joy to watch and fun to enjoy. I've been meaning to watch this film production by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) for some time. It heralds a cast led by two of my favourite actors that have the greatest talent and are worthy to perform a Shakespeare play in a modern setting. David Tennant and Patrick Stewart are fantastic in this, and despite my lack of knowledge about the play itself it was enjoyable all the same.

You will be surprised to find this is not your traditional costume drama Shakespeare play as it's not set in the 1500s but brought to a modern setting with characters wearing modern clothes and with a modern direction.

I bought this film in Stratford-upon-Avon only recently in January this year, which is a lovely place and I enjoy going there for weekend breaks with my family. I enjoy going around the shops and restaurants, but haven't yet seen a place in the RSC house where plays are being performed. But I enjoy going into the bookshop and that was where I bought this DVD from which was great for me to do.

Now I'm not so familiar with all the works of Mr Shakespeare, I'm afraid. I certainly did study a number of Shakespeare plays during my English lessons at school and at sixth-form college. These plays included the likes of `Macbeth', `Romeo and Juliet' and `King Lear'. All of them tragedies I might add. I had seen various versions of these plays on film whether it'd be cinematic or televisual. I'd seen bits of the `Romeo and Juliet' film with Leonardo DiCaprio and seen a theatre-styled TV film of `King Lear' with Sir Ian Holm.

`Hamlet' is a play I'd heard of but never actually read. I know about the `To be or not to be' speech from that play, but even during English I never encountered the text. Until now that is, when I decided to buy the text as well as the DVD for this lavish production of `Hamlet' staring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart. I went through the text watching the film to follow what was being said by each of the actors playing the characters.

I watched this film in parts since it's three hours long so I decided to watch each of the five Acts over five days to savour my enjoyment of this play. It was an interesting and invigorating experience. I don't fully grasp the story entirely since Shakespeare's dialogue and writing's pretty archaic for its time, but I have got more or less the gist of what's going on.

The story of Hamlet is as follows. It's about `revenge'. A character who seeks revenge over the death of his father killed by his uncle who's now king. Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark and is so wrecked with remorse over the death of his father that no sooner he sees the ghost of his father who tells him how he came to die by his uncle's hand - Claudius. Hamlet seeks revenge over Claudius. In doing so it drives him mad and costs him the loss of his family and friends who either get killed or become fearful of him because of its rage and madness. It's a tragic story and wonderfully played out by a good group of actors pulling off a great Shakespearean performance.

This film of `Hamlet' has a history. Originally it was a stage production in London, 2008 by the RSC with David Tennant performing and leading the cast. The play was performed 60 times until quite suddenly David Tennant suffered a back injury and had to undergo surgery in order to recover. This meant delays for him to return to play the part of `Hamlet' in the theatre. However, once David had recovered from his back problem, the RSC in collaboration with the BBC recreated the Shakespeare play for TV with the original cast from the stage production which was a joy. The film was shown in 2009 over Boxing Day, not long after the first episode of David Tennant's final story in `Doctor Who'.

David Tennant playing Prince Hamlet is tremendous in this! I know David very well for his portrayal as the 10th Doctor in `Doctor Who' and is one of my favourites. It's so nice to see him in something else other than `Doctor Who' and to experience him in a Shakespeare play. He's really grasped the role of Hamlet with the dialogue from the text and inputting mannerisms into it to make it more believable. He puts across the darker qualities of the part when being torn with revenge and hatred. But he also portrays a humorous side to the part, which really helps to emphasise Hamlet's madness which is very funny to watch and makes me laugh. David pulls of a brilliant performance as Hamlet that's funny and scary both at the same time.

Patrick Stewart is also great in this, playing Hamlet's uncle King Claudius. Patrick I know very well for playing Captain Picard in `Star Trek: The Next Generation' and is a pretty well-known theatre actor for Shakespeare before and after `Star Trek'. I've wanted to see Patrick in a Shakespeare play for a long time, and to see him in one with David Tennant is an absolute joy and blessing. His performance enthuses with richness and believability and he has such a rich and powerful voice to play Shakespearean plays. He enjoyed playing Claudius in this one and seeing opposite David Tennant in this is great. Patrick also plays the ghost of Hamlet's father as well as his uncle in this.

The rest of the cast are great too. There's Penny Downie playing Gertrude, Hamlet's mother; Mariah Gale playing Ophelia, a potential flame for Hamlet (I found her performance when Ophelia goes mad very scary and terrifying); Peter de Jersey playing Horatio, Hamlet's best friend, Edward Bennett playing Laertes, Ophelia's brother and rival to Hamlet and Oliver Ford Davies playing Polonius, Ophelia's father (who I've seen in a BBC production of `David Copperfield' with Daniel Radcliffe). There's also John Woodvine in this playing the Player King (who I've seen in a BBC production of `Persuasion' with Amanda Root and also in `Doctor Who').

I enjoyed the soliloquies performed by the actors playing the parts in this play. David Tennant's `To be or not to be' speech was so inspirational and truly in character as he's deciding whether to live or to die with such believability'. I enjoyed Patrick Stewart's soliloquy by himself when he's torn from the foul act he made on Hamlet's father, and that moment when David Tennant comes up behind him and about to kill his uncle for revenge and deciding not to in the end was really tense. Since this play was written for the theatre, the characters sometimes focus on the camera interacting with the TV audience such as David Tennant or Oliver Ford Davies when they're doing asides or soliloquies.

The setting for the filming of the play was certainly inspirational as most of it is all set around a college in England. It's makes it all so believable and familiar in a modern setting.

The special features on this DVD include a `behind-the-scenes' documentary focusing on the making of `Hamlet' with interviews from David Tennant, Patrick Stewart, etc. There's also an advert called `Think Theatre' that promotes job opportunities for those who want to work for the RSC. There's also an audio commentary on this DVD with Gregory Doran (the director), Sebastian Grant (the producer) and Chris Seager (the cinematographer).

`Hamlet' was great to watch with such brilliant direction and acting. David Tennant's funny and thrilling to watch as Hamlet and Patrick Stewart gives off a bold performance. This is one for you if you're a fan of David Tennant and want to see him in something other than `Doctor Who' and see him being tremendous playing a Shakespearean part.
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Hamlet [DVD] [2009]
Hamlet [DVD] [2009] by Gregory Doran (DVD - 2010)
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