33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Passionate, humourous, romantic...everything good drama was meant to be...,
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This review is from: Shakespeare Retold  [DVD] (DVD)
Before I begin may I just compliment Amazon for it's amazing service. Not only is this dvd fantastic value (being four movies for £4.98) Amazon also had it shipped to me here in Ireland within two days. So if you're one of those people who used to be like me and afraid of online shopping I urge you take the chance and start today. You won't be disappointed.
Well what can I say about these adaptations. Fantastic isn't the word. I, myself am a fan of Shakespeare but had never read any of the plays in this series but I am definitely putting it on my list of things to do following this exceptional series, which certainly proved that it is possible to take well-loved stories and make them relevant in the 21st century.
'Much Ado about nothing' is sharp, witty and funny. Setting it in a news studio was an excellent way of comtemporising the story. While viewers will undoubtedly enjoy the love/hate relationship between Benedict and Beatrice the story is at all times carefully balanced between comedy and the more serious elements in particular the secondary storyline involving up and coming star Billie Piper in the middle of a clausterphobic love-triange. The acting is top-notch, the humour clever and the romance credible. The only thing that annoyed me about this film (and this is the tiniest fault ever) was the omission of why Benedict left Beatrice in the first place. I felt such a revelation would have been much appreciated and perhaps made the relationship between the two leads more solid. 10 out of 10.
The Taming of the Shrew is by far the funniest of the four. This idea will work for some and not for others. While Shirley Henderson in the lead as the wild, rude and downright unpredictable politician is a joy to behold I do believe one's enjoyment of this movie will depend on how much you like the lead actress. Personally for me her voice was a tad irritating and there are numerous times when she talks fast where I couldn't make out what she was saying. Other than that small detail this movie is hilarious, clever and far from predictable. 9 out of 10.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is the weakest of the four. While the acting is perfect, the setting serene and mysterious and the script full of very thought-provoking lines (Some people make things happen, others let them happen) at times it does seem to drag despite being only 1h30 particular in scenes involving the security guards. Personally I don't know if the whole supernatural thing worked for me. Too many things seemed to be happening at once especially as we were dealing with four couples. I'd give this 8.
Finally Macbeth was possibly my favourite of the four. It was dark, clausterphobic, passionate...everything you'd expect from a good thriller. Once you've got past the fifteen minutes, which does appear like an advertisement for cookery programs this movie will suck you in having you on the edge of your seats wondering who the next victim of Macbeth's inner turmoil will be. Special mention must go to the two leads played excellently by James McEvoy and Keely Hawes depicting the torture and mental deterioration spectacularly. Any faults? Well not really. It does end rather abruptly. I would have liked to have been given more answers but then again I think the beauty of this series is that it lets you make your own conclusions. Maybe it would have been nice to have seen a little more of the divine Richard Armitage, who did seem to be under-played in this series. 10 out of 10 other than that.
Overall these four videos will not disappoint. I'd encourage them to all people looking for a good drama. Don't let the fact that they're adaptations of Shakespeare put you off. In fact be warned you'll be longing to read the bard's work after viewing these masterpieces.
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Initial post: 7 Oct 2013 00:26:11 BDT
H. M. Foss says:
May I ask you a question, please? Does this DVD have English subtitles for hard of hearing people? Heidi
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