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Hamlet [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Just as Branagh trumped Olivier's version of Henry V, so he does it again, this time producing the definitive screen Hamlet.
There are flaws, admittedly, so lets get them out of the way. There is some dodgy blue-screen work, and a couple of actors are, if we're honest, out of their depth (Jack Lemmon is a fine actor, but Shakespeare does not apparently come easy to him!).
Once you get past these minor quibbles however, you are left with one of the most sumptuous films ever shot. It just looks stunning, and makes the inexcusable wait for a dvd release almost worthwhile! The acting (for the most part!) is breathtaking. The famous scene with Hamlet and Gertrude in her bedroom is one of the most moving I've ever watched, Branagh stripping bare Hamlets grief as he sees his father's ghost. "On him, on him". Watch it and weep. The score is spot-on, the sets magnificent, and the script is well, the finest piece of work in English literature.
The finest film version of the greatest playwright's finest work. An unabashed masterpiece.
I highly recommend this to even people who are not usually fans of shakespeare. The brilliant acting allows you to understand what is happening, even in a particular wordy scene. And Kenneth Branagh is fanyastic!!! watch it =)
The only negative thing I could think of this Kenneth Branagh interpretation is the costume period is not what I was brought up on in the other versions and books. Jack Lemmon was sort of a distraction.
Now that being said, I never knew how good Hamlet could be until I saw the Kenneth Branagh version. For some reason I never noticed the missing dialog in the other versions until I was treated to the complete dialog in this version. The filled in parts give the story more meaning. Everyone else, even Hamlet (1948) with Laurence Olivier seems like the Readers digest version. I do not think you want to hear comparisons and contrasts of acting styles; so I will just say this film changed what would have been a nice story to actually feel that you are there.
Take caution before purchasing/downloading any rendition of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet as there are some edited versions that may not be complete.
As far as the film is concerned, it's a sprawling epic with gorgeous cinematography and lucious production design and it's directed with beautiful skill by Kenneth Branagh possibly Britain's best filmmaker of Shakespeare. With Branagh as Hamlet, joining him is a cast that's a who's who of international acting talent including Kate Winslet, Derek Jacobi, Julie Christie, Brian Blessed, Richard Briers, Charlton Heston, Jack Lemmon, Rufus Sewell, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Timothy Spall, John Gielgud, Judy Dench and Richard Attenborough among others.
I've seen this film a couple of times now, having first seen it 10 years ago on VHS video. I've waited that long for it to be available on DVD and now it's here where it belongs in my opinion. As far as I'm concerned, this is the definitive and most accessible version of Hamlet available. Kenneth Branagh has done the impossible. He's given us the full text and done it with style and passion making it look gorgeous and incredibly exciting. The impressive and sweeping score by Patrick Doyle is wonderful throughout and it's a great compliment to the film. One of the best epics I've seen.
Yes, it's a masterpiece - both Shakespeare's and Branagh's. Yes, it has an astonishing cast. Yes, the set design and cinematography are stunning and hauntingly memorable, but at the end of the day it's simply a great film of a great story told very well and acted in the most accessible and wonderful way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the best comedy I've watched in years. Hamlet is as mad as a box of frogs, and his wacky family don't help either; they're to busy killing each other. Read morePublished 5 days ago by James Macdonald
Glorious. Tense drama beautifully acted and WHAT a venue!! Brilliant cast and the dialogue isn't at all stilted though it's spoken in the language of the Bard.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Was not able to watch in HD, perhaps because of restrictions on my computer (It's 1080p but may not have the copyright protection) but could be that it wasn't filmed in HD, I did... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Need I say any more. A play I really enjoyed for my 'A' Level; with a stellar cast.Published 2 months ago by John McCrea