Friday, August 13, 2010

Title:  Love's Labour's Lost
Format:  Netflix
Category:  Shakespeare adaptation
Rating:  B-

Description (from  An update of the classic Shakespeare story, director Kenneth Branagh shot this movie like a classic 30s musical. Love's Labour's Lost tells the story of four best friends who swear off love.  The King of Navarre and his three companions swear a very public oath to study together and to renounce women for three years. Their honor is immediately put to the test by the arrival of the Princess of France and her three lovely companions. It's love at first sight for all concerned, followed by the men's highly entertaining but hopeless efforts to disguise their feelings.

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I really couldn't take this movie seriously at all, and I'm not sure you're supposed to.  This modern retelling of Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost is part comedy, part musical, part ridiculous.  With a star-studded cast, a modern setting, and a classic story, this movie could have been an amazing adaptation.  But then you throw in bizarre musical numbers, with a cast that can't sing or dance, and what you've got is a spoof, whether you intended it to be or not.

Kenneth Branagh is brilliant when it comes to his Shakespeare adaptations, both as an actor and director.  I loved him as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, an A+ movie he also directed.  But I don't really know what he was thinking with L.L.L.  Making it into a musical just made everything so absurd.  Perhaps if he'd had actors who were good at singing and dancing, it might not have seemed quite so bad.  But Alicia Silverstone, Matthew Lillard, and even Branagh himself were never meant to be singers, and I sincerely wish they hadn't tried.  B-

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