Thursday, August 12, 2010

Title:  A Midsummer Night's Dream: Shakespeare Retold
Format:  Netflix
Category:  Shakespeare adaptation
Rating:  B-

Description (from wikipedia):  Theo and Polly visit Dream Park inclusive leisure facility to celebrate the engagement of their daughter Hermia to James Demetrius. The engagement party is, much to the irritable Theo's horror, disrupted by Hermia's true love Xander. Despite their own disagreements, the fairy rulers of the woods around Dream Park, Titania and Oberon, have a duty to ensure a happy ending, so Oberon gets Puck to try to sort things out with "love juice" eyedrops, while Oberon and Theo discuss their marriages. Puck's efforts inevitably lead to more confusion.

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There are so many ways this retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream could have been improved.  Better actors, fewer slow parts, and less focus on Nick Bottom-- just doing one of these things would have made this movie so much better.

The movie had very good actors, but it doesn't matter how talented you are if there's no chemistry.  Titania and Oberon are supposed to be a couple in love who happen to be in the middle of a fight.  You never get that from actors Lennie James and Sharon Small.  There's no electricity, no chemistry, no spark between them.  And there's no passion in their acting.  They don't seem to ever get into their parts.  In one scene, they're supposed to be fighting, but they might as well have been talking about the weather.  It was like they made no effort at all.  Luckily, the other actors make up for them.  Imelda Staunton, Bill Paterson, and Rupert Evans are all superb in their parts.

There were a few parts of this movie where the action seemed to just come to a standstill.  I found myself fast-forwarding through them.  Most of the scenes with Nick Bottom and his friends just bored me to tears.  If they'd just shortened them, or left a few of them out altogether, this movie would have earned a much higher rating.  B-

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