A Midsummer Night's Dream
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Shakespeare's story has been in production more or less continuously for over 400 years. It has its own life, incarnating upon innumerable stages through countless casts and directors. It has lived into the time of motion pictures, appearing in diverse real and constructed locations.
This version unfolds in a fairyland lovingly evoked in rural New Mexico. It burrows in caves, clings to cliffsides, dances in forests. If you want your Shakespeare blocked out on stage, this one is not for you. If you love the story and the permutations of it, you'll enjoy this telling.
If you are dedicated to extreme low-budget movie production or aspire to such work, the piece will be both inspirational and instructive. It demonstrates how craft, imagination, skill and patience can work magic from almost nothing - especially in comparison to the production budgets of today's super-glossy "real" movies.
As is often the case with bare-bones productions, sound quality suffers at times. A few lines are hard to understand, especially given the unfamiliar language and phrasing. But the players ARE acting. If your ears didn't catch some words their body language conveys mood and meaning.
Occasionally a performer or interaction falters and I wish there had been another, better take. But this happens also on stage, where there are no retakes. In these bits momentum is quickly recovered...the ball may be fumbled but it is never dropped.Read more ›
The fairy scenes are lovingly composed, a real delight. The whole production is safe for children. Four stars, grading on a steep amateur curve, the mechanicals were that much the funnier for it.
There is so much more texture that could be explored that most directors, in their slavish thrall to narrative, simply ignore. Notable exceptions are Julie Taymor and Peter Greenaway. Bergstrom's MND is a lot of fun. With the accessibility of effects in software editing programs why not explore the possibilities so the film becomes more painterly. The altered palette in the dance between Titania, Oberon and the changeling is really beautiful as is the music and the chorus work. The blurry distortions of faces adds to the psychological POV of a character. Bergstrom uses font play and graphic inserts to reiterate the script. "What fools these mortals be" and "You minims...you acorn" etc. are highlighted and often tied back to the titles.
I enjoyed the concept/settings: caves, New Mexico national park woods and the deserted industrial site. Theater has used off-gender casting to great effect and so does Bergstrom.
Don't resist the spell. May you keep reason and love in your company.
***** Based on now having seen five films of the play, I would rate this Peter Hall direction with at least 4 1/2 stars, based mostly on strong acting from a cast, most of whom would become well known in British and American film. This production is nicely balanced, giving good emphasis to all parts of Shakespeare's play; however the lions share of talent is given to the fairy characters and to the two pair of young lovers. The Mechanicals subplot gets full time, but less name talent; however, they match the impression of stronger casts, without quite reaching the heights of James Cagney in the role of Bottom. The half star loss is mostly due to the weak acting by Michael Jayston and David Warner as Demetrius and Lysander, and the really weak realization of Bottom's ass's head. The fairy effects are nicely done with live children actors, although Ian Holm's special effects seem a bit strained.
In the recent Hollywood version with Kevin Kline's being turned into an ass, they did it much better by just applying simple makeup and appliances to Kline's face, plus ass's ears. Ian Holm as Puck and Diana Rigg as Helena were good in those key roles, although Rigg does not put quite as much into it as did Callista Flockhart in the 1999 Hollywood version. Ian Richardson and Judi Dench were believable as Oberon and Titania, but those roles always seem to be difficult to pull off, as are the roles of the Duke Theseus and his bride Hippolyta.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the worst productions ever filmed - wow my kids could do a better job, and I am not joking here.Published 3 months ago by George Adkison
The dvd was disappointing. The cell phone and rock climbing were enough to cause me to rule it out for use with children.Published 9 months ago by DJ