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Shakespeare: The Animated Tales

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Winner of 3 Emmy Awards these exceptional animated stories have been designed to introduce children and young adults to some Shakespeare's most popular works. Each play has been animated in it own unique style by the exceptional talents of the leading directors of Russia's Christmas Films. Actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company and stars of stage and screen, including Antony Sher, Joss Ackland and Jenny Agutter, provide voices for the characters which were recorded and produced by BBC Wales. In Russia, art and animation has long been used as a veiled form of satire, education and political protest. This has inspired scores of Russian animators to develop fascinating and highly individual techniques, a prolific kaleidoscope of styles from which the animation artists were chosen for these stories of Shakespeare-The Animated Tales.

Giftbox Contains 12 Animated Plays on 4 DVD's: The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Richard III, Romeo & Juliet, Othello, The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night

Review

A sumptuous collection for both students and adults --Booklist

Highly Recommended 3 1/2 STARS --Video Librarian

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Alec McCowen, Michael Kitchen, Suzanne Burden, Gerald James, John Warner
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Ambrose Video Publishing
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002CHJS2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,357 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shakespeare: The Animated Tales" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What a wonderful find! Aficionados of animation know how hard it can be to find the work of Russia's Christmas Films on DVD (Operavox and The Miracle Maker being the only other North American releases that I'm aware of). This is a great set, with twelve of the Bard's famous works presented in various styles of lush animation:

Disc One

The Tempest - Stop-Motion Puppetry

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Cel Animation

As You Like It - Oil Paint on Cel

Disc Two

Hamlet - Paint on Glass

Julius Caesar - Cel Animation

King Richard III - Paint on Glass

Disc Three

Romeo and Juliet - Cel Animation

Othello - Cel Animation

The Winter's Tale - Stop-Motion Puppetry

Disc Four

Macbeth - Cel Animation

The Taming of the Shrew - Stop-Motion Puppetry

Twelfth Night - Stop-Motion Puppetry

There are some incredible moments in these films: the magical fluidity and strange forms of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the ghostly image of Ophelia floating down the corridor's of the castle, Caesar's blood-red cape flowing and wrapping around his corpse. Although each play has been truncated to 30 minutes, the performances (both animators and voice actors alike) are sharp and the essential meanings and messages have been retained. These films are marvelous, and if you enjoy the works of William Shakespeare and/or the work of great animators, I'm certain that you'll enjoy this set.

Now here's hoping for The Canterbury Tales!
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Ok for animation and sound... Since the series is geared towards kids, I was surprised that there was a sex scene with naked Romeo and Juliet in bed... Someone wrote it is not noticeable. Well, let me tell you, my young children ABSOLUTELY noticed it, and when I thought, "oh, this scene should pass any second now," it DIDN'T, so my kids a significant dose of it. My older son was shocked (and amused) that it was in the series, but it forced me to have a talk with my younger daughter that we did not feel she was quite ready for.... I'm not into censoring, but hey, if this is for kids, at least make it rated G or PG... This was definitely at least PG13. A little warning would have been nice. Also, why was this scene so necessary?... I've never seen it elsewhere or in High School plays.....

Lucky us, that was the first video we chose to watch. I hear the others have no questionable scenes. That said, I would not refrain from showing them to my children. It is a nice into to Shakespeare. I just think families who plan to show it to young children should know about the R&J scene.... Marketing to children makes the rating misleading... If your kids are ready for that, I'd recommend the series.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Any fan of animation or Shakespeare should think about buying this set. The set does not seem to have the Robin Williams introductions (and they are missed) but otherwise everything is here. Can't say enough good about this set. Makes it very clear how dull regular TV programming is. Priceless stuff.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I grew up watching Shakespeare The Animated Tales on Discovery Kids Latin America... back when it was for kids and not babies.
Anyway, it's nice to get to see it again, and some of the animation is pretty cool (e.g. Hamlet episode). I also have a predilection for the stop motion episodes.
Despite the decent digital transfer of the video, the sound is poor. I have to watch the discs on the highest volume possible, and even then it's hard to listen to it in parts.
Also, the $70+ price tag is a turn-off, when even 13-episode series range from $20-35.
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I first saw these animated versions of the Bard's plays on YouTube after I became a member in 2010. I loved the different styles of animation and I recognised the stop motion animated puppetry of the Russian animaters that animated THE MIRACLE MAKER, the stop motion version of Jesus Christ! THE TEMPEST, TAMING OF THE SHREW, THE WINTER'S TALE, and TWELFTH NIGHT all have great, beautifully crafted model animation that so blows away the cgi movies of today! HAMLET and RICHARD the 3rd have beautiful hand animated painted characters on glass that gives an errie , nightmare effect to the Shakespeare tragedies!

AS YOU LIKE IT is animated in a painterly, impressionistic style like the french impressionists while MIDSUMMER's NIGHT DREAM is animated in cell animation with an exaggerated caricature style that fits this humourus tale of love confusion and magical mischief! In cell animation ROMEO AND JULIET is beautifully drawn and animated all the way to it's tragic ending when Juliet pretends to be dead so she won't marry someone her father wants her to marry but Romeo thinks she is dead and kills himself! If the Disney company did their version today you know that they would LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER!! I prefer the old Disney films and have SILLY SYMPHONIES vol 1&2 , Disney's 1930's animation as well as the 1940 FANTASIA on DVD!

OTHELLO shows Iago, Othello's officer, using lies and deciet to make Othello believe that his wife, Desdemona is unfaithful to him and the hand drawn cell animation depicts this dramatically! Each art style and technique is well chosen to enhance the drama or humour in each tale! The witches in MACBETH have odd, funny transformation while King Macbeth and Queen Macbeth are drawn in a tormented, painful look and style that fits the tragedy!
Read more ›
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