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As You Like It

3.8 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As You Like It (DVD)

Emmy award winner Kenneth Branagh, the man who redefined Shakespeare for a whole new generation with Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet, brings the Bard's most delightful comedy to sensational life! Rosalind is a young woman living in the court of her uncle when she falls in love with Orlando, a young gentleman of the kingdom. When Rosalind is banished, she flees into the forest of Arden disguised as a man...only to encounter Orlando who has also been exiled! But can she win his heart, disguised as she is? With a setting inspired by 19th century Japan and a star-studded cast including Kevin Kline (Dave, A Prairie Home Companion), Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3, The Lady In The Water) and Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2, The Da Vinci Code), AS YOU LIKE IT once again proves that all the world's a stage. Come enjoy!



If you think stuffy old Shakespeare could be livened up with some ninjas, Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) has heard your call. Adapter/director Branagh has set the pastoral comedy As You Like It in feudal Japan, where the characters are still British (they live in a community established by Western merchants) but now have reason to dress up in lush Japanese fabrics and engage in sumo wrestling. Due to a feud between two noble brothers, Rosalind (Bryce Dallas Howard, The Village) is banished and ends up disguised as a man in a nearby forest. There she tests the faith of her beloved (and also banished) Orlando (David Oyelowo, MI-5), who can't recognize her because she looks like a Dickensian ragamuffin. Meanwhile, a variety of other star-crossed lovers romp around the forest and zen gardens, sparring about love and melancholy. Branagh, never a subtle director, takes every opportunity to squeeze in slapstick and action (like the aforementioned ninjas), but he also keeps the language clear and the movie is beautiful to look at. The strong cast includes Kevin Kline (who previously frolicked in a movie adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2, Frida), Romola Garai (I Capture the Castle, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights), and Adrian Lester (Hustle, Love's Labors Lost). --Bret Fetzer

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Bryce Dallas Howard, Kevin Kline, Alfred Molina
  • Directors: Kenneth Branagh
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2007
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000SM6FKE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,031 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "As You Like It" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This movie is beautiful! That's right. That's my whole review.
There are stylised Komonos and rich 1890-ish Western costumes. A pallette of amazing reds, maroons and rose colors set against a magical green forest with ancient towering trees and exotic oriental marshes.
The romantic comedy element is all about being in love; being giddy with all consuming love. The Shakespearean words are edited short and crisp and are delivered naturalistically and effortlessly by the likes of Kevin Kline and Brian Blessed. Of the leads, David Oyelowo stands out as a very masculine and handsome leading man and Bryce Dallas Howard (an American) more that holds her own with the mostly British cast.
Perhaps due to Branagh's pruning of the text, I also found listening to, and understanding As You Like It just as effortless as the actor's delivery. I'm not an English teacher nor an Elizabethean scholar and this movie spoke to me, taking me on a wonderful escape. (NOTE: Make sure to watch all the way through the credits!)
It is obvious that Kenneth Branagh puts his whole soul into his movies. Thank you Kenneth!
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Incredibly, this seems to be the first version of Shakespeare's masterpiece of comic wit, As You Like It, in 70 years - since Laurence Olivier's disappointingly dry and frilly 1937 production! If for no other reason, true fans of the Bard will be grateful to Kenneth Branagh for this latest effort, although many of his decisions as director left me scratching my head.

As for mixing the Forest of Arden with the world of Shogun, I was basically neutral. Let Branagh have his artistic license with that one, although I admit it did make the scene where Orlando is attacked by a lion somewhat surreal. (Which may be why it happens off stage in the play.) And sure, the cinematography and landscape are stunning, but what really disappointed me was the way Branagh and the cast chose to play the key roles. As You Like It contains three of Shakespeare's most brilliant major characters: Touchstone the Fool, Jaques the melancholy cynic, and the incomparable Rosalind.

Touchstone trails in brilliance only behind Feste from Twelfth Night, and Lear's Fool from that great tragedy, but sadly, many of his best lines are either cut out of this version, or delivered by Alfred Molina in such a way that he just seems morose. He partially rescues the role with his facial expressions and physical slapstick, but Touchstone can be much more than the rude court goof that he is here. Kevin Kline does fairly well with Jaques, but inexplicably, one of the greatest minor speeches in all Shakespeare ("All the world's a stage...") is delivered in a distant, wide-angle shot with virtually no emotion, so you can't even tell Kline is speaking the lines until the very last words. It seems like they're being read off camera. Last but not least, Rosalind.
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"As You Like It" is one of my favorite plays. Grounded in the tradition of Greco-Roman pastoral, the play asks the following question, via Jaques: If man, who is trying to escape the intrigues of court, escapes to the green cabinet of nature, will he not consequently bring the intrigues of court with him, and therefore ruin nature? Shakespeare answers this question, which seems very timely in our warming world of globalization, in the affirmative.

This film, which is peerlessly acted, gains nothing by its Japanese setting, which, admittedly scrumptious to behold, is merely distracting. I fully expected a mincing Gilbert & Sullivan chorus to break into "If you want to know who we are, we are gentlemen of Japan, on every vase and jar, on every screen and fan." I have no objection to updating, nor to removing the setting to another location--or as Shakespeare would say, to another part of the forest. Such a removal was successful in Trevor Nunn's "Twelfth Night," which was set in a Cornish "Illyria." It was also done with delightful tongue-in-cheek in the 1960s' "Midsummer Night's Dream," which focused on a stately British home, labeled "Athens." Furthermore, I even suspended my disbelief when Brannagh set "Much Ado about Nothing" in Tuscany (partly because I love Italy). In none of these cases, did the change of setting disrupt the illusion. By placing "As You Like It"--most of which takes place in the fantastical "Forest of Arden" (to which the characters refer repeatedly)--in the historical context of a violent nineteenth-century Japan, Brannagh disrupts the magic as irrevocably as if he had placed the first scenes in the 1930s' Leni Riefenstall-inspired glamor of the Third Reich and then had everyone escape to the Forest of Bavaria, still calling it the Forest of Arden.
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Format: DVD
Kenneth Branagh, aside from being a gifted actor with an enormous range of creative character abilities, has once again brought Shakespeare to life on the screen. His previous excursions into the bard's repertoire have included 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'Henry V', 'Love's Labour's Lost', 'Hamlet', and 'Othello', and now he adds one of the bard's most successful comedies AS YOU LIKE IT to his list of successes. Branagh has the gift of making the visual aspects of Shakespeare's stories enhance the language and in doing so he makes Shakespeare sound like brilliant conversation (which it of course is) instead of stilted and brittle old English.

The 'gimmick' used here by Branagh in adapting Shakespeare's play is placing the action in 19th century Japan, and while other less sensitive directors might have opted to insert parody here, Branagh instead makes the story seem all the more plausible - the two feuding brothers (one dark and one light) whose struggle over their estate opens the play before credits with an ingenious silent drama of black leather feudal costumed men invading a genteel house party of lovely people enjoying a Japanese dancer's performance. The original brother is banished with his clan to the Arden forest and there the magic begins. Love between several couples is played in all its manifestations with disguise, misconceptions, lust, and poetry until the play's rollicking end in a song of Hey Nonny Nonny!

The lovers include the disguised Rosalind (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Orlando (David Oyelowo), Celia (Romola Garai) and Oliver (Adrian Lester), the court fool Touchstone (a brilliant Alfred Molina) and Audrey (Janet McTeer), and Sylvius (Alex Wyndham) and Phoebe (Jade Jefferies).
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