A Midsummer Night's Dream

( 18 )

Overview

With William Shakespeare now a hot commodity at the box office and his body of work conveniently out of copyright, the usual trickle of film adaptations of the Bard's work is becoming a small flood, and director Michael Hoffman has assembled a cast of leading stage and screen actors for this whimsical film version of one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. This interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream moves the action to Tuscany near the turn of the 20th century, as both mortals and enchanted creatures ...
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Overview

With William Shakespeare now a hot commodity at the box office and his body of work conveniently out of copyright, the usual trickle of film adaptations of the Bard's work is becoming a small flood, and director Michael Hoffman has assembled a cast of leading stage and screen actors for this whimsical film version of one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. This interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream moves the action to Tuscany near the turn of the 20th century, as both mortals and enchanted creatures deal with romantic problems. Among the flesh-and-blood crowd, Duke Theseus played by David Strathairn is preparing for his wedding to Hippolyta Sophie Marceau, while having to counsel Egeus Bernard Hill, who has promised the hand of his daughter Hermia Anna Friel to Demetrius Christian Bale. Hermia, however, wants to elope with her true love, Lysander Dominic West, while her best friend Helena Calista Flockhart is mad about Demetrius. Meanwhile, fairies living in the forest are watching these romantic misadventures. Puck Stanley Tucci serves up love potions that mix and match the already confused lovers, while the Queen of Fairies, Titania Michelle Pfeiffer, and her King, Oberon Rupert Everett, have to deal with a group of hapless actors rehearsing a play in the forest -- one of whom, Bottom Kevin Kline, has fallen under Puck's spell and becomes Titania's new lover. Will anyone end up with the person they really love? Who will get hurt riding their bicycles in the woods? Will Helena sit down and eat a square meal? Director Hoffman, a longtime Shakespeare buff, appeared as Lysander in a production of the play while a college student, and has since spearheaded a campaign to build a new $3 million theatre for his alma mater in Boise, ID.
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Special Features

Widescreen format (aspect ratio 2.35:1); Interactive menus; Scene selection; Original theatrical trailer; Languages: English Dolby Surround; English 5.1 surround; Subtitles: English and Spanish
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Brimming with fairies, sex, love potions, transformations, and slightly malevolent forays into matchmaking, A Midsummer Night's Dream leaves its interpreters with much to work with. Its already preposterous nature allows for quite a bit of tweaking, and the play has often fallen victim to ill-fated flights of directorial whimsy. Michael Hoffman, in an effort to showcase the decadent nature of A Midsummer Night's Dream, changed its original location in ancient Greece to a more sensual 19th century Italy, accomplishing little save for providing some gorgeous scenery and low-cut period costumes. Otherwise, the play was left to speak for itself by means of a stellar cast and its legendary playwright, William Shakespeare. Rupert Everett gives a delightfully brooding performance as Oberon, the fairy king, who sets the chaos in motion when he enchants his wife into falling in love with Nick Bottom (Kevin Kline), the aspiring thespian-turned-mule via one nasty potion. Kline, a Shakespearean veteran, shamelessly hams it up as the melodramatic Nick, while simultaneously imparting a buffoonish vulnerability. The forest setting is frenzied, wildly sexual, and arguably more hallucinatory than director Baz Luhrmann's modernized version of Romeo + Juliet. The best thing about Hoffman's take on A Midsummer Night's Dream, however, is his expert interweaving of the conventional and the outlandish. Though the film is traditional enough in its approach to use Felix Mendelssohn's classical compositions, as did director Max Reinhardt in his 1935 Hollywood version, it portrayed fairies as they were believed to be by Elizabethans: humorous, mischievous, sexual, and oftentimes up to no good. The surreal, sweaty atmosphere combined with giddy Elizabethan dialogue and one seriously lowbrow plot makes for a visually stimulating adventure and an irresistibly happy ending.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/5/2008
  • UPC: 024543540311
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:00:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kevin Kline Bottom
Michelle Pfeiffer Titania
Rupert Everett Oberon
Stanley Tucci Puck
Calista Flockhart Helena
Anna Friel Hermia
Christian Bale Demetrius
Dominic West Lysander
David Strathairn Theseus
Sophie Marceau Hippolyta
Roger Rees Peter Quince
Bernard Hill Egeus
Bill Irwin Tom Snout
Sam Rockwell Francis Flute
Technical Credits
Michael Hoffman Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Jo Allen Makeup
Luciana Arrighi Production Designer
Maria Teresa Barbasso Art Director
Antonio Corridori Special Effects Supervisor
Garth Craven Editor
Gerry Gavigan Asst. Director
Petur Hliddal Sound/Sound Designer
Lora Kennedy Casting
Arnon Milchan Executive Producer
Gabriella Pescucci Costumes/Costume Designer
Simon Boswell Score Composer
Oliver Stapleton Cinematographer
Leslie Urdang Producer
Robert Urdang Musical Direction/Supervision
Ian Whittaker Set Decoration/Design
Ann Wingate Co-producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Midsummer Night's Dream
1. Main Titles [4:09]
2. Wedding Preparations [6:03]
3. The Course of True Love... [3:41]
4. Casting a Play [9:37]
5. Fairies [:30]
6. Puck's Errand [7:28]
7. Helena and Demetrius [1:58]
8. The Flower [3:27]
9. Titania's Bower [1:37]
10. Lysander and Hermia [3:06]
11. Helena Enters [5:29]
12. The Rehearsal Place [2:53]
13. Puck's Trick [:29]
14. Puck's Mistake [3:39]
15. A Donkey and a Queen [1:03]
16. Helena's Lovers [5:31]
17. The Cure [2:38]
18. The Wood Nymphs? [2:06]
19. Bottom's Dream [3:09]
20. A Wedding Celebration [4:04]
21. Pyramus and Thisbe [8:17]
22. Fairy Time [1:01]
23. Puck's Speech [4:12]
24. End Titles [5:37]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Midsummer Night's Dream
   Language Selection
      Spoken Languages
         English 5.1 Surround
         English Dolby Surround
      Captions & Subtitles
         English
         Spanish
         Subtitles: None
   Scene Selection
   Theatrical Trailer
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Nice adaptation

    It was the most enjoyable adaptation of this Shakespeare play I've seen. However, it was very sexualized. Beware if showing it in a classroom setting. There is nudity and implied sex.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The casting, costumes and the set were superb - everyone did a t

    The casting, costumes and the set were superb - everyone did a terrific job, but for me the standouts were Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci and Sam Rockwell. The last of those names was just 31 at this time and while his career already spanned a decade, I had not seen him in any movies until then. He steals the show near the end, playing an amateur actor who takes on a woman's role. The crowd duly laughs at him for putting on a falsetto voice, but then he ditches that convention and shows his powerhouse abilities on the stage.  A fun, fantastical look at love gone awry - and then all set right.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    The Love Square

    Introduction

    It’s a big love square.
    Description and summary of main points
    Demitrius ‘loves’ Hermia, Hermia loves Lysander, Lysander loves Hermia, and Hellena loves Demitrius.

    Evaluation

    Hermia & Hellena where like bestfriends. Demitrius & Lysander hate eachother because they both love Hermia. Hellena think their playing with her when both men where in love with her.

    Conclusion

    Well, either they hate eachother, or they love eachother. But, in the end everything works out.

    Final review

    My honest opinion of this book is, it’s kinda boring at first but it gets pretty funny toward the end. It’s a love square. In the end every one of them are with who they want to be with, except Demitrius,but he falls in love with Hellena. It’s a good book overall.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Great for Shakespeare fans and newcomers

    I LOVE this movie! The actors are well trained and funny, the sets are beautiful, and the music is fantastic! Stanley Tucci and Kevin Kline are particularly good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The best of Shakespeare's plays!

    A Midsummer Night's Dream is my all time favorite plays of Shakespeare and the best time reading and discussing the play in my English Comp. 2 class. From that point on I have loved the play and after watching the movie adaptation I have fell even more in love with it. From the starstruck lovers, the outrageous actors, and of course the constant feud of the King and Queen of the Fairies...the story is just romantic, magical, and just plain fun! Plus the cast is phenomenial! Stellar movie, amazing cast, and not to mention the best adaptation I have seen of shakespeare! Loved it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent film, but there is a drawback to the DVD

    In every way, this is the version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to see (as a film). It outclasses the famed 1935 version in all departments (especially the performances), except, perhaps for the incredible fantasy atmosphere and ballet sequences found in the 1935 version. I enjoyed this 1999 version very much in the theatre, and every time it comes on cable.<BR/><BR/>However, my beef is not with the film. As I said, the film is exceptional. My beef is with Fox searchlight's insensitivity and with B&N's "Product Details" section. This is NOT an anamorphically enhanced version, as I had hoped. It is the very same edition as before, only with Cliff's Notes added. Those with regular television sets will not be bothered by this, but those with widescreen TV sets will be disappointed. With your controls set to a 16:9 setting, everyone looks "stretched out", unless you zoom in, and you can't zoom in if you find the subtitles necessary, because then you can't read half of them. (This would not be necessary if the disc were "anamorphically enhanced", that is, pre-set to look normal in a 16:9 setting without having to zoom in.<BR/><BR/>Packaging a DVD like this in 2008 is unconscionable on Fox Searchlight's part. If they can issue anamorphically enhanced disc of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, why not one of this too? Don't they know that "anamorphically enhanced" has long since been the norm on DVD, and that widescreen TV's are a reality now?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    My favorite adaptation!!!

    This is my favorite adaptation od Midsummer!!! The acting is awesome!!! It's a great cast!!! My old high school performed this adaptation, and when I heard about the movie I ran out and rented it!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Magical Adaptation

    The film of my favorite play delighted me—not immediately. At first, some of the editing of my favorite monologues bothered me, but I have reconciled myself to the loss. Who really cares if the actors and director are traditional interpreters of Shakespeare? Their interpretations charm me. Their understanding of the text enhances my grasp of it. The use of romantic Italian opera works. As one who has loved and felt the stings of loss, I love letting go and entering the magic of this film. Kevin Kline’s Bottom becomes the most vital character, though every player plays his or her role with grace and beauty. I love this film.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2003

    Pretty good

    For this film the setting is moved up to the late 19th century. The production is overdone in typical Hollywood fashion, and these people are obviously not Shakespearean actors. They do okay, but the emotions and humor often fall short. The black bars at the top and bottom are the widest I've ever seen, leaving only about half of your screen for the picture. Subtitles are offered in English and Spanish.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    GREAT!!!!

    This movie is so good and it really makes you enjoy Shakespeare! If you're reading the book and are having a hard time fully understanding it, I would highly recommend this outstanding movie!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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