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Hamlet

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Overview

Michael Almereyda's modernization of Hamlet comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1. There are no subtitles on this release. There are no supplemental materials of any consequence. This challenging film was a hit on the art house circuit, but failed to connect with a mass audience. Disney/Buena Vista has done nothing to help the situation with this barebones, ...
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Overview

Michael Almereyda's modernization of Hamlet comes to DVD with a widescreen anamorphic transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1. There are no subtitles on this release. There are no supplemental materials of any consequence. This challenging film was a hit on the art house circuit, but failed to connect with a mass audience. Disney/Buena Vista has done nothing to help the situation with this barebones, high-priced disc, even if the film does look and sound excellent.
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Special Features

5.1 Surround; Widescreen [1.85:1] enhanced for 16x9 televisions
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
William Shakespeare's melancholy Dane is a scruffy downtown video artist with a goatee in Michael Almereyda's stylish adaptation of the famous tragedy. In the original, of course, the Prince of Denmark is visited by the ghost of his murdered father, the king, and urged to avenge his father's death. Here Hamlet's dad is not the King of Denmark but the CEO of something called the Denmark Corporation, and the drama plays out amid the skyscrapers and neon lights of present-day New York City. The atmosphere is contemporary and metropolitan -- all big black limousines and nightclubs, cell phones and video cameras. But this Hamlet is more than just style: Ethan Hawke is nicely brooding as the indecisive protagonist, and he's surrounded by an effective cast that includes Kyle MacLachlan as Hamlet's uncle, Claudius; Diane Venora as his mother, Gertrude; Bill Murray as Polonius; Liev Schreiber as Laertes; Julia Stiles as Ophelia; and Sam Shepard as Hamlet's father. Underlying it all is a brilliant score by Carter Burwell interlaced with music that ranges from Brahms and Mahler to Morcheeba and Primal Scream. The result is an engrossing update of a classic, with a hip sensibility and urban sophistication that places it firmly in the 21st century.
All Movie Guide
Setting Hamlet in modern times wasn't exactly a new idea, on the heels of Baz Luhrmann's MTV-ready Romeo+Juliet and such loose updates as 10 Things I Hate About You, which tried to inject literary hipness into bland teenage fare. But Michael Almereyda's film is quite different from these in both substance and style -- it's quiet and starkly fascinating, with none of Luhrmann's busy color blasts or Gen-X hooks, although it does star teen-friendly Ethan Hawke and Julia Stiles. This 2000 version is a thoughtful re-imagining of Hamlet in a washed-out New York City run by corporate raiders instead of kings, in which iambic pentameter is spoken over cell phones, and information transferred via fax rather than messenger. What saves this setup from mere gimmick is that it gives viewers a vastly improved understanding of the issues at the heart of the play. As portrayed by Hawke, Hamlet is a shiftless trust fund baby with artsy ambitions, who thinks too much while sitting around his apartment or leaving on world travels that utterly bore him. Rarely is Hamlet's essence distilled in a way so familiar to modern audiences. Detractors might criticize the decision to stage the classic "To be or not to be" speech in a Blockbuster video store -- and truth be told, it is a rather cheeky comment on consumerism. But many of Almereyda's decisions are brilliant, such as having Steve Zahn's Rosencrantz act like a lethargic stoner, and giving the chorus lines to news anchors commenting on takeover rumors. It's clear that the actors, including a stand-out Bill Murray, relish the opportunity to work with the material. They bring credibility to the smart concept, making for a thoroughly engrossing film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/17/2001
  • UPC: 717951004994
  • Original Release: 2000
  • Rating:

  • Source: Miramax
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:53:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ethan Hawke Hamlet
Kyle MacLachlan Claudius
Sam Shepard The Ghost
Diane Venora Gertrude
Bill Murray Polonius
Julia Stiles Ophelia
Liev Schreiber Laertes
Karl Geary Horatio
Paula Malcomson Marcella
Steve Zahn Rosencrantz
Dechen Thurman Guildenstern
Rome Neal Barnardo
Jeffrey Wright Gravedigger
Paul Bartel Osric
Casey Affleck Fortinbras
Technical Credits
Michael Almereyda Director, Screenwriter
Jason Blum Executive Producer
Kristina Boden Editor
Carter Burwell Score Composer
Marco Cattoretti Costumes/Costume Designer
John DeBorman Cinematographer
Jeanne Develle Art Director
Joshua Drew Set Decoration/Design
Jeffrey Everett Set Decoration/Design
Andrew Fierberg Producer
Amy Hobby Producer
Marco Londoner Asst. Director
Luca Mosca Costumes/Costume Designer
Gideon Ponte Production Designer
Beth Amy Rosenblatt Musical Direction/Supervision
Chip Signore Asst. Director
John Sloss Executive Producer
Noah Vivekanand Timan Sound/Sound Designer
Noah Vivekanand Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selection
1. Opening/New York 2000 [7:43]
2. A Ghostly Sight [6:42]
3. Beware Your Heart [5:09]
4. The Father's Spirit [7:49]
5. Avoid Hamlet! [2:14]
6. Oh, Ophelia [3:32]
7. To Be Or Not To Be [2:34]
8. "Your Son Is Mad" [4:16]
9. Cowards Of Us All [2:30]
10. Denmark The Prison [2:58]
11. Guilty Creatures [1:38]
12. Scheming Players [5:19]
13. The Mousetrap [6:43]
14. Foul Murderer [10:18]
15. A Thing Of Nothing [4:43]
16. Off To London [3:07]
17. A Family Scorned [4:43]
18. Laertes' Revenge [5:53]
19. Hamlet's Return [3:52]
20. King Calls A Trial [5:02]
21. Duel To The Death [8:11]
22. End Credits [6:04]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Captions
   Preview Trailers
      Committed
      Shakespeare In Love
      Reindeer Games
      Cast Is Cast
      Stiff Upper Lips
      Holy Smoke!
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Love Ethan Hawke

    I am a Shakespeare fan and this was a great modern adaptation of Hamlet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    it's what i call a mixture

    my acp english class did a segment on shakespeare's hamlet, which entaled reading the play, reviews, comparisions, and viewing several adaptations with film. while i found this to be one of the more enjoyable versions of hamlet, however because i knew the full play and extent of the story i was left semi-unsatisfied. the movie was clever and unique in its portrayal of the reaccuring themes throughout the origional production, yet left me feeling incomplete. the choppy scene transitions and shallow emotional build led me to want more of what i was never to recieve. i give the film cuddos for providing the story in a rythmic, upbeat, intriguing version and would deffinately recommend viewing, even owning the movie, but would not dubb it the best film version of hamlet yet to be made.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a hecka hecka good moving piture film

    i have to say that this movie makes all other hamlet remakes a little turd in the toilet. id have to honestly say that this is the mother of all hamlets. i dont think that shakespeare ever expected a movie to dominate his writing skills as ethan hawke in hamlet has just done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2003

    AMAZING

    AMAZING..the symbolism in this film is incredible. Moreover, it takes the presiding theme in Shakespear's play, the idea of re-production, playing within a play, and expresses it through modern media. The motif of screens and recording are phenomenal.... Ethan Hawke is amazing, he shows that you do not need a snobbish british accent to do Shakespear. AMAZING FILM...AMAZING MISE-EN-SCENE (Directing Term for how shots are shot...)...GREAT ACTING... !!!! GREAT FILM!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    trivialization of a masterpiece

    ''Hamlet'' is, arguably, the greatest play in the English language and some fine interpretations have been captured on film. This is not among them. Shakespeare can be updated (withness ''Richard III'' with McKellan) but this one is trivialized and stupidly cut to appeal to the lowered intellectual abilities of today's audiences. Avoid this travesty. Even Mel Gibson's is superior on all counts. If you must have a modern cast, Branagh's is to eb released on DVD in early 2004 and is superior on all counts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Best Movie ever

    i absolutlty love this version of Hamlet, it is probally the best i've ever seen, Ethan Hawk is extraordianry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Well...

    Well... It's Ethan Hawke as Hamlet, thereby making it difficult to say much else. Seriously though, the movie is fairly well done, and does a clever job of modernising the story while still staying astoundingly true to the themes of the original. I would say that if you enjoyed Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet, then you would also find this enjoyable

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews