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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.04%
Worth A Look30.43%
Average: 23.19%
Pretty Bad: 20.29%
Total Crap: 13.04%

5 reviews, 39 user ratings

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Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1999)
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by Filmink Magazine (owes us money)

"This is no Brannagh period epic, but is that a bad thing?"
4 stars

Updating Shakespeare is all the rage. Shakespeare In Love, Romeo + Juliet and the upcoming Taming Of The Shrew rework, Ten Things I Hate About You, are ushering in a new guard. Kenneth Brannagh is being elbowed aside by a swathe of TV teens looking to show that they too can say words like ‘hark’. But fear not! A Midsummer Nights Dream takes a different path. In fact, Michael Hoffman’s reworking of the high school drama club staple is spectacular if only for two things – it’s stellar cast and the fact that no attempt is made to bring the production away from its intended home – the stage.

To be honest, Midsummer doesn’t totally survive the urge to update. Brought forward to the late 19th century, it feels a little odd to see the protagonists riding bicycles, but once the viewer has their bearings, this is a pleasant two hour interlude to the world of fairies and satyrs.

To Hoffman’s credit, he embraces the stage element of the production and resists the urge to make excessive use of the big screen. There are few open air scenes, even fewer sprawling vistas, and much of the film is set in a forest that seems to consist of $2 scenery, but which only adds to the homeliness of the piece. This is no Brannagh period epic, but is that a bad thing?

Shakespeare is all about performances, and with the likes of Kevin Kline, Stanley Tucci, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Sophie Marceau, Roger Rees and the surprisingly good Callista Flockhart (who knew she’s an acclaimed stage actress?), Midsummer doesn’t sacrifice acting for a marquee cast. In fact, only the lesser lights provide questionable performances. Christian Bale has never been so vanilla, giving a performance that even Ryan Phillipe would laugh at. David Strathairn seems unable to remember his lines, let alone deliver them, and Anna Weil’s ‘Hermia’ is memorable if only because she’s a little on the butch side - more ‘Hernia’ than ‘Hermia’.

The best performance in the film is unfortunately one of the smallest. Sam Rockwell delivers his final lines with the sort of impact that not only provides a fitting ending, but makes you wonder why Hollywood persists with ramming Schwimmer’s, Van Der Beek’s, and Prinze Jr’s down our throats. If you want to take Shakespeare to the common man, this is how to do it. –--Chris Parry

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originally posted: 04/14/99 18:21:27
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User Comments

3/23/17 Lola Very good, Funny and Romantic. 5 stars
4/20/10 brian Now that the mindless children have spoken, let me just say that it's gorgeous. 4 stars
3/08/08 Pamela White You have to like Shakespeare to get thru it 3 stars
9/09/07 someone I loved Calista Flockhart as Helena she was ausom but the rest SUCKED!!! 2 stars
4/15/07 grenda larindi its was one of the best films i ever saw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/15/05 Fred it was very crap 1 stars
3/17/05 JLI This movie is fantastic! 5 stars
1/25/05 Cat Play was Great 4 stars
11/07/04 Stephen Now IT SUCKED 1 stars
9/05/04 DM Great play, bad movie 2 stars
6/15/04 R V Warden Could not enjoy it 2 stars
6/03/04 saman this movie sucked 1 stars
5/30/04 Erica cum on- calista flockhart was gud! 3 stars
4/03/04 Shitaki Mushrooms WHat tha shit was the movie about? Had no idea, cause it was fucked ^! 1 stars
3/30/04 Ashley Daily This movie had a wonderful fantasy air to it that we haven't seen in awhile! 4 stars
1/25/04 Elena BLEAH! GAR-BAHGE! Calista Flockhart ruined the entire, boring, defiling of Shakespeare film 1 stars
1/16/04 Gecko Fanfoot Kevin Kline is the bright spot in this turd. Michelle Pfeifer should get the death penalty 1 stars
5/19/03 salice it doesnt make sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
7/30/02 Pig Fucker Possibly the most underrated movie ever. Lots of magic (and fantastic acting) at work here 5 stars
7/25/02 Zargo nice 4 stars
3/16/02 joe this is the most fuckin shities book ever 1 stars
1/30/02 chester nabrasker good nudity 1 stars
1/02/02 Andrew Carden I Liked The Book, but Couldnt' Connect To This. 2 stars
5/08/01 Gracy Lionheart I loved Much Ado About Nothing and Taming Of The Shrew, but this didn't float my boat. 2 stars
6/25/00 Naushad Khanji Directors should not waste time translating dated 16th century plays. 2 stars
3/08/00 Kyle Broflovski My favorite Shakespeare play, aside from "Hamlet" 4 stars
12/22/99 Goodfellow A wondrous movie, bottomlessly mirthful and entertaining. A masterpiece 5 stars
8/18/99 Franco Ugazzi 5 stars
8/01/99 Blue sky I loved Kevin Kline as Bottom 5 stars
7/30/99 Thantalos beautifull castle setting, origninal dialog worked better than "R&J in LA gangs" 5 stars
7/10/99 Amanda A relatively good take on one of my favorites. The sets in the Faery Forest are exquisite. 4 stars
7/09/99 bridgette eh... good at times, boring at others. 3 stars
6/10/99 MRHOLLYWOOD !! Great,solid acting......but lame........sorry shakespeariens! 2 stars
6/08/99 Lashan Lynn I liked it. I saw it with a girl, and it was and is a great DATE movie. Not great, but good 4 stars
6/07/99 jules fucking lame! 2 stars
5/28/99 Feral Completely forgettable yet enjoyable fluff with intermittently solid acting. 4 stars
5/28/99 pipeman I really enjoyed this film. It was beautifully done. MichelleP was only adequate though. 5 stars
5/17/99 Mr Showbiz Not for lack of talent, Hoffman's adaptation is joyless and uninspired. 3 stars
5/15/99 Bats Don't expect high-tech effects, just some solid acting from most of the cast. 4 stars
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  14-May-1999 (PG-13)


  20-May-1999 (M)

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