Hamlet (1990)

PG   |    |  Drama


Hamlet (1990) Poster

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge.

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6.8/10
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  • Mel Gibson and Glenn Close in Hamlet (1990)
  • Helena Bonham Carter and Ian Holm in Hamlet (1990)
  • Mel Gibson and Helena Bonham Carter in Hamlet (1990)
  • Mel Gibson and Stephen Dillane in Hamlet (1990)
  • Mel Gibson and Glenn Close in Hamlet (1990)
  • Mel Gibson in Hamlet (1990)

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22 June 1999 | mikken
Shockingly Disappointing
Hamlet - Possibly the greatest play of all time and Zeffirelli and DeVore butchered it into an incoherent and unmoving series of events with flat characters who act without any apparent motivations. For example, Horatio (in the play) is the model of friendship and yet, we have no sense of that relationship between him and Hamlet. And what of poor Ophelia? Why did she go insane? Who Knows? She shows no true feelings for Hamlet except annoyance and fear. Her father treats her like a dog. She seems to love her brother, Laertes, and he is safe in France so what's there to go mad about? Polonius is just a jerk and there is no indication of his political motives and fawning manipulations. The Ghost is a weepy shadow of his former self and conveys none of the anger or horror of his own murder.

So here you have weak, flat and uninteresting characters in a script that can only be described as a jumbled perversion of the original. ("Get thee to a nunnery" during the play?!?!) One is forced to laugh in many places where laughter is not intended ("Meet it is I set it down..."), but it is a bitter laugh at best. Unbelievable. I must find great fault in the direction, also. How Zeffirelli can misuse such accomplished actors as Ian Holm and Paul Scofield is beyond me. Also Michael Maloney (who was able to read a line with honest conviction of his character despite the director) was so appallingly underused that one could only feel sorry for him. This is exactly the type of Shakespeare that you were exposed to in high school. You remember those days. Long, mind-numbing readings of Romeo and Juliet followed by that horrible Olivia Hussey film? It was enough to make you hate the Bard. Rent Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. It is infinitely superior to Zeffirelli's. Branagh's passion for the play is more than evident and his skill in bringing it to the screen is unsurpassed. Branagh exemplifies why Shakespeare's work has survived so long. Zeffirelli illustrates why high school kids see it as an endurance trial.

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