9 November 2001 | Skeletors_Hood
Truly Wonderful! A great movie!
Brilliant! Kenneth Branagh's version of the timeless William Shakespeare classic is a great rendition of the film, making it accessible to everyone, even those who do not like Shakespeare.
Let me first say that I am a great fan of Shakespeare's works. In college I was an English literature major, with a minor in theater, and so Shakespeare is found in both. Theater people state that Shakespeare was never literature at all, which in the purpose of the plays is true, however because of the prose that he wrote in is a poetic form, he is literature as well. Whatever you do, never get in between two people arguing this point, your head might blow up!
Reading the comments on this page, the basic attack on this movie is that Branagh cuts lines and shaved parts. Yes, of course he did. Nothing is sacred, not even the works of Shakespeare, people. I myself was in a Shakespeare play, and over half the script was cut from it. With a Shakespeare play, the question is what to cut. If this play had been presented in it's entirety, it would have been close to five hours long. And today's movie audience just does not have that kind of patience. "Titanic" was stretching it a little, in terms of time. Shakespeare's original audience would have had no problem, because they made a day of it.
So when Branagh did this play, he had to shave off a great deal of the script, and he had to decide what to focus on. He had to focus on the main characters, being Beatrice and Benedict and their romance, and of course the drama concerning Hero and Claudio, but also keep other characters incorporated as well. For those attacking the "whittling down" of the script, why didn't anyone bring up the point that Benedict is supposed to have shaved his beard while in attempt to woo Beatrice. Why? Because it really isn't a major plot point that is needed at all. So Branagh made great choices in his direction of the film, and in the end he made sure that everything tied together logically, and that there were no loose ends.
The performances by the actors were great as well. There was nothing wrong with casting Denzel Washington as the prince, though people seem to have a beef with it. He pulled it off very well. And Keanu Reeves did a great job as well. It was a treat to see him as a villain. I happen to be a fan of Reeves, and I do see him as great casting, though why people also have a problem with him I'll never know. Branagh was going for acting ability, not just names. Reeves has the goods, and he can speak Shakespeare very well, it's his character that's supposed to be moody. And Keaton was a wonderful choice for the Constable, making me laugh whenever he was on the screen. And the other actors all did very well in their roles.
If you're a lover of Shakespeare or not, this film is a great treat, and it appeals to all audiences who love the classic masterpiece.