12 April 2014 | Nozz
Not bad, but who's the audience?
The movie starts by introducing Puck, who has an oddly mechanical- sounding laugh and a rather ugly face. Maybe children find him charming, or maybe the decision was made that Puck doesn't have to be charming, but I think an opportunity was lost there to engage the audience through Puck the way Shakespeare is usually thought to have intended. The plot does have a little to do with Shakespeare's comedy, but it's mostly the characters who have been borrowed, along with a touch of Don Quixote and the witches from Macbeth. I saw the movie in Hebrew, where the title is simply "A Midsummer Night's Dream," just like Shakespeare, but I understand there's an intentional alteration of the title in Spanish and in English to go with the major script difference. Shakespeare's story has been largely replaced by the familiar device of a quest with the characters (including the bad guy who's along for his own evil reasons) interacting along the way. The witches and a handful of glowing fairies are, like Puck, lost opportunities for interesting visualization, but the villain is well conceived and original-looking, as are Oberon and Mustardseed. There are also some animated musical instruments that appear now and then but are gone again before much attention can be paid. The music itself is quite entertaining throughout the movie. But while some opportunities to entertain children are lost, the script doesn't rise to the level that would firmly hold the interest of adults, so I get the feeling that the effort-- and it's obviously not a small effort-- is lost somewhere between the two audiences.