Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Hamlet (1990 Film) Review

 William Shakespeare wrote many plays, one of which is Hamlet. I saw The Simpsons do a parody once, but I didn't know the whole story. Also I heard The Lion King's story was mostly based on the plot of Hamlet. I also thought it was weird to see Mel Gibson in a movie based on Shakespeare's work. He never struck me as a thespian actor, and it's odd to see an American actor in a role usually portrayed by British actors and other Europeans.
The story of Hamlet takes place in Denmark. King Hamlet has died, and his brother Claudius has taken the throne and also took his brother's Queen as his wife. Claudius wonders why Prince Hamlet is still very depressed after a time of mourning has passed. But it seems current events proves to be too stressful for Hamlet's soul. 
Hamlet's true friend Horatio tells him of a remarkable encounter. He saw a ghost, and not just any random specter. The spirit looked just like King Hamlet, and Prince Hamlet decides to find the ghost himself. He sees his father who tells them that he was murdered by his brother Claudius. To prove he isn't going mad, he decides to see if Claudius really did commit regicide against his father. Because if it is true, then he wants nothing short of vengeance.  
The story of Hamlet is not nearly as good as I had expected. And it also is brought down by dialogue that's in Early Modern English which hasn't been relevant in centuries. If thespians and overly-eccentric English teachers want his stories to matter to the newer generations, they need to modernize the speech. That's like making a Three Musketeers movie specially for a American audience and have it only in French. I will say Mel Gibson was pretty darn good as Hamlet and I also liked Stephen Dillane (most famous for portraying Stannis Baratheon on Game of Thrones) as Horatio. It's a shame that the movie bored me.

Score: C+


  1. Hamlet was one of the few Shakespeare plays which I enjoyed, but I agree that having Mel Gibson play the main role would be a little aggravating.
    Not NEARLY as bad as Kevin Costner as frikkin' Robin Hood, though!

  2. Hamlet was one of the few Shakespeare plays which I enjoyed, but I agree that having Mel Gibson play the main role would be a little aggravating.
    Not NEARLY as bad as Kevin Costner as frikkin' Robin Hood, though!

  3. ...didn't see this one.. BUT...we did see 13 HOURS and
    THE REVENANT this week. I was furious all thru 13 HOURS and I nearly froze to death in THE REVENANT.

    1. Ha ha - "13 hours" - I bet you squirmed.
      I have taken US war movies with a grain of salt, especially after the "glorification" by John Wayne of the exploits of the 101 Division in the movie " The Longest Day".
      Dig up John Wayne, Charlton Heston, and "B" grade film actor Ronald Reagan and send them into Syria and the Middle east. Jesus Christ - the war would be won in minutes and the infidels (ISIL) would be all dead.

      And now Ted Cruz has joined Trump in the idiotic and false statements stakes! "Our Gun laws and rape in Australia!!"
      At this rate Cruz, will be joining ex-VP Chenney and that Depp dog lovers on the "not welcomed and go home yank" signs here in Australia.
      So embarrassing for decent US tourists to read and see on the TV news.
      B J Hunnicut aka Colin

    2. 13 HOURS was true to form according to the brave young men that fought the fight there and came home to tell about it.
      John Wayne and those like him are absolutely nothing more than actors, playing a part.
      Happy Australia Day.

    3. Correct "DJ" - I read the report.
      Yes Australia Day was good - you can read reports on Australian links - not good for a vocal minority, the rest of us a good day for enjoying our Freedom.
      The wife of my Nephew - both majors in the Australian Army was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for her role in training women in the Afghan Army, so for my family that was a bonus.
      She was there in the training compound outside Kabal when the rogue Afghan soldier ran amok and killed some Afghan soldiers and wounded the Australian trainers. This happened last year.
      The citation reads:
      MAJOR Danielle Nicole Huggins:
      " For distinguished performance in duties in warlike operations while deployed on Operation Slipper as the female TOLAY platoon commander to the UK led mentoring mission to the Afghan National Officer Academy at Qargha, Kabul from February to September, 2014."
      Her husband, Matthew, my brother's son, was also on patrols in Afghanistan at the same time.
      No Johnny Wayne's about the real thing, eh??

  4. that was back in the prehistoric times when Mel was still normal and didn't go wacko

  5. 1. Adam: You do NOT bastardise Shakespeare for the sake of Americans to understand - Shakespeare is to remain Shakespearean - no IFS or BUTS.
    2. Mel Gibson would have been excellent in this role.
    I suppose you know that he was educated in Australia - has
    an Australian passport and had a lot to do with the Acting Academy here - called NIDA.

    3. You don't win academy awards for under achieving?
    Check Mel's efforts in this department.
    4. He was brilliant as Braveheart and his role in "The Patriot" was outstanding.
    5. I think due to his drinking and drug use, Mel loses the plot at times. Still you can't knock his talent.

    B J Hunnicut aka Colin

  6. To be or not to be...that is the question.

  7. I think I watched this movie in high school... I kind of liked it back then but now I don't know if I would lol


  8. Not sure about the movie, I did watch the play at Central park many years ago!

  9. I thought Mel Gibson was surprisingly good in this, although he was a bit long in the tooth at that point to play Hamlet (who is traditionally portrayed as in his early 20s at most). And, regarding Shakespeare generally, yes it does take a bit of effort to learn how to understand his language but believe me, it's worth it when you do. Shakespeare's poetic images and turns of phrase will stay with you for a lifetime!

  10. Great movie...I'm a Glenn Close fan ;)