Hamlet: A Tragedy (Review)

5 Jun

Okay, so last night my mom and I got the VCR hooked up so we could watch the Royal Shakespeare Company’s version of Hamlet! Why? Because David Tennant’s in it. That’s why. For me, at least.

I went into Hamlet knowing about this: It’s a story about this guy named Hamlet and he tries to kill somebody or something.

Yeah… Thus begins the Review!!

It takes something to keep me interested in a movie for three hours. Lord of the Rings does it. And David Tennant.

The story, in case you were wondering, is about Hamlet, and as a genius person put up on Café Press in shirt-form, “Hamlet: The Original Emo Kid”. When Hamlet’s father dies, his mother marries Hamlet’s uncle (Hamlet’s dad’s brother). Hamlet doesn’t really like that, seeing as it is within two months of his dad dying. When Hamlet is informed by a friend (Horatio) that he has witness a ghost of Hamlet’s father walking at midnight, Hamlet tags along to investigate. He meets the specter (Man, I love using that word!), and it tells him that he must avenge his father’s murder! Hamlet learns that Claudius, his uncle, poisoned his father whilst he slept in the garden, to get his wife and the crown! So, Hamlet sets off to kill his uncle-step-father. He tests to see if Claudius is guilty by showing a play (“The play’s the thing!) that involves a guy killing a lady’s husband and then marrying the lady. Claudius gets very upset and leaves, proving his guilt.

Well, there’s a lot of stuff in between that and the end, including some more of Hamlet’s emo-ness (“To be or not to be, that is the question!”) and talking about how everything on earth is bad and all his mirth has left him, etc., etc. But I’ll just skip to the good part.

Hamlet shoots this one guy (I can’t remember his name…) who works for the Denmark royalty (I forgot to say they’re in Denmark this whole time!) sort of accidentally, and it drives his daughter, “The Fair Ophelia” insane. Like, more insane than Hamlet. She eventually drowns herself accidentally. The murder of his father also brings Laertes, the murdered guy’s son. He gets really ticked off and Claudius and him plan to murder Hamlet while having a fencing tournament: Laertes doesn’t use a blunt sword, he uses a sharp one with incurable poison on it. And, if Laertes doesn’t strike Hamlet, Claudius will give him some wine with poison in it. So, during the fencing tournament, Hamlet’s mom (Who is now guilt-sticken, thanks to Hamlet bombarding her with how evil and wicked a deed did) drinks from the chalice that was meant for Hamlet, purposefully. She dies. Hamlet gets mad, as does Laertes, and Laertes slashes at him and cuts him (NOO!!), but, in his own poor sword handling, cuts himself. Hamlet realizes he is to die, and grabs the sword, and the chalice, and forces Claudius to pick between poison sword and poison cup. He chooses the drink, and dies alongside Hamlet’s mom. Laertes dies, and Hamlet begins to follow, but not without talking to Horatio (His friend, remember, who told him about the ghost?) and refusing the let Horatio kill himself too, by spilling the contents of the drink on the floor.

The End.

Okay, NOW we’ll get into the actual review. Man, I’m taking a leap to be reviewing Shakespeare!

In my opinion, David Tennant as Hamlet and Patrick Stuart as Claudius really did well. You probably know David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who, and Patrick Stuart as Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Both are splendid actors. Although seeing David Tennant weeping and then acting completely bonkers was a bit…odd.

The story was good, although I think it’s really more of an ‘adult’ or at least an older teenager kind of plot. I don’t think I really am a Tragedy person…Too depressing. Although, amazingly, I didn’t cry in the movie at all. Weird.

David Tennant did great as Hamlet, though. There actually were some funny bits with him in there, and every so often, if you listen really carefully, you can hear some of his Scottish accent sneaks out (He’s Scottish, but you’d never guess that because he does a SPOT ON British one. I wonder where he learned…Because I want to speak with a British accent!) every so often. Although, his role in this is much darker than in Doctor Who, and I like better as a two-hearted Time Lord than an emo kid.

The story, though, was pretty good. Really, there were only two things that were weird, and I think they added it in:

  1. During the play, Hamlet was really weird around Ophelia. I didn’t like her, but apparently he did…There was another thing during the play which was just weird and kind of inappropriate, so I won’t put it on here.
  2. When Ophelia went insane, she started running around in nothing but her undies. Awkward…

They probably added that in because it was actually set in modern times, so…yes.

So, moral of the story: I don’t like tragedies and David Tennant as an emo scares me.


I forgot to say this, but I always suggest putting on subtitles when watching a Shakespearean play made into a movie. These guys all have British accents and coupled with a bunch of big or just not oft used words, it is almost impossible to tell what the heck these guys are saying. We lasted about three minutes into it before we decided to go back and turn subtitles on.


8 Responses to “Hamlet: A Tragedy (Review)”

  1. Bluee June 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Dang! Hamlet sounds like an Emo James Bond!

  2. Bluee June 5, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Oh gosh. This does sound weird. How can you accidentally kill yourself? Wait, I got one.

    *Readies grenade* Where to throw it? Hmm..*Scratches head. It explodes.*

    I know a British man. Well, I know him through my dad. My grandma has been to the UK several times and has brought me back some little figurines of soldiers in bearskin caps and Scotsmen. Another time, she brought me back the UK version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

    Out of 5 stars, how many do you give this movie?

    • smlaarg June 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

      3.5. And that many because David Tennant did an EXCELLENT job as Hamlet.

  3. glasian23 June 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    David Tennant :]] ❤

  4. Martin II June 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Hamlet is much much better in the original Klingon. (Star Trek joke).

    But really, when set in the real 1400’s setting its better. The reason Hamlet kills Polonius is because he thinks it’s Claduis hiding behind the curtain instead. Yes, while it isn’t so obvious in the original, Hamlet is a little creepy around Ophelia. And Ophelia drowned herself on purpose in the play. I watched one version where there was an excellent Ophelia, she did the crazy thing perfectly. Hamlet isn’t so Emo in the play, I mean after all, he really loved his father. And what about the grave diggers? Don’t tell me they cut out the grave diggers!! They were the best part!

    • smlaarg June 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

      They didn’t cut out the grave diggers. And thanks for clarifying that bit. 🙂

      Have you seen the version I’m talking about?

  5. Martin II June 6, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    No. Only two versions, one my sister’s high school put on and one I saw in my GATE class.

    • smlaarg June 6, 2010 at 9:40 am #

      I see. GATE would explain all of your pretty-darn-spot-on reporting back at your blog. 🙂 I try to stay out of news reporting because if I did it from my conservative stand point, my liberal friends might get ticked at me. Of course, I did actually do the news last year for current events unbiased, and supposedly was good at it.

      But that’s off topic. 😛

      This is the first Shakespeare play/movie I’ve ever seen, but I’m already off to a bad start with tragedies. I found the ending rather abrupt and was disappointed that there was no glimmer of hope. But that’s what made it tragic, I suppose.

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