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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > Stage > British TV > Hamlet (2009/BBC Blu-ray)

Hamlet (2009/BBC Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Mini-Series: C+



Shakespeare’s classic Hamlet has been done to death on film, TV, stage and now in High Definition.  To stand out, you have to do something different and the combination of two big stars from hit Science Fiction TV is definitely aimed as an entry-level work for those who want to add more literature to their lives beyond that genre.  The BBC hired revival Doctor Who David Tennant as the title character and Star Trek sequel series success Patrick Stewart (also of the X-Men films) to play Cassius in Gregory Duran 2009 Mini-Series for the BBC, now on Blu-ray by the BBC.


The twist here is yet another attempt to update the work and though they do a better job than the Mel Gibson version and about as well as the Ethan Hawke version, the result of the 182 minutes is longer than it likely should have been and an often uneven production.  As part of this Royal Shakespeare Company production, it is still a good professional production and hardly the last we will ever see of this work, but it just does not distinguish itself, try as it may, from the best production (the Kenneth Branagh version comes to mind, for instance), but they did not ruin it and the updating of the language will work for some.  Purists may have issues with that, but that was a feature that actually helped.


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image is shot in High Definition video and has some softness throughout at the edges and motion blur that get in the way of enjoying this, while the PCM 2.0 Stereo has some Pro Logic surrounds, but is well- recorded, warm and rich enough to enjoy.  Extras include a Making of featurette and feature-length audio commentary by Doran and co-stars Sebastian Grant and Chris Seager.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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