Hamlet DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.5
Video 9.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features 7.0
Total 8.5
Distributor: BBC
Running Time: 217 Minutes
Classification:
PG
Reviewer: Simon Black

8.5


Hamlet
 

Though Scottish actor David Tennant is best known to audiences as the 10th eponymous incarnation of a certain time travelling Doctor, as well as his role as Barty Crouch in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, his turn as Hamlet won his near-unanimous critical praise and a rapturous audience reception both live and following numerous television screenings of the modern-dress adaptation. 

Forget everything you know about Hamlet, both the man and the play.  This latest Royal Shakespeare Company envisioning, directed by Gregory Doran, is extremely modern in its visuals, a stylistic decision that at first appears somewhat jarring to those of used to seeing out Shakespearean thesps adorned in period dress, page boy haircuts and plenty of chiffon.  Once you immerse yourself in its somewhat atypical milieu, however, the language comes to life as vividly as ever and the juxtaposition of modern costuming with Elizabethan dialogue becomes at once inventive and remarkably effective. 

Tennant in particular is remarkable as the beleaguered Prince of Denmark, haunted by guilt, madness and the ghost of his father.  His performance is alternately infused with pathos, vitality and jags of wry humour, and has been described by more than one critic as the definitive performance of one of the Bard’s best-known creations.  The supporting cast is strong too, with Patrick Stewart winning an Olivier Award for his rather Olivier-like turn as Claudius, and the highly experienced theatre actress Mariah Gale typically excellent as the tragic, doomed Ophelia.   

Roadshow’s new Region 4 DVD release runs over 3 and a half hours, and in addition to a crystal clear 16:9 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a sturdy two-channel audio mix also boasts a couple of truly worthwhile bonus features, namely an illuminating Making Of Documentary and an Audio Commentary with Doran, Producer Sebastian Grant and Director of Photography Chris Seagar.  It’s worthy treatment for such an enthralling release, and the best the Bard has looked in a long long while.






 
 



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