"No one is a bigger Kenneth Brangah fan than I am, but this version of Hamlet (which aired on the Odyssey channel a year ago) far surpasses his grandiose attempt, and is simply the best I have seen, better than Oliver and Gibson and all those others (but still watch 'Discovering Hamlet' if you have a chance...great behind the scenes of a young Kenneth's stage version). But back to this film....it is a wonderful adaptation of the greatest play about modern man ever written, a good solid cutting which, unlike Kenneth's film version, keeps the story moving along and doesn't drag out every line which may have been necessary for the story to be told properly in Shakespeare's time, but isn't as neccessary for the film world of today. But the cutting still keeps everything important and wonderful about the play. Campbell Scott is PERFECT as Hamlet; the makers of this film did not try too hard to update it, but they certainly showed how even more relevant Hamlet is today as the complete and utter picture of modern man. The other actors are great; the actress who played Ophelia (a black woman--another great twist and angle to Ophelia and Hamlet's complex relationship)is brilliant in the scenes when she goes crazy...with the lewd and disturbing songs Shakespeare wrote, she really takes things to another level. The three most memorable scenes....the scene that Hamlet sees his father's ghost (the ghost comes out of the sand with some great special effects); a wonderful staging of the scene where Ophelia helps her father spy on Hamlet; and a stunning adaptation of Hamlet's famous monologue. Such a wonderful version. So worth the extra money if you really want to own a fantastic version of Hamlet. Especially great for teachers who want their English/drama classes how revolutionary Shakespeare really was. And hey! It was on the Odyssey channel so it's completely school appropriate..."
G. Gadd | Lincolnshire, England | 05/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Campell Scott's "Hamlet" for the first (but certainly not the last!) time last week for my Renaissance Literature class. I instantly fell in love.The setting (which is a beautiful house on Long Island, between 1880 and 1920, for those of you who were wondering) is lush, colorful, and exciting, which is a huge change from the typical drafty, cold, dark castle in which we see Hamlet sulking around. The cast does amazing work with their interpretations -- Campell Scott and LisaGay Harding's being two of the most original I've seen yet -- and are all believable characters, not at all overacted. The cuts in the script are understandable (they had a three-hour limit), and work very well. Polonius works surprisingly well as a respectable elderly right-hand man to the king, rather than a bumbling idiot who likes to hear himself talk.Also, the music in the film is gorgeous and engaging -- it is contemporary jazz, the main instruments being piano, drums, and trumpet, but it works beautifully with the film. It is rather unpredictable and subtle, in that it doesn't always tell you when you should pay attention to the action. Finally, a sountrack that plays to the intelligence of the audience, rather than pandering to it!My class was fortunate enough to have Campbell Scott (who is an alumnus of my university) come in and talk with us about the interpretive choices they made while making the film, and after I heard what he had to say, I loved it even more. I highly recommend it for anyone who is a fan of Shakespeare -- it is a fresh, original, believable take on an old classic, but it stays true to Shakespeare's intent with dignity and class. Five stars!"
The most believable Hamlet
Delonda Hartmann | Muncie, IN USA | 04/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I teach Shakespeare classes to adults and have a personal collection of seven VHS and DVD versions of Hamlet. Campbell Scott is by far the most believable, and my students have chosen it as their favorite version. Claudius is pefect--a smiling smiling villain absolutely capable of secucing his sister-in-law and murdering his brother. The casting of Polonius, Ophelia and Laertes worked well. The second choice of my students is the Mel Gibson, which had been number one until they saw Campbell Scott. The scene in the room where they have stored away all reminders of the old king is brilliant. Great film."
Campbell Scott's Hamlet
Deborah Shepherd | Midland, VA USA | 02/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was moved and fascinated by Scott's performance and direction. I "collect" Hamlets, and am very glad to have come across this one. Scott's version isn't the full text, but the abridgements, to my mind, only highlight the dramatic pulses of this riveting play. Scott brought the Prince to full, round life; I have only wept twice when Hamlet died, and this was the second time. The often-debated madness that overtakes both Hamlet and Ophelia were extremely well-founded and very well-acted here. I cannot recommend this "Hamlet" too highly, especially to someone who is curious about what all the shouting is about but is afraid to run up against Shakespeare. Scott's movie is accessible and eminently watchable."
A Wonderful Surprise
C. Longworth | Acushnet, MA USA | 08/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I admit I hadn't heard of Campbell Scott, but felt I should watch a little bit of it on principle. But -- wow! -- it was so good, I watched it all and can't wait to get the video for myself and a copy for the public library in which I work. I thought it was a very fresh piece of acting by Scott and also the supporting cast. Can't wait to see what the teenagers think of it--it's not as stodgy as the older versions like Jacobi's and Oliver's, and not as long as Branagh's excellent version."