Hamlet (1990) Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield Movie Review

Hamlet (1990)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Mel Gibson in Hamlet (1990)

Bard on a Wire

Struggling with the death of his father (Paul Scofield, Hamlet (Mel Gibson), the prince of Denmark, must gaze on as his mother Gertrude (Glenn Close) waste's no time in marrying his uncle, Claudius (Alan Bates) who assumes the throne. But Hamlet receives a visit from the ghost of his father who claims his death was in fact murder and that it was Claudius who was behind it. Angered, Hamlet vows revenge for his father's murder but between his procrastinating and elements of self doubt things don't work well.

I was once called a philistine by a movie critic when I had mentioned that the only Shakespeare I had read was Macbeth which I had to do as part of school work. The thing is his insult did nothing to spur me on to read other works by Shakespeare or venture into theatre land to see them performed on stage. But it didn't deter me either and whilst I don't go out of my way to watch adaptations of Shakespeare's novel on the screen I have watched a few, although I am yet to be blown away by any of the versions I have watched.

That brings me to "Hamlet" the Franco Zeffirelli version from 1990 famous more for starring Mel Gibson and a host of famous names than for being anything special. Now I have read other opinions, some claim it is butchery to take "Hamlet" and not only leave things out whilst playing with the timeline whilst I have read how the changes help to make it work as a movie. Well of course I don't know whether the changes help or not what I so know is that despite the cast this version did little to engage me which is what I really wanted. Yes I wanted a Shakespeare movie whilst traditional had the appeal to those who don't do Shakespeare and this isn't it.

As such this philistine watched Mel Gibson and his co-stars in "Hamlet" and what it felt like was actors delivering their lines putting in some mannerisms but never once delivering character. It makes watching "Hamlet" a taxing experience and whilst not lifeless never delivering the electrifying performances that grab the audience and gets them involved.

What this all boils down to is that "Hamlet" technically is an okay production with some nice sets and a subtle score. But as someone who doesn't do "Shakespeare it did little to convert me in to seeking out another adaptation of Shakespeare in a hurry.