Watch A Midsummer Night's Dream
- 1 hr 56 min
In the 1999 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, director Michael Hoffman takes on the challenge of bringing the beloved comedic play to the big screen. The film boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, and Calista Flockhart, among others. The story takes place in Athens, where Duke Theseus (Kline) is preparing to marry the Amazon queen Hippolyta (Pfeiffer). At the same time, four young lovers become entangled in a web of mistaken identities, magical spells, and supernatural creatures. Meanwhile, a group of amateur actors (led by Everett as the over-the-top Bottom) are preparing to perform a play for the royal wedding.
Hoffman's adaptation stays largely faithful to the original text, while adding some modern twists and visual flair. One of the film's most memorable aspects is its use of special effects and playful visuals to bring the magical elements of the story to life. For example, the fairies who inhabit the forest are depicted as glowing, glowing creatures who flit around the screen like fireflies. When Puck (a mischievous fairy played by Stanley Tucci) casts spells on the unsuspecting characters, the camera spins and the visuals become distorted to show the characters' confusion and disorientation.
The cast is also a highlight of the film, with Kline in particular giving a standout performance as both the serious Duke and the bumbling amateur actor who takes on the role of Pyramus in the play. Pfeiffer is as enchanting as ever, bringing both strength and vulnerability to her role as the captured queen. Flockhart, meanwhile, is charming as the lovestruck Hermia, while Christian Bale and Dominic West round out the quartet of confused lovers. Everett steals the show, however, with his flamboyant portrayal of Bottom. Whether he's hamming it up for the other actors, or unwittingly becoming the plaything of the fairy queen Titania (played by Anna Friel), Everett's performance is a delight to watch.
Despite its strong cast and impressive visuals, the film does have some detractors, who argue that Hoffman's changes to the source material (such as adding a prologue and changing the ending) are unnecessary and detract from the original work. Additionally, some criticize the film's pacing and overall tone, which can feel rushed and disjointed at times. However, for fans of Shakespeare and/or romantic comedies, A Midsummer Night's Dream is a veritable feast for the eyes and ears.
Overall, A Midsummer Night's Dream is a charming and whimsical adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays. The visually stunning special effects, combined with the talented cast and memorable soundtrack (which features songs by artists like Elvis Costello and Mary Chapin Carpenter), make for a delightful viewing experience. While some may quibble with Hoffman's changes to the source material, the film ultimately succeeds in capturing the spirit and magic of Shakespeare's text.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1999 fantasy movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 56 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 61.