Below are trailers for three of the most acclaimed film adaptations of “Hamlet”. Each has their own qualities and failings. Each, however, for different reasons, is worth watching.
For example, the 2009 version starring David Tennant is a filming of the stage version. Consequently, the performances are as you would see them in a top-drawer theatre production. The whole cast is excellent. However, becuase of the theatre performances, some critics felt the whole thing was a bit OTT.
They’re wrong, mind, but that’s what they said.
The next is a production by one of Britain’s most famous Shakespearian actors, Kenneth Branagh (his version of Henry V is very good).
Filmed in 70mm, the film looks glorious; production of sets, lighting, sound is all absolutely top-notch, and Branagh’s performance as Hamlet is exceptional.
The film also uses some cunning techniques and interpretations (for example, the idea of Hamlet’s soliloquy being witnessed…) which add real life to the text.
Be warned, though, the film runs the full length of the script to FOUR HOURS. Thank goodness it’s as good as it is.
This final recommendation is for the adaptation by famed Italian director, Franco Zeffirelli, and featuring Mel “Lethal Weapon/ Braveheart/ Etc.” Gibson.
The film is visually exactly what most people imagine the drama to be and, as such, is probably a good first version to see. It is a shortened script, though, to get the film in at just over two hours. Despite the Hollywood cast and production values, this version rips along and gives the viewer a really strong impression of the play.