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Theseus, Duke of Athens, is going to marry Hyppolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Demetrius is engaged with Hermia, but Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius. Oberon and Titania, of the ... See full summary »
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Shakespeare's intertwined love polygons begin to get complicated from the start--Demetrius and Lysander both want Hermia but she only has eyes for Lysander. Bad news is, Hermia's father wants Demetrius for a son-in-law. On the outside is Helena, whose unreturned love burns hot for Demetrius. Hermia and Lysander plan to flee from the city under cover of darkness but are pursued by an enraged Demetrius (who is himself pursued by an enraptured Helena). In the forest, unbeknownst to the mortals, Oberon and Titania (King and Queen of the faeries) are having a spat over a servant boy. The plot twists up when Oberon's head mischief-maker, Puck, runs loose with a flower which causes people to fall in love with the first thing they see upon waking. Throw in a group of labourers preparing a play for the Duke's wedding (one of whom is given a donkey's head and Titania for a lover by Puck) and the complications become fantastically funny. Written by
There have been many adaptations of Shakespeare plays over the last decade or so, most of them aimed squarely at younger viewers. You know the drill: The director picks out rocking, hip tunes to spice up the soundtrack and some hot, young stars to broadly interpret the Bard's work.
That's not the case here. Kevin Kline gets to ham it up as Nick Bottom, the base mechanical with delusions of thespian grandeur, and Michelle Pfeiffer gets to show off her own acting chops as Titania, the Queen of the fairies. Okay, so maybe a little knowledge of the play itself would help the average viewer, but if you're not a fan of the play, you can still witness some absolutely sumptuous camerawork and some funny, funny scenes - many of them dealing with the spellbound Bottom, who's been turned into a jackass. Stanley Tucci underplays (somewhat surprisingly) his role as the mischievous Puck, and even Callista Flockhart turns in a solid performance as one of four human (non-fairy) lovers.
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