Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kenneth Branagh's As You Like It

...Books in running brooks and sermons in stones...

I am a huge fan of Branagh's overwrought Much Ado About Nothing and much less fond of his overwrought Hamlet. I think that's because Shakespeare's comedies have emotional and dramatic depths that need to be brought out, while his tragedies need direction that emphasizes subtlety (I've never seen KB's Henry or Othello or other films so I reserve judgement on those).

But due to the impressions detailed above, I was really looking forward to last night's HBO As You Like It premiere... and for the most part, I wasn't disappointed. The cinematography or whatever you have it was lush, and the music was absolutely, numblingly gorgeous. I thought the perfomances of Rosalind, Celia, and Orlando were close to astounding--full of the kind of flirtatious wit that makes Shakespeare's comedies so wonderful.

Now, for my quibbles: all in all, there was too much delcaiming of the Bard's language--some of it could have been quicker, more naturalistic. I found Kevin Kline's Jaques a little bit flat--does anyone remember how wonderful his Bottom was in the Midsummer Night's Dream of a few years back? I feel like he's become a self-parody--and my mom pointed out that the Robin Williams resemblance is getting too uncanny.

But enough complaints. Any beautiful new Shakespeare adaptation is welcome. Alfred Molina was a superbTouchstone, and all the pastoral characters were lots of fun, and there was definitely this very 1960s era earth-child vibe to the whole thing, even though it was set in Japan, that I found kind of groovy. Even if this play has less weight than Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, or The Tempest, it's a very fun and clever one, and the language makes it golden.

So be sure to catch it on reruns if you have not already!

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