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Enlightened Phoenix Group

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Derek Reed
Derek Reed

Hamlet (1996)

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Hamlet (1996)

Hamlet (1996) is an American film adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh (as Hamlet). Other actors of note include: Kate Winslet, Robin Williams, Gérard Depardieu, Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal, Charlton Heston, and Judi Dench among others.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings 'Hamlet' to Blu-ray with a good English 5.1 DTS-MA soundtrack. Overall, the mix is mostly front-heavy as one would expect from a dialogue driven narrative; the good news is that dialogue is always clear and well mixed. Patrick Doyle's enchanting score is the one element that has any significant time in the rear channels. Check for the scene where Hamlet meets his father's spirit for some more aggressive use of LFE and surround sound, but even then, this relatively old surround mix (1996) is limited. Good, but just shy of something really special.

Following a short overview of Branagh's biography and theatre, film, and television work, Crowl devotes a chapter to each film. Through his analysis he recognizes that Branagh's work can be divided into two distinct groups. Branagh's personal films, such as Henry V (1989), Peter's Friends (1992), A Midwinter's Tale (1995), and Love's Labour's Lost (2000), are characterized by sharing a "company ethos in substance and style," with a focus on "the group experience [rather] than on the individual" (12). Branagh's other films, Dead Again (1991), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), and Hamlet (1996), "expand into wider landscapes and, while still tied to the communal experience, they open up avenues for more idiosyncratic personal exploration" (13). The work concludes with an engaging interview with Branagh conducted by the author in 2005. 781b155fdc


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