Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 adaptation of Hamlet is a great way to enjoy the popular Shakespeare play. While I found the film to be quite lengthy, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a film version of the story I only knew a little bit about from reading an excerpt of Hamlet in high school. I think Kenneth Branagh did an excellent job in making the screen play into a movie. Everything in every scene couldn’t have been done more perfectly. Better yet is the cast, with actors like Kenneth Branagh himself, as Hamlet, Kate Winslet as Ophelia, Billy Crystal, and Robin Williams among many other great actors.
The tragedy starts with just that, tragedy, the death of Hamlet’s Father, the king. The movie starts out with the watchmen on duty seeing an apparition of some kind, which they later learn is Hamlet’s deceased father. The watchmen decide to tell Hamlet of this strange apparition after Hamlet’s mother, the queen’s wedding to her brother in law. While the wedding is going on and after the ceremony, Hamlet is clearly distraught. The queen is marrying Hamlet’s father’s brother only two short months after his father’s sudden death. The watchmen tell Hamlet of the strange apparition that is haunting them nightly and Hamlet is curious, he wants to see it for himself. In my favorite scene of the entire movie, Hamlet runs through the foggy woods that night, yelling, screaming for his father’s tragic passing. He gets a response from his father’s spirit; his father’s voice speaks in the most bone chilling voice. He tells Hamlet that his death was “most cruel and most unnatural” and he makes this very clear, saying it more than once. He says his brother snuck up on him while he was asleep in the orchard and poured a leprous mixture into his ear. The King’s own brother committed the deed that made him fall ill and die almost immediately. Before disappearing into the night, the apparition says to Hamlet “Remember me!” This experience is of course very emotional for Hamlet....
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