Midsummer Night's Dream, A (1999)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999), directed by Michael Hoffman.

First review

I remember not liking this version very much, but it has grown on me over the years. I still think the fairy tavern scene near the beginning is a low point of old-TV-style bad comedy, but the jumble of acting styles throughout no longer bothers me. MSND is meant to be a zany kaleidoscope of themes.

Any good production must cover these points:

Rich casting, although some -- like Sophie Marceau -- are rather wasted and given little to do.

The young folk are fine, with the exception of a strangely wooden Christian Bale.

Rupert Everett and Michelle Pfeiffer are the warring fairy royalty; I think I have to give him points for erotic potency.

Kevin Kline gives his all for Bottom and does a good job, making him both funny and endearing, which is the whole point.

Good use of Italian opera themes in the score. The Mendelssohn hearkens back to Max Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935).

Available on DVD, 4:3 letterboxed in the US, which is the source of my thumbnails. Needs an upgrade. Anamorphic PAL editions are available.

Second review

Watching an imported Blu-ray makes me like this even more. This is a case where the drastic upgrade in image quality reveals beauty and depth in the composition I had not seen before. A transformation: even the actors all seem better.


The Blu-ray is a region B import from Germany, the "FilmConfect" label. With English audio and subtitles and a few instances of burned-in German subtitles.

This is a lovely presentation, "film-like" as we used to say. It makes the North American non-anamorphic DVD look very sad by comparison. I've seen no sign of a region A upgrade.

The thumbnails are from the Blu-ray.