Transposing the Athenian comedy to Southern California, Casey Wilder Mott takes his bow as a feature director with a sensuous, silly and superbly cast version, one whose visually vibrancy matches its feel for the language.
The most enjoyable movie experience in long time. A brilliant whimsical interpretation of what previously had not been one of my favorite plays. It is now. WS would love this. Exceptionally clever. This movie is going to be a really BIG DEAL!
Worthy of the Bard! I cringe a little each time a novel Shakespeare staging comes out (I shouldn’t of course – Shakespeare is nothing if not adaptable to everyone and everywhere) but this lives up to the depth and layering, the flippancy and seriousness, the timeless themes in the mouths of silly children so often and in so many ways, it is pure joy and Shakespeare himself would have loved it. Puck as a talented surfer dude, Theseus as a movie mogul, Helena as a poet, Oberon as an assured underworld hipster-what perfect roles! The language cut up and dislocated and juxtaposed among texts and projections and different speakers (yet shockingly well spoken) but by the book, the framing within framing so naturally expressed and even expanded in our cell phones, photos, videos, movies, and lives-what fun! Fresh and perfect! Casey Mott is the right kind of Shakespeare nerd, one who gets that these are stories for all of us and that there is always one more layer and one more joke to be had-Hurray! Congratulations! Let’s have more!
Mott, who started out in Hollywood working in the fabled William Morris Agency mailroom, nimbly choreographs all the updating, resulting in a breezy, cute-and-clever confection that’s tailor-made for a sultry midsummer’s night.
I've seen several versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream on both film and stage, and this was by far the least successful. The filmmaker was influenced by Baz Luhrmann, and completely modernized the story, including having some of the dialogue shown in text on smart phones. Some of the inventions don't work for me: when Bottom turns into an "ass" his face becomes a person's rear end, and the theatrical group becomes a film crew who do a spoof on Star Wars. The mostly young actors are not up to the task of performing the Shakespearean dialogue. Somehow, making this a totally modern play (except for the language) with modern locations takes much of the magic out of the play for me. The 1999 version with Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeiffer was much better.