A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The full title of this film is:

"William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Every word of that is necessary.

First of all, they need to specify "Shakespeare's" so that cretins and Philistines like us don't get it confused with the Mickey Spillane version. I didn't read the whole title, so I was confused at first, but I finally determined that it wasn't the Mickster's version as soon as someone said "but soft ..." . You don't hear that many "harks" and "but softs" in the Mike Hammer stories. Also, I noticed right away that nobody was wearing a fedora, and that they called the women "m'lady" instead of "dollface".

Second, they need to let us know it is "William" Shakespeare to distinguish it from his distant great nephew Chuck Shakespeare, the fiberglass fishing pole guy. Chuck also had a version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, although his big summer dream mostly involved catching a bunch of smallmouth bass.

Could it have been only four years ago that Calista Flockhart was a big enough star to be considered for a starring role in a prestigious Shakespearian adaptation? It seems like that must have been back in the 1940s.


Calista Flockart and Anna Friel did nude scenes in which they showed absolutely nothing.

Two water-nymphs showed their breasts half submerged.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen, letterboxed

  • no meaningful features

The director relocated the story into Tuscany in the late 19th century, which created some gimmicky uses for bicycles. The fairy portion of the story, of course, is timeless, so it can co-exist with any time frame. The words are Shakespeare's, except for the part where Kevin Kline dies bravely of cancer, which Kline's contract requires in every film.

I'm not sure if the world needs another completely verbatim interpretation of a Shakespeare play, but it grossed $16 million dollars, which is more than I would have expected, so there are still plenty of fans out there who appreciate a good effort, which this is - it's breezy, relatively friendly to contemporary ears, and lush.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.3/10, but Yahoo voters were more enthusiastic, weighing in with a B+ verdict.
  • Box Office Mojo. It was budgeted at $20 million for production. It grossed sixteen million dollars in its theatrical release.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. Solid Shakespeare. Glittering appearance.

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