With all due respect to awomanthatsblue
I liked it a lot. I'm certainly not qualified to go on about it, but
out of the people I've seen playing Hamlet, David Tennant is definitely the most attractive
-- what I mean to say, of course, is that I thought I was going to be meh about the switches to security-tape footage, but I ended up not minding at all. What clicked it for me was Hamlet recording the Players' performance: watching a recording a play mirroring a play...
(two thoughts about the players: 1) how awesome was including the Murder of Gonzago AND the Priam/Hecuba speech, which isn't exactly unthematic at all. 2) The staging of Murder of Gonzago = possibly in part the RSC's dig at the Globe?)
This is not news to anyone, but there is so much in Hamlet about performing (like, the entire play) for others/against an ideal/against others and viewing, and acting for a viewer/according to a directing persons' instructions. And so I liked the mirrors/cameras/Hamlet navel-gazing and recording himself. I think having Hamlet taping his own soliloquies got toward some of the extra meta-theatrical baggage that is a result of Hamlet
being such a canonical play.
(I think that the main staging choice I didn't like was the duct-taped to a chair interrogation scene in the basement. Similarly I'm not sure it was really necessary to drug Hamlet before sending him off to England. Also, I may have an anti- gritty and realistic compulsion).
Anyway: David Tennant as Hamlet. I thought the wild-eyed and wound-up thing worked pretty well: the first scene with Claudius and Gertrude and Hamlet was really really amazing, and while not every other scene was that good, on the balance I really liked it. Um what else? Hamlet really wants R. and G. not to be fakes and is genuinely upset when they are? Oh Mr. Tennant, you broke my heart with that.
Gertrude I also thought was fantastic. My experience isn't broad in this, but I definitely had not seen a Gertrude knows exactly what she's doing when she drinks the poison version before. Also, the big Hamlet-Gertrude followed by Gertrude-Claudius scene was devastating.
Patrick Stewart! The thing is: Patrick Steward now looks like Captain Picard crossed with my beloved third grade teacher crossed with certain members of my dad's family, and this combination does not tend to make me think of evil. No actually, I really liked his Claudius: someone who can easily hide his wickedness, because, come on, who is going to suspect Patrick Steward
of villainy? And he smiled and was affabl(y evil), and it wasn't obviously fake
, even if you knew that it was. And it makes Claudius that much scarier
(Clearly an excess of italics in that paragraph: don't judge.)
I don't think I've ever read or seen Hamlet when Ophelia's character arc completely made sense to me, so I tend just not to worry about it.
Random Hamlet thought: "Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I" is a really weird soliloquy in light of the fact that Hamlet is probably a more immediately recognizable figure than Hecuba.