Movie Review: Bastardized Bard? “Hamlet/Horatio”

Shakespeare has suffered much in the centuries since his death.

The plays that made him immortal have been rendered into musicals and science fiction and Westerns, Samurai epics and gangster tales. And yet he’s survived spinoffs (“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”), high schools turning “The Taming of the Shrew” into a pizza fight (I was there), Glenn Close playing Mel Gibson’s mother and Keanu and Leo.

So he will be around long after the instantly-forgettable bastardization that is “Hamlet/Horatio,” an “experiment” in rethinking “Hamlet,” the producers say, seeing his tragedy through the eyes of his pal Horatio.

That’s a lie, by the way. This is just “Hamlet Made Badly,” framing the story within the making of a film of the badly-acted, tone-deaf rewriting of the play, a “film” with stylized sets out of every Little Theatre production you’ve ever seen of “Hamlet,” the ones that could afford smoke machines.

Horatio (Themo Melikidze), for those who know the play, is a substantial character and the first one we meet, his entrance coming before the Prince of Denmark’s (Andrew Burdette). So the conceit itself isn’t idiotic.

But “going with it,” as we say in movie-watching land, is a chore I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

The execution…ugh. It’s not the play, but it kind of is — just rendered in stupor-inducing dullness acted in cringeworthy, unaffecting amateurish strokes.

The Hamlet is the least interesting, most blank-faced mealy-mouthed bore I’ve ever seen anointed with the greatest role in the English language.

This is uncinematic, unShakespearean and unworthy of wasting the savings of whatever relatives financed this unwatchable indulgence.

MPA Rating: unrated

Cast: Andrew Burdette, Themo Melikidze, Anna Maria Cianciulli, Michael Elian, Phage Nolte

Credits: Directed by Paul Warner, script by David Vando, borrowed from Shakespeare. A Glass House release.

Running time: 1:41

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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