My Own Private Idaho (1991)

A very fascinating take on Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” plays, along with a somewhat disconnected character story about family (and narcolepsy). The Keanu Reeves material is a fun, fairly straight adaptation of Prince Hal’s arc from the “Henry IV” plays, transposed into a modern hustler world. The River Phoenix material is a more ethereal, stream-of-consciousness type…

Henry V (1989)

Certainly a more interesting adaptation than 1944 Olivier “Henry V”, but far from the masterful heights of Welles’ “Chimes at Midnight”, Branagh’s “Henry V” is an entertaining film full of prestige trappings (very talented cast, fantastic score, an impressive production) but one that feels oddly hollow at times, like there was no greater vision behind…

Chimes at Midnight (1965)

A masterful work of singular vision, where five Shakespeare plays are adapted and reworked to construct a breathtakingly powerful work of cinema shining light on a nuanced take of a character Welles felt a powerful, deep, resonant connection with. The writing alone is magnificent, with the skill behind the arrangement of various scenes and lines…

Henry V (1944)

This adaptation of Shakespeare’s historical epic “Henry V” waters down and simplifies a lot of the text (indeed, it was effectively funded as British propaganda to function as a morale booster during the war, so most of the material that couldn’t be framed jingoistically was cut), but adds a whole new, complicated metatextual layer to…

The Hollow Crown (2012)

“The Hollow Crown” is a series of acclaimed 2012 TV film adaptations of Shakespeare’s Henriad, his epic historical tetralogy covering the reign of multiple English kings. I’ve reviewed them separately as films, but will compile those reviews here to address the overall series. The Hollow Crown: Richard II An excellent adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s…

The Hollow Crown: Henry V (2012)

“The Hollow Crown: Henry V” opens years after the events of the play it’s based on, showing the titular character’s funeral procession, lingering on a shot of his dead face as the title card “Henry V, by William Shakespeare” flashes on-screen. This inclusion is not part of Shakespeare’s play, nor of most other adaptations. It…

Norse Mythology (2017) by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman skillfully retells and arranges numerous Norse myths here into a cohesive novelistic arc, bringing aspects of the modern novel (character development, worldbuilding, linear plotting, cohesive thematics) to very ancient, very disparate folklore. Gaiman makes it feel natural, well-integrated, compelling, so much so that it seems an obvious direction after-the-fact, but Gaiman was the one…