Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
I'd been watching for this series to come out here in the United States for well over a year. Waiting, not so patiently, and with bated breath. So much so that sometimes I'd have to hyperventilate just to keep the oxygen flowing. I really, really wanted to see this series. I mean, I'd seen the list of shows; I'd seen the roster of actors; I'd seen a lot of the other stuff written by the author; I'd even seen a short clip of one of the actors giving a rendition of one of the speeches from this. So I really, really wanted to see it. And finally (finally!) it was going to be available on DVD in this country. So of course I pre-ordered it. And waited. And waited. Also not so patiently. Until it showed up (finally!) in my mailbox. And now, over this and the next two months, in three installments Da'ud Bob is going to review for you Shakespeare's plays of Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V, all done up as new productions in 2012 by the BBC and presented together as The Hollow Crown. In this installment, Richard II.
Starring Ben ("Q" in the latest James Bond movie Skyfall, and "Ariel" in the 2010 The Tempest to Helen Mirren's "Prospera") Whishaw as King Richard II, Rory Kinnear as Bolingbroke (the same Bolingbroke who becomes Henry IV), Clémence Poésy as Queen Isabella, David ("Hercule Poirot") Suchet as the Duke of York, David Morrissey as Northumberland, Patrick ("Jean Luc Picard" of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and "Macbeth," and Hamlet's father and uncle, among many other roles) Stewart as John of Gaunt, and James Purefoy as Mowbray, Shakespeare's Richard II is one of his historical plays, which put the history of some of the kings of England into a format that could be played on a stage. Richard II is the story of a relatively weak king and his efforts to retain his throne from those who think they could do a better job of it and take it from him.
Good points: The sets! (Not all of the sets were entirely appropriate; for example, some of the "castle" interiors were really filmed in a church full of armorial monuments both of a later date than the setting of the play and inappropriate for the walls and floors of a castle. But I quibble.) The church. The tent. The costumes. (Of course, it is the BBC. They generally tend to do a really good job on the costuming of their period pieces.) The armor. Real mail. The horses. The throwing down, and taking up, of the gauntlets.
Bad points: The horned helm. Not wearing anything under a mail coif. (Ouch! That will pull at your hair!) The wild Welshmen. The ugly crown. I couldn't figure out the one banner; it would be blazoned in heraldic terms as Quarterly, 1 and 4, Or a cross engrailed sable, 2 and 3, Gules a cross moline sable. The first and fourth quarters are the arms of Robert de Giffard (from the time of Henry III) according to Foster's Dictionary of Heraldry, while the second and third quarters are something not often seen in heraldry, color on color (in this case, a black cross on the red shield), and I have been unable to find a name to go with them. So for them to be combined together into a banner seems very unlikely to me, and I have to question the propriety of this banner appearing at all in the production.
Zero breasts. 2½ gallons of blood. Five dead bodies. Mace fu. Sword fu. Crossbow fu. Ax fu. Knife fu. Wave roll. Eight (count 'em, eight) heads roll. Plots thicken. Gratuitous monkey. Gratuitous weeping. Gratuitous St. Sebastian painting. Academy Award nomination to Ben Whishaw as Richard II for bringing Richard II so ethereally to life on the screen. A 57 on the Vomit Meter. 3½ Stars. Da'ud Bob says, "I waited a very long time to see this. Check it out!"
Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!
|Still "in development."||Henry5. A prince seeks redemption by taking on a rebellion that's out to
destroy his father's kingdom. A "sci-fi thriller" version of Shakespeare's
Henry IV and Henry V. Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Gerard Depardieu, and
Vinnie Jones are said to signed up for roles.
No official website yet.
Return to Da'ud Bob Page
Return to Home Page