I know what you’re thinking. A movie review? But I though this was a blog about taking ugly things and making them pretty! Well, you’re not wrong. I’ve just decided to expand my horizons, that’s all. I’m applying my same mindset of taking one point of view and changing it into another to things like movies, music, actors, people, maybe even politics if I’m feeling dull. I often find that there’s a ray of light in an otherwise bleak background of a lame excuse for a feature film, and I thought that those little rays deserved a shout out, a little love. (Even if it is a very small amount.)
Royal Deceit (also known as The Prince of Jutland) takes Shakespeare’s Hamlet back to it’s original Danish roots, and not in a good way. The plot’s the same, but with some differences. The King of Jutland, (which is in Denmark) is murdered along with his eldest son by his greedy brother who them marries the newly widowed queen. The King’s younger son, Hamlet (wait, no, it’s Amled) apparently goes crazy but in reality is plotting his revenge against his uncle who is now his stepfather. It differs in that there isn’t a coinciding role for Ophelia, though Amled does roll in the hay with a nice lass before falling in love later on. It’s all very nice, with some off-screen battles and tom-foolery to boot.There are also differences in character names, (Gertrude- Geruth; Claudius- Fenge (don’t ask), as well as other not-so-important characters.) as well as in overall production and show. (As in bad production and a no show audience.)
The cast list is fair, with but to be honest, Christian Bale is really the only reason to watch this. He does the best with what he has playing Amled, who barks and crows shamelessly, but is not afraid to drop the act to drop his pants with some nice farm girl who might be a nod to Ophelia, but it’s doubtful since he forgets about this random girl (who Fenge sent to spy on Amled, but that backfired since she slept with him so…) and falls in love with some princess later on. Gabriel Byrne plays Fenge, but he always looks confused and worried. (Not that he doesn’t have reason to feel so.) Helen Mirren plays Geruth, the loving and timid mother of Amled and Queen of Jutland. She falls in love with her husband’s brother the day he murders him, then doesn’t speak to her madness-ridden child (her last surviving, I might add) until he comes out as sane to her. At which point she believes him fully and helps him burn his uncle and her new husband alive. So aside from believing everything she is told all the time by everyone and being a little bipolar, she’s an asset. There are some rough looking thugs backing up Fenge, but they mostly look like they want a drink. However, I recognized one of them (Ribold) from a TV show called The Tudors and another (Frovin) from Trainspotting, which is a favorite. Oh, and Tom Wilkinson and Andy Serkis showed up as other minor characters. And that chick that Amled falls in love with later on? Yeah, that was Kate Beckinsale, so can we really blame him for forgetting Farm Girl One after seeing the princess Ethel? (The correct answer is no, in case you were wondering.)
So despite a nicely rounded out cast, this was more of a flop than Newsies. (Sorry Christian.) They had all these cool things happen but they never showed them! A paranormal encounter, a war, a murder all were told to us by a narrator that reached bored at best. And yet, I can’t help but watch this movie over and over and over and over and- well, it’s quite terrible how many times I’ve seen this, actually. So why do I keep going back for more? Maybe it’s Bale’s hilariously passive aggressive speeches that sound crazy but allude to his father’s murder, stirring guilt and fear in the stomach of his uncle. Maybe it’s seeing Gollum hanging out with Spud, though the possibility of the two of them heading over to Mother Superior and shooting up isn’t such a stretch. Or Tom Wilkinson (who will forever be Lord Cornwallis from The Patriot in my mind) hanging out with the rest of these misfits. It’s pretty great. And I’m only marginaly ashamed at the fact that I can recite Amled’s “thieves” speech. Just a little sad. So if you’ve got Netflix, pop this ugly baby on and watch it out of the corner of your eye as you cook dinner. Who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love with the stick-chewing, poor-script, excessive sobbing nature of this memorable flick. (or not)
Don’t forget the glitter- iamtheseventies.
For Your Enjoyment. 🙂