Friday, September 23, 2016

TV Review: The Hollow Crown: Henry V (2012)

The Hollow Crown: Henry V (2012) directed by Thea Sharrock based on the play by Shakespeare

In 2012, England hosted the Summer Olympics. The BBC decided to have a "Cultural Olypiad" which included a series of William Shakespeare's historical play. In the first series, they presented Richard IIHenry IV Part IHenry IV Part II, and Henry V.

Prince Hal (Tom Hiddleston) is now King Henry V. He wants to re-establish England's rule over France. His claim is a bit sketchy but when the Dauphin sends him a box full of tennis balls to mock him, Henry gears up to go. Politics mostly take a back seat to reflections on war, honor, duty, and the amazing transformation of party boy Prince Hal into noble and just warlord King Henry V.

The story is, of course, great. Hiddleston does a fine job transforming from the foppish prince to a respectable, if not respected, head of state. He's convincing in giving the great speeches and in fighting the big battles. The battles are filmed in realistic settings with all the grime and blood of war, making this very much a film version and not a stage production. Even so, the Chorus (who provides a running commentary and often asks the audience to imagine the greater scale of events that can't be presented on a theatrical stage) is retained for the production. He is mostly voice over and works for the film.

This movie is a very satisfying finale to the first series of The Hollow Crown. A second series was produced in 2016 including the Henry VI plays and Richard III. I will definitely continue on with the series!

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