Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 17 minutes
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The debate rages on regarding the wisdom of shooting a trailer or selected scenes for a film as a money-raising tool. Proponents on both sides argue the pros and cons with a ferocity scarcely seen since the days of the “Less Filling! Tastes Great!” arguments. The view from here is simple. If such expensive and exotic visual aids as a trailer help to generate the cash, then it was a good move. If not, then the effort was most likely a waste of time. In other words, hindsight is twenty-twenty. Easy as Monday morning quarterbacking.
While the proverbial jury is still out on whether this promotional video for “Midsummer,” James Kerwin’s modern day adaptation of the brother Bill Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” will do the financial trick, it will be our loss if it doesn’t.
On the night Theseus (Bruce DuBose) is to marry Hippolyta (Renner Wesolowski), “Midsummer” concentrates more on Hermia (Domenica Cameron Scorcese), who finds herself in a bind. Torn between two lovers, as it were, the mysterious and manipulative beauty must choose between her best friend Lysander (Ashley Wood) and her coolly haughty fiancee Demetrius (Travis Schult).
This entire cast could easily step straight from this set into an Aaron Spelling “90210” spin-off. Just re-open The Globe Theatre in Beverly Hills and get it over with. Its impossibly attractive cast aside, “Midsummer” is simply a beautiful piece to watch. DP David Blood enhances the cast’s natural attributes with his misty and colorful photography, while the introductory crane and steadicam sequence through the gardens of the Dallas Arboretum is almost as mesmerizing as the lusciously exotic Hermia.
Kerwin complements the visuals, by turns urban and enchanting, with top-notch effects work while a moody alternative soundtrack featuring the likes of Depeche Mode and The Cure makes “Midsummer” as easy to listen to as it is to watch.
“Midsummer” apparently intends to be the next installment in the currently booming sub-genre of modern-day Shakespearean re-tellings. Judging from the looks and sounds of this promo tape, it would also be the sexiest of these interpretations by far. Even the Tarot cards, emblazoned with scantily clad figures, drip with sex.
Oddly, there’s no dialogue in this driving silent movie at all; the story conveyed solely through music and sound effects. Given that so much of Shakespeare’s genius lies in the words, it’s an open question as to whether such an MTV-ish treatment as this would hold up once the script comes into play. If this stylish and sensuous tape is a representative sample of what James Kerwin intends to do with “Midsummer,” however, someone should give him a chance.
Posted on November 28, 2000 in Reviews by Merle Bertrand
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