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The Hollow Crown: Henry IV, Part II review

I actually really enjoyed this! (Despite inappropriate gigglefits, AHEM. <<)

Things I liked

-Jeremy Irons as Henry IV. I adored the Globe version, LOVED it with all my heart, but I felt that the one weak link was Henry IV. Jeremy Irons was the opposite - I'd say that he was actually the strongest link and really enjoyable(/heartbreaking) to watch.
-Doll. DOLL! I loved her in Part I, where she had no lines, but that grew to utter adoration here. What with her knife, and her fierceness, and the fact that she could probably castrate half of London if she laid her mind to it.
-Henry IV's other sons/Hal's brothers were Gr9. Just a small presence in the background, apart from John being a vaguely charming jerk with very nice hair, but they really made the most of it!
--On another John note: I especially loved his "err..." face at the beginning when he had to tell daddy. That was a great face. I could write ODES to that face.
-Tom Hiddleston as Hal. I suppose I was a bit... IDK, indifferent about him last week when he had to do the more HAY LET'S GET DRUNK AND INAPPROPRIATE thing? (I am terrified typing that - but this is not tumblr, I will hopefully not be gutted and fed to the dogs.) But this week I was really fond of him and his growing seriousness, which bodes very well for Henry V.
-The Hal/Poins shipping continued and bravely forged on to a whole new level. Homoerotic massage scenes: not just for Richard II.
-Vaguely linked to that Hal/Poins note: the scene where they were spying on Doll and Falstaff was AMAZING. From Hiddleston's dinosaur creep to their "UGH" faces at the making out to the suddenly crashing through the ceiling - I just really loved it.
-The Shallow and Silence scenes were all uniformly brilliant. I cackled a few times, which was nice!
-Henry IV's death scene! (Apart from one cut line, which I'll glare at later) OH GOD THAT WAS SO HEARTBREAKING! Amazingly acted all around and actually made me cry a little. Jeremy Irons knocked it out of the park, but Hiddleston was right there with him and... HEARTBREAK! ;; They just really, really got that right and I was absolutely amazed by it (plus, it encouraged another vague fic idea I had - these productions are good for doing that).
-Falstaff's rejection actually got me a touch teary, I must admit. I was generally indifferent to Falstaff in this one (yet another thing that I'll go into later), but the rejection was perfectly played and acted all around. Hiddleston, in particular, delivered the "I know you not, Old Man" line in exactly the way I imagined it (as did Jamie Parker, I think I've been fortunate to see two very good Hals in my viewings of this play).
-The battle/slaughter scene was, again, very well done. And gives me even more hope for Henry V!
-The cuts, overall, were a little less noticeable this time! Apart from that one line - which, again, LATER.

Things I did not like so much

-Falstaff. It wasn't that he was bad, but... There was a REASON he was Shakespeare's most popular character in Elizabethan England and I can't quite see this Falstaff acheiving that level of popularity. In my mind Falstaff is supposed to be likeable: slimy and dissolute and a bit of a bastard, yes, but you're sort of supposed to be on his side despite those things. This Falstaff was just slimy - and while I cried a bit at the final scene it should've been heaving sobs instead of just faint sniffles.
-The fact that they had to add solemn staring to the end of every single scene got a touch annoying after a while. Henry IV, Part II is a play that lends itself very well to solemn staring and thus I am in favour of a fair amount at it - but when it happened at the end of scenes which are purely comedy I was left sitting there going "...But."
-The music could be a touch overbearing at times. But that was only a few moments and so didn't really spoil anything.

Things I did not like

-YOU CANNOT CUT OUT THE JERUSALEM CHAMBER LINE! And, if it was not cut out and I just missed it, you cannot reduce its prominence to that degree. I mean, this might be a touch picky, but... To me that is one of the most important lines in all the tetralogy. In links all the plays together, it shows quite a lot of Henry's character and it sort of allows him to go out on a peaceful note. It is very important! /Vaguely obsessive ranting about one line.
--(Seriously, though, if I don't end up writing an overly involved essay focused around that one line in my entire university education then I've probably failed as a person. <<)

So, yes, I really liked that! On my Hollow Crown scale (yes, I have a Hollow Crown scale. Shhhh. <<) I'd say that it wasn't quite as good as Richard II, but it was still great and I really enjoyed it! Plus, I am now really looking forward to Hiddleston's Henry V next week. :DDD

Oh God I hope I don't come in sobbing about how awful it was next week, I really hope.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
Doll broke my god-damn HEART. (I blame Maxine tbh) I was actually almost sobbing for her by that end shot... no so much the others, I could have given less of a toss... but DOLL? that girl had no part in 3/4 of Falstaff's arsery.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )