A Caribbean Dream Review
When it comes to film adaptations of the famous works of William Shakespeare, you tend to expect that they will at least put on a grand spectacle and will include some beautiful uses of language. A Caribbean Dream, the latest modern re-imagining of a Shakespeare play, is in a similar vein to Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet from 1997, in that all of the characters use Shakespearean language in their speech, despite the fact that the film is set in the present day. Similarly to Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, I thought this decision was not going to work and would be too distracting. However, the Caribbean setting itself, especially during the night time, looks incredibly Shakespearean, full of mythical creatures and extravagant colours. Therefore, the language used does not feel out of place.
Based on the much-loved comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, the film is set on the island of Barbados, where the complicated romantic feelings of Demetrius (Sam Gillett), Helena (Keshia Pope), Hermia (Marina Bye), Lysander (Jherad Alleyne) and other characters are explored. Eventually, a flamboyant butler named Puck (Patrick Michael Foster) and other staff members of the tropical island transform into troublesome fairies and interfere with the wedding plans of three different couples in various amusing ways. Meanwhile, a group of entertainers attempt to create a reenactment of the King Jaja story to perform at the wedding.
Robin Whenary, the director of photography, did an impeccable job with A Caribbean Dream, as the night scenes are full of copious amounts of rich, luscious colours; it really does feel like an authentic fairy garden has been brought to life. There is lots of eye candy here, although the film does also include some imagery that is very peculiar and even rather unnerving, but this makes the viewer feel like they have been catapulted into the unknown world of magic. It is clear that there is much respect for Shakespeare's work from the visuals alone, as the writer was well-known for including imposing displays of magic and sorcery; for example, the masque sequence in The Tempest.
A lot of credit also has to be given to the cast, especially Patrick Michael Foster, who perfectly highlights the scheming and conniving, although very enjoyable, nature of his character's wizardry. He is much like Prospero's character from The Tempest, as they are both men with otherworldly powers who tamper with the lives of other people, yet they never inflict any serious harm upon them, highlighting their humanity. The language that the cast members use is not very complicated to understand (which is a benefit to those who have not read or seen A Midsummer Night's Dream, including myself) and the film encourages, rather than discourages you, to pick up Shakespeare's play for yourself in order to experience the beauty of this tale again via a different medium.
Shakespearean vocabulary may not appeal to everyone, but it is still very possible to find enjoyment in this eccentric story that contains comedic manipulations of loving relationships.
A Caribbean Dream is out on DVD 12th February #ACaribbeanDream