"A Midsummer's Night Dream" is arguably the most loved and often performed of Shakespeare's plays. It has been remade into everything including a ballet. I was able to have pleasure of watching the Kevin Klein version that was made in 1999. Michael Hoffman the director did a very nice job of presenting a fresh and contemporary version.
Michael Hoffman decided to set the play around the 1800's. At this time the bicycle was a relatively new invention and is used frequently in the movie. The actors in this version chased after each other on bicycle rather than just foot. It also adds a comedic aspect because the fairies are very intrigued by the bikes having never seen one before.
The scenery was beautifully done. The forest was full of lush vegetation and gigantic trees that make even the humans feel at home enough to sleep there like it was their own bed.
The forest also added to the mood of the play. It made it feel mystical, secret in way almost unearthly which intrigued me even more to see what happens next. It was refreshing to see a film that wasn't all special effects. For instance, it would have been very easy to computer generate a donkey to take the place of Bottom, but Hoffman merely placed a pair of donkey ears and a little extra hair to signify the transformation making it even more comedic.
Costume and makeup design were very effective, in fact that was what made the movie for me. The fairies were ravishing with their dewey skin and radiant flowing clothing. The mortals also had very well done costuming that was true to the period, very romantic. The long hair and extensions also added to this aspect. There were a couple of strange costumes...