A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time.
In Julie Taymor's version of 'The Tempest,' the main character is now a woman named Prospera. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. In Taymor's version, Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it's a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda. This leads to the power struggle and balance between Caliban and Prospera; a struggle not about brawn, but about intellect. Written by
Shakespeare's last play The Tempest tells the tale of a sorcerer
Prospera and her daughter who have been cast off and banished and find
themselves on a barren island where she takes Caliban as her slave.
Many years later she creates a tempest to wreck the ship carrying those
that banished her and the survivors of the ship find themselves on the
island including the kings son who falls for Prospera's daughter. Throw
in a spirit slave who helps Prospera bring the newcomers to her and the
slaves of the King who side with Caliban to destroy Prospera and you
have a real blend of genres.
Julie Taymor brings another Shakespeare play to the big screen after
her magnificent version of Titus. The Tempest is really a blend of
drama, romance, fantasy and comedy and with it's supernatural and
magical elements it's quite a story to bring to the big screen.
Changing the lead of Prospero to a female role, makes little difference
and Helen Mirren as Prospera is very good, but performance wise she is
the only standout with the rest of the cast going through the paces;
and casting Russel Brand as the jester does not bring enough light
relief and makes me wonder since when did Russel Brand become an actor?
Taymor tries to makes this as natural as possible, but that's difficult
to achieve with it's fantastical elements and many of the these moments
fail, including the spirit Ariel, whose appearances are like Caspar The
Ghost and only when he appears as a sign of madness to the king and his
men as a dark ominous bird does the fantasy finally work. The film also
feels stilted at times and for something that contains so much fantasy
and magic it feels for the most part bland and dull and bad use of
music, much of which sounds like something from a bad rock music
doesn't help achieve anything.
Interesting use of landscapes and Mirren's performance are worthy
elements but that's not enough to redeem the film, which with Taymor at
the helm doesn't work nearly as well as her previous efforts.
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