This film is an adaptation of the Shakespeare play "Titus Andronicus." Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family. Who says revenge is sweet?
Prospero, a potent magician, lives on a desolate isle with his virginal daughter, Miranda. He's in exile, banished from his duchy by his usurping brother and the King of Naples. Providence ... See full summary »
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
The decision to switch the gender of the lead character was a diving board to a whole new appreciation of the play. It had everything to do with Helen Mirren and a coincidental exchange that Julie Taymor had with the actress. When Taymor encountered Helen Mirren at a party, she had already envisioned Mirren in the role and their conversation cemented her decision. "We were talking Shakespeare," Taymor recollects, "and she had no idea I was planning this film when she mentioned that the first Shakespeare she ever did was Caliban in 'The Tempest,' and she actually said to me, 'You know, I could play Prospero-as a woman.' And I said, 'Do you want to? Because I've been preparing a film version of "The Tempest" with exactly that in mind.' And, fortunately, she said yes." See more »
Let's face it - Shakespeare's plays are wonderful. But they were written in an age when the Bard wrote them for the stages available then - like forums and village theaters. The scope and power of the projected screen as well as the acts recorded to be played over and over again in space and time - would have been a totally alien concept to Shakespeare. Here the makers of the film - especially Julie Taymor - deserves credit for having made this difficult transition with such effective ease. The scenes come off pretty natural and very well acted. Also the transformation of Propero into Prospera was intriguing when I first heard about this movie. But it came off very convincing - almost as if Shakespeare wrote it that way himself. I was just wondering why Taymor chose to do this though! Helen Mirren was her superb best. Djimon was excellent as Caliban. I saw him in the movie "The Island" earlier and found he does deliver his best in challenging roles. All other actors did their part very well. I would recommend this movie to Shakespeare buffs. Don't expect too much from it as Shakespeare certainly did not write action plays. But it was time well spent.
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