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 »
A sobering mid-life crisis fuels dissatisfaction in Philip Dimitrius, to the extent where the successful architect trades his marriage and career in for a spiritual exile on a remote Greek ... See full summary »
Prospero, Duke of Milan, usurped and exiled by his own brother, holds sway over an enchanted island. He is comforted by his daughter Miranda and served by his spirit Ariel and his deformed ... 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
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.
27 of 52 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?