The Tempest (2010)Closed Captioning
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This modern retelling of William Shakespeare's final masterpiece is an exciting, mystical, and magical fantasy with Academy Award winner Helen Mirren (Best Actress, The Queen, 2006) leading a star-studded cast including Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek) and Alfred Molina (The Sorcerer's Apprentice). Exiled to a magical island, the sorceress Prospera (Mirren) conjures up a storm that shipwrecks her enemies, and then unleashes her powers for revenge. Directed by the visionary Julie Taymor, The Tempest, with its innovative twist, is a supernatural dramedy filled with Shakespearean villians, lovers and fools that will leave you spellbound.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 82
- Fresh: 24
- Rotten: 58
- Average Rating: 4.7/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: A pretty frustrating adaptation of Shakespeare's play, one that dog-paddles around in ever-more-frenetic circles, searching for a way inside the material.
Rotten: The best sequences in "Tempest'' are all quiet, not that there are many of them.
Rotten: Most plays-turned-movies try to open things up. Taymor still thinks like a theater director, ending up with a "Tempest" that takes place in a teapot.
Rotten: These gifted actors sometimes seem to be saying the words as someone with a chain-saw cuts firewood in the next room.
It is not for everyone but for some it is a treat
Besides what reviews said I loved this movie.
First off, if you aren't a fan of The Bard then you won't like this movie, if you are but are more of a traditionalist you won't like it either. If you are like me who is a fan of the Bard and is not a traditionalist when it comes to adapting his plays to the screen or to the stage then you will like this film. But why rate it so high? Obviously Rotten Tomatoes hates it and it isn't worth your time?
First off, yes they switched Prospero's character to a female, renmaming her Prospera. Why make the change? Julie Taymor had a hard time finding the right person to play Prospero, meanwhile Helen Mirren had the same thoughts going around her head (except for the stage). They met one another at some event and Helen Mirren said why don't I play Prospero because the play would still be the same with the gender change.
Did it work? Well, for those who know the play it's a bit odd hearing the she's instead of he's and changing father to mother, and the backstory obviously is changed to fit the story.
But it isn't that it doesn't work, it does, and it's an interesting change. If there was anyone who could pull it off, Helen Mirren did it beautifully and magnificiently.
In this version, you see that the gender change becomes more of a topic than the original character of Prospero's brother, Antonio hoodwinked the kingdom of Milan from his brother. It adds a bit more tragedy to the beginning of the story, and a bit more than just bad blood. In that regard, Julie Taymor makes her mark on it.
How about everything else? The filming was done on the island Lana'i Hawaii, and it fit quite beautifully making it look foreign enough. It gave it a more earthy and natural feel. Seeing as the tempest, the storm is such an integral part of the play it makes a good backdrop. The opening scene was done quite well too, the storm and seeing the sandcastle in Miranda's hand collapse (not in the play, but a great introduction scene all things aside). Also to note all lighting was natural, which gives the film a more natural feel.
How about the acting? On a general note, is done fairly well. People will complain about Russel Brand as Triniculo.
People also make a lot of negative remarks towards the character of Caliban and Dijimon Honsou's casting as the character, with people who are unfamiliar with the material the play has direct connatations to exploration and colonization. As if Prospero (or in this case Prospera's first (or some could see second victim, her daugther Miranda being the first) on the island to take over and rule (at least once she found out he was trying to take Miranda's virginity). So in that context, people might say too literal, but he does an excellent job playing the part. He really does, he might look a bit more human than he is percieved in the play (seeing as he is referred to a fish), but I didn't have a problem with him.
This is a Taymor film, which means it will be arty or some people think is a magic trip...if you know what I mean. The thing is, it's one of the reason's I like her as a director. She is VERY different from everyone out there, but with a limited budget of $20 Million US dollars and using special effects she had to do the best she can. If you look at the behind the scenes, you'll get an insight I find quite interesting. It's a piece of art, and some people need to remind themselves of that. When seeing a Julie Taymore film, don't expect the standard fare. It won't be. So, if you aren't into interesting movies, then I suggest to stay away.
People will also complain about Ariel, but I think Ben Winshaw did a really good job, seeing as he is an airy spirit. The effects, were again, interesting, but I think it worked pretty well for the character and film.
Personally, I feel this film has way too much negativity surrounding it. It makes it look like no one gave a care about it, which isn't true at all. Everyone put their heart and soul into the movie, and you can see it. It's not her "Titus" and it has it's weird parts, but I think if you are a fan of "The Tempest" or the Bard and willing to take a look at something different you are in for a quite a ride and treat.
Besides, movies are all about personal opinions. This movie isn't for everyone, heck most people hate it because the trailer's make it look so much worse than it really is. It's a different sort of film, yes, but it hits some of the best parts of the play so well that it's upsetting to see that such an actress like Helen Mirren isn't getting a bit more credit where it is due. Or everyone else and Julie for that matter. Thank goodness the costumes didn't go unnoticed for the Oscar's because they are quite brilliant.
If it helps, think about this movie as seeing a play. It's a different way to see a movie, but the words matter and ring so true and clear. Also, the emotions are done extremely well too. Julie Taymor knew what she was working with and did her best with what she had.
So, for those who are fans give this movie some love, it is really a lot better than people say it is. Just keep an open mind. This is Julie Taymor's take, if you want standard Shakespeare fare then rent one of the opious amounts of Shakespeare films out there if you want standard fare. But if you want something new to Shakespeare's final play, or a good intellectual movie with an art kick then this movie is for you.
The film isn't amazing that's for sure, but it did have moments that made me pause and wish for more. For example the realtionship between Prospera and Ariel, no spoilers but it will make you curious is all I'll say.
This movie has many differences to the actual Shakespeare play. If you want to watch it because you are a true devotee to Shakespeare, don't buy it. If you have never heard of The Tempest, then go ahead and see it, but be well aware: this is almost something entirely different from the true play.