Writer: Julie Taymor (Screenplay) William Shakespeare (Play)
Starring: Felicity Jones, Helen Mirren, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Alan Cumming, Chris Cooper, Ben Whishaw
Plot: Shakespeare’s epic play is translated from page to screen, with the gender of the main character, Prospero, changed from male to female.
Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Not Enjoyable
Story: The Tempest starts as Prospera (Mirren) sees her island visited by outsiders, the island she lives alone with her daughter Miranda (Jones) with their slave Caliban (Hounsou) a man that did once wrong them. With the strangers on the island Miranda gets to meet her first man outside of Caliban in Prince Ferdinand (Carney) to whom she falls in love with.
Prince Ferdinand isn’t the only visitor to the island as the rest of the crew including King Alonso (Strathairn) search for help with the spirit of the island haunting them as a chance to escape Prospera’s spell.
Thoughts on The Tempest
Characters – Prospera is the witch living on the remote island, she has been controlling people with spells which keep her daughter safe, until her chance of escape arrives. Miranda is the daughter of Prospera who can’t leave the island and has only ever see one man in her life, when she meets Prince Ferdinand she instantly falls in love with him wanting to leave the island with him. Caliban is the slave that lives on the island, he has done wrong in the past which leaves him being forced into the slavery role, with the visitors he believes he could become free. When it comes to the people that visit the island we get a group of different ranks through a royalty position, each has their own moments in the film.
Performances – Helen Mirren is the best performer in the film, she has been working with this material before and shows she is one of the best for it. Felicity Jones gets one of her early roles where we get to see how much talent is there even with a restricted role. We have a very talented supporting cast who get to show their own abilities while Russell Brand is there too.
Story – The story is a new version of the Shakespeare classic of the same name, it is one that I do remember enjoying reading while at school when we studied his work, the problem for me comes from the fact this didn’t connect because it was so outside the box of what to expect from the ideas behind everything, we do get plenty of random scenes which just miss for the most part which disappoints. The honest opinion is that we have just too much going on that never connects back to everything else. The themes for Shakespeare plays have always been a mixed bag because the time they were written you can understand them, but not all have aged to the modern era of life.
Comedy/Fantasy/Romance – The comedy in the film is completely random, certain moments click really well others miss completely, the fantasy world feels messy for what it should be too, while the romance is just a side story with everything going on.
Settings – The film is set on the island where Prospera lives, it has different elements of magic to make it full of peril for the visitors.
Final Thoughts – This is a Shakespeare story that didn’t work for me, I don’t blame the actors, it is how the story is presented that fails it.
Overall: Disappoint Shakespeare play.