Miramax Films, TalkStory Productions, Artemis Films,
Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Reeve Carney, Alfred Molina, Russell Brand, Djimon Hounsou, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, Tom Conti, David Strathairn, Ben Whishaw
The Duchess Prospera (Helen Mirren) and her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones) are stranded on a desert isle out at sea. They have been there for many years but Prospera is a sorceress and able to cast spells. As a ship nears, Prospera causes a huge storm, a tempest, which sinks the ship. A number of people on the ship make it to the island in different groups and begin an interesting journey where they eventually meet up to each other and meet Prospera and her daughter One of these is a potential suitor for Miranda. This film takes the classic drama by Wm.Shakespeare and changes the gender of the sorcerer, brings things up to more modern music and characteristics, but keeps Ye Olde English of the Bard.
For this reason, I didn’t really enjoy this film. For someone who understands and can follow the ancient version of the language, it’s probably ok, but for me, I struggled through trying to read Shakespeare way back in High School and haven’t gotten any better since then. Then to put these modern characters (like Russell Brand) in a story done in old English is rather absurd. All in all I didn’t really enjoy it. I had a really hard time following what was going on, and even harder trying to care.
Even for Shakespeare fans, I don’t highly recommend this, as they change it around enough, and there are enough weaknesses to make it weak for them as well. If you’re a fan of the work, go for a real production, not this bastardized version. A couple things are pretty good. Helen Mirren is great, as always and turns in a stellar performance. And the special effects for the way the portray Ariel is quite good. With film and green screen, they can do a lot more with this character than they can on the stage where Prospero just carries the creature with him throughout!
I wanted to really give this film a chance though, so when I finished it, I turned on the director’s commentary. I found out it was essentially a one woman show where she did everything in the film (Julie Traymor). This usually spells bad news when one person tries their hand at everything. There isn’t anyone to bounce ideas off of. Ask Eddie Murphy how Norbert turned out for him! I listened to about a quarter of the commentary, and was trying to get into it when I heard her say, “I am Berkeley so…..”. Not I am from Berkeley, or I went to UC Berkeley, but “I am Berkeley” When I heard that I turned it off, put it back in the sleeve and dropped it into the mail. That said it all, and I understood that I am much too low on the scale of intellect to ever “get it”. After all, I am not Berkeley.
EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog