Well if you want to watch a pretty photo shoot about Shakespeare with new spins on the old-fashioned, I guess you should see The Tempest. If you’re expecting it to be anything more than something aesthetically pleasing you’re barking up the wrong tree. I love me some Shakespeare, so I went into this screening excited to see Helen Mirren in the author’s final play, and absolutely everything disappointed…

Players:

  • Director: Julie Taymor
  • Writer: Julie Taymor & (play by) William Shakespeare
  • Actors: Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand, Alan Cumming, Chris Copper, David Strathairn, Reeve Carney, Ben Whishaw
  • Original Music by: Elliot Goldenthal
  • Cinematography by: Stuart Dryburgh

The Plot:

Adapted from the Shakespearean play, Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest in a new twist on an old tale, trading in Prospero for Prospera. When Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year old daughter she seeks vengeance on the Island she’s been enslaved to. When she finds her enemies in her realm, she intends to take their lives, until something unexpected happens, her daughter falls in love.

The Good:

  • The Costumes: Though some of them were awful, some of the costume designs were brilliant. The ones that weren’t just needed a little direction and vision to steer it to the right place.
  • The Possibilities: There is a lot of potential for this film and I for one was extremely excited to see what Taymor could do with such an impressive cast and a great piece of writing. The trailer definitely entices you but sadly as Hamlet says, “the readiness is all,” the anticipation for this film is all there is to it, everything else is just a big disappointment.

The Bad:

  • Screenplay: I’d say “blame the writer,” but you can’t exactly blame Shakespeare, so I’m going to have the blame the screenwriter’s adaptation and the director for her poor representation of it.
  • The Score: If you can even call it that, was trying to be new and exciting, but for a number of reasons it just didn’t work. It was repetitive and tried to make the film more edgy than it was  — I can just picture the studio heads thinking they could solve all the film’s problems with the music. Poor Elliot — there’s always next time!
  • Overall Look: Now I know I said this film looks pretty, but it also looks like it was made by Tyra Banks (I just watched a commercial she shot which looked like the film), with all the wrong choices you could possibly make. From bad eye lines, to ridiculous music, to making brilliant actors look horrible, to not managing the language well, and unlike what Shakespeare intended, there being absolutely no humor. This film is a mess.
  • Prospera: While chopping off Prospero’s balls, they also cut out his edge and potency. There could not have been a better opportunity nor actress to have step into an iconic male role BUT they didn’t adapt it well. Why she gave in, I have no idea. Why she gave away her daughter so quickly, I have no idea. Why she’s so angry one minute and then not the next, I have no idea. NOTHING adds up for the character, there’s no danger, no threat, and in the end, no satisfaction to be had for the audience.
  • Bad Special Effects: If you don’t have the time, money or people to do special effects, don’t use them. There’s one scene where Alan Cumming and Chris Cooper are swinging their swords at nothing. I assume they were told they were swinging at things that would be added in post-production because they were chopping away quite vigilantly. Someone seemed to forget to add something, which again made no sense.
  • Repetition: Every time Caliban and Prospera are on screen, there’s the “cramps” lines. Every time Trinculo was on the screen he repeated the same. Everyone seemed to be saying the same thing from start to finish which gave the film no arc.

Overall:

All the best moments were in the trailer and that’s the nicest thing I can say.

Rating: 1/10

The Tempest in theaters December 10, 2010!

Photo Gallery:

Trailer:

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Will you go to see the film?