The Tempest (2010)
Critic Consensus: Director Julie Taymor's gender-swapping of roles and some frenzied special effects can't quite disguise an otherwise stagey, uninspired take on Shakespeare's classic.
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Critic Reviews for The Tempest
You expect Nicolas Cage to pop up from behind a sand dune on a Harley brandishing a rocket launcher.
Taymor, by turning Prospero into a woman while retaining an "imperialist" view of Caliban, will no doubt simultaneously please and enrage left-wing critics. The rest of us can enjoy the movie's strengths...
Primarily an exercise in eccentric (and, I would argue, empty) spectacle.
Normally I'd watch Helen Mirren in anything, even if she was just putting out the laundry or reading the phone book. But, given the roteness of her line readings here, it might have been better if the phone book rather than Shakespeare was her text.
The costumes designed by Sandy Powell - leather gowns and military uniforms, Renaissance in silhouette and detailed with zippers - are the film's most arresting element.
Audience Reviews for The Tempest
This one is hard to keep up with because of languaged used, old english. Has a good plot. 3 stars
Once the Duchess of Milan, Prospera(Helen Mirren) has suffered through twelve years of exile which have done little to lower her ire at those she finds responsible. One day, she takes revenge by casting a spell through the sprite Ariel(Ben Whishaw) that capsizes the boat Antonio(Chris Cooper), the new duke, is traveling on with King Alonso(David Strathairn) of Naples, amongst others. Her teenaged daughter Miranda(Felicity Jones) manages to assuage her anger just in time. So she has them desposited safely on a beach somewhere on the island, with Alonso's son Ferdinand(Reeve Carney) arriving safely elsewhere. Now, with that all done, Caliban(Djimon Hounsou) would like to file a complaint... If all Julie Taymor had brought to this version of William Shakespeare's venerable play was its great look, impressive design and Helen Mirren, it would have gone a long way towards putting this definitely in the win column. Sad to say, she doesn't stop there, going overboard on the visual effects.(Just remember that the play is the thing.) Putting together a great supporting cast is usually a very good idea in cases like this. But here, it verges on stunt casting in a couple of prime examples and Taymor does little to rein them in, throwing the movie off balance in the bargain. That having been said, I now believe that Chris Cooper would fit in well no matter what movie he appears in.
Apparently very well made. Apparently very wonderful actors. Apparently Shakespeare was a genius. Apparently I just don't understand it....and I tried for an hour. I was lost....