That isn't to say that it doesn't have its moments. Anthony Hopkin's performance is reliably compelling and Tamora's fiery aside at the beginning is awesome. Aaron is actually my favorite character in the film, though. He's cold, terrifying and he fully accepts his villainy. His line where he tells Lucius that his only regret was not doing a thousand more awful acts was awesome. I also really liked some of the aesthetic elements because the costumes had a lot of luxurious style and the settings were richly drawn, even though I disagreed with the choice to include multiple time periods. The film has a lot of energy and style, but it's too artsy and not grounded enough in its very gritty story.
Outside of anachronistic setting, this film may have been virtually perfect. The acting is excellent, except for the overacted, dreadful performances of the Goth Queen's sons. Hopkins nails his role. The settings were terrific if only they stayed within the period. The music is as foolish as the modern setting. Most of the time, when the music and setting are within a Roman period, you focus on the plot and dialogue and appreciate the drama. However, it seems that every now and again, modern music and setting are uncomfortably forced upon the audience, as if to make a statement that this film may be "cool" or "avant garde". Julie Taymor effectively achieves neither and the viewer is left angry for the interruption. This movie could have been an 4.0-4.5 stars if it were just left as Shakespeare intended.
I did not mind the 2:42 hour length. Most of the visuals were absolutely stunning. Others were horrible. I also get the fact that Julie Taymor may have taking anachronistic liberties on an old play to give it a fresh twist. But, this is Titus Andronicus after all, not Hamlet. This is not a popular Shakespearean play, and could have used an original and genuine cinematic representation. My only wish is that this same cast and most of the sets and style would be redone in its originally intended setting. Perhaps a mature director and producer can film this play again one day with Kenneth Branagh (or even Anthony Hopkins!) for a wider and more genuine adaptation.
Julie Taymor should stick to theatre and stay far from cinema.
- Stunning cinematography and set design. The cast is great...also check out the commentary on the DVD.