The Tempest -- Film Review
Shakespeare lovers will be divided on Julie Taymor's flashy-smooth adaptation of the Bard's great and possibly last comedy. Far less daring than her 1999 "Titus," which took an electrifying, stylized approach of a lesser-known play, "The Tempest" in comparison looks disappointingly middle-of-the-road. Even the great Helen Mirren, who usurps the masculine lead as Prospera, is steady and reliable but unexciting. But this attractive and easy-to-digest production, full of music, special effects and musical dialogue, likely will fulfill many viewers' expectations and ring up more business than a revolutionary version.
That brings to mind Derek Jarman's 1979 adaptation, an iconoclastic struggle to reconcile Shakespeare with cinematic language, which concluded with a joyous jazz rendition of Stormy Weather. Quite a different approach to the present film. The fact that Taymor is known for inventive groundbreaking -- from her stage direction of The Lion King to her Beatles salute Across the Universe -- throws into relief how little effort has gone into rethinking the play, compared to the enormous and visible production work.
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