Ready to see the Shakespeare classic through the visual eye of filmmaker Julie Taymor?  Then check out the Helen Mirren helmed adaptation of "The Tempest," now on Blu-ray from Miramax/Touchstone Home Entertainment.  The cliff notes are below!




   Title: "The Tempest"

   Grade: 3

   Cast: Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Djimon Hounsou

   Director: Julie Taymor

   Rating: PG-13

   Runtime: 110 minutes

   Release Company: Miramax/Touchstone Home Entertainment




The Flick: Not being any Shakespeare expert by any stretch of the imagination, "The Tempest" is still pretty easy to understand.  It follows a sorceress who shipwrecks her enemies on an island on which she is stranded and sets forth an intricate plan of revenge.  The good news is Director Julie Taymor has brought her complex visual tapestry with her on this ride and especially in a Blu-ray format the film looks amazing.  Bad news is Taymor’s adaptation of the play still feels like...a play.  There is a ton of unneeded dialogue that may seem natural in a theatrical performance, but on film it drags like a dead carcass caught on a classic car wheel.  Plus the nature of Shakespeare’s play is tempered with drama, comedy and wonderment, three elements that seem to collide unnaturally in the film.  Meaning while Djimon Hounsou makes a notable tortured and sullen performance, we’re also subjected to an annoying (even in Shakespeare language!) Russell Brand and his ever-goofy antics.  Good or bad?  Genius or garbage?  Filled with highs and lows, "The Tempest" is a bit of both.  

Best Feature: The 'Annotated Shakespeare Commentary Track' with thespian experts is a god sent for those a tad lost in the way-to-wordy dialogue brought forth to entertain the humble.  (That last part was my Shakespeare dialogue attempt – when in Rome...)

Best Hidden Gem: Again, Hounsou plays intense role that (before it gets bogged down with inane comedic bits ala Brand!) commands audience attention – powerful stuff!

Worth the Moola: If you’re a die-hard Shakespeare or on a less giant note Taymor fan, sure.  But for those looking to be entertained by pure visual filmmaking instead of constant chatter, I recommend the mute button.