The Tempest

Movie Information

In Brief: There were few movies I was so looking forward to in 2010 than Julie Taymor's version of The Tempest. Unfortunately, it died (at $277,000 on a $20 million budget) long before it penetrated the provinces. Upshot? I, of course, snatched up the DVD as soon as possible. Result? Disappointment, but nowhere near the disaster it was painted to be. After two viewings, it's my belief that, while some thought it "too much of a muchness," I don't think it was enough of a muchness — certainly not from the woman who gave us Titus (1999) and Across the Universe (2007). I won't say it seems ordinary, but neither does it truly take flight like Taymor's best work. And it probably doesn't help that she chose The Tempest, Shakespeare's final play and the one which has spawned such things as: Forbidden Planet (1956), a sci-fi version (complete with pneumatic cutie lead) of the story; Derek Jarman's 1979 version (which stops dead so Elisabeth Welch can sing "Stormy Weather"); and Peter Greenaway's epic spectacle of skin, biology, fantasy, magic and sheer excess, Prospero's Books (1991). These are tough acts to follow — especially the last — if you want to raise an eyebrow or cause a jaw to drop or send hushed expletives rippling through the theater. Doing a sex change on Prospero (making him Prospera) and casting Helen Mirren doesn't seem so bold in comparison. (And handing over comic buffoonery to Alfred Molina and Russell Brand seems even less so.) Yet, Taymor's film is not without merit and pleasures. Just don't expect to be blown away or outraged.
Genre: Shakespeare Fantasy
Director: Julie Taymor
Starring: Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Ben Whishaw, Tom Conti, Alan Cumming, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina
Rated: PG-13

The Hendersonville Film Society will show The Tempest Sunday, April 24, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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One thought on “The Tempest

  1. T.rex

    Sad to say I did not like it, I even turned it off halfway through. Maybe my love of Taymor’s other works built up the hype for me.

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