Saturday, 19 May 2012

Film Review: THE TEMPEST (2010)

The Tempest - poster Director: Julie Taymor
Writers: Julie Taymor (screenplay), William Shakespeare (play)
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Fantasy/Drama/Comedy
UK Release date: 13th February 2011 (Keswick Film Festival)

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 18th May 2011.


This is one of the Shakespeare plays I knew nothing about going into the viewing. It’s one I’ve always wanted to see because one of my all-time favourite Sci-Fi films, ‘Forbidden Planet’ is based on it (I’m told). I can see the parallels, but I must say it must be loosely based on it. Putting that aside, I found it quite an interesting adaptation that had aspects that worked and others that didn’t quite come off. I’ll tell you more after this brief summary.

The Tempest - 4 Prospera is a sorceress who has a captive sprite, Ariel, to do her bidding. She has been exiled to an island with her daughter, Miranda and wishes to return home. To this end she hatches a plan that brings others to the island in a storm of her making. Principle among them are King Alonso and his son Prince Ferdinand. The others are; Gonzalo, Sebastian, Antonio, Trinculo and Stephano. Oh, and there’s the original inhabitant of the island, the strange-looking Caliban. All are destined to meet eventually as Prospera’s plan comes to fruition… I will not say any more or the Spoiler Police (Shakespeare Division) will have me writing sonnets (again).

The Tempest - 1 Taking a play out of the theatre is always problematic, I find, because the filmmakers have to find ways to make the piece more cinematic. This was not a bad job really, but, as I said earlier, I’m not all that familiar with the source material. Decent performances all round, but those that stood out (for me) were; Helen Mirren as Prospera, Djimon Hounsou as Caliban, Alfred Molina as Stephano and Tom Conti as Gonzalo.

The Tempest - 7 I always find Shakespearean dialogue a little hard to follow, but I found this one was a bit of an exception. The storyline, although a little complex, was quite easy to follow and I quite enjoyed it. Very stylish costumes and an interesting soundtrack were elements that added to the piece pretty well. Over all though, despite being well shot, all on location, I guess I felt there was something lacking. I guess it’s worth a look if you’re a fan of the Bard, but otherwise, I may urge you to maybe give it a miss…

My score: 5.8/10

IMDb Score: 5.3/10 (based on 2,756 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 43/100: (Based on 28 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 29/100 (based on 82 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 28/100 (based on 17,602 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Caliban: This island is mine!

Prospera: We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little lives are rounded with a sleep.

Trinculo: Misery acquaints a man with strange bed fellows.

Caliban: Hast thou not dropped from Heaven?
Stephano: Out of the moon, I do assure thee.

Prospera: Be cheerful sir, our revels now are ended.

(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
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