Julie Taymor creates very visual pieces of cinema. TITUS and ACROSS THE
UNIVERSE proves she loves her visuals. She is able to create each film with a sense of excitement and wonder.
Her films are unlike anything else. She started directing theater and yet I think movies are the place where she
belongs. THE TEMPEST is the second Shakespeare play she is adapting to the cinema screen (TITUS was the first).
She found a private island in Hawaii
to film most of THE TEMPEST (the owner of the island happened to be a fan of Shakespeare). She made the
film adaptation her own by making a few changes including changing Prospero to Prospera and turning the final speech into
the play into a song (which is sung by Portishead singer Beth Gibbons). THE TEMPEST didn't get rave reviews when
it hit the screens, but the film is as great as her previous two efforts I have seen: TITUS and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
Magician Prospera is stranded on an island with her daughter Miranda. She strands a ship to get her revenge against the people who banished her from Milan. She uses Ariel, a spirit, to help exact her revenge while Prospera also watches
the growing romance between Miranda and the king's son. Caliban plots murder against Prospera with the help of
two shipwrecked fools. Meanwhile, the king and Prospera's brother make it across the island as she subjects them to
her own form of punishment.
THE TEMPEST has been performed on stage over the centuries and even formed the
basis for FORBIDDEN PLANET. Julie Taymor spins her own twists on the play by using music and even lifting a song from
another Shakespeare play to turn into a love song between Miranda and the king's son. The location filming evoke a
magical land of sorts- locations never seen before on film. I think film should be able to transport you to different
places and stories like Taymor's THE TEMPEST does.
RASING THE TEMPEST- an excellent 70 minute making-of documentary by Julie Taymor about the making of the film which tells the
story of the making of the film from casting to location filming to the music and the special effects (they did on a limited
budget). This documentary has interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
in addition to special effects tests (and video from a theater production of THE TEMPEST which Julie Taymor directed).
Also on the disc are a Russell
Brand Rehearsal Riff and footage from the Los Angeles Rehearsal for THE TEMPEST in addition to a music video for "O Mistress
Mine". The rehearsal footage is quite fun to watch especially Russell Brand's
riff. I wish the disc had more of the rehearsal footage.
The first audio commentary
is by Julie Taymor and it is a nice companion piece to RAISING THE TEMPEST.
The second audio commentary
is with Shakespeare experts Virginia Vaughan and Jonathan Bate. The second commentary track focuses on the play,
the movie, and Shaekspeare. It's more scholary and many will probably enjoy teh first audio commentary more and I think
this track which feels like it has been pasted together form two tracks, the Shakespeare expert track may have worked better
as a short documentary.
FINAL ANALYSIS: THE TEMPEST is another splendid visual film from Julie Taymor.
Fans of Julie Taymor and Shakespeare should watch it.
this Blu-ray review is (c)9-20-2011 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org