William Shakespeare qualifies for principal writing credit. But this aloof, spectacle oriented adaptation of The Tempest — theatrically ambitious, musically busy, and in the end cinematically inert — clearly reflects the authorship of myth-loving director Julie Taymor (currently preparing for the Broadway opening of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark). Taymor repositions Shakespeare’s mysterious story of magic, revenge, and forgiveness on a strange island by turning the play’s vexed sorcerer, Prospero, into a sorceress, Prospera, played by Helen Mirren with moody feminist authority. The fragmented feeling of the production is amplified by the welter of performance styles among the other players, including Russell Brand (cheeky) as the castaway Trinculo, Djimon Hounsou (indecipherable) as the slave Caliban, and Ben Whishaw (mercurial with a touch of the androgynous) as the spirit Ariel, who does Prospera’s bidding in the hope of gaining his freedom. B-
ISLAND IN THE SUN Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Djimon Hounsou in Julie Taymor's reimagined version of The Tempest (Melinda Sue Gordon)
Starring: Helen Mirren; Director: Julie Taymor
Posted December 8 2010 — 12:00 AM EST
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