Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Tempest


This has never been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. I’ve probably only seen it twice, in competent but not outstanding performances. Partly I’m just not enchanted by all the sorcery stuff. I’m a lot happier with the other dramas, and some of the histories. So, although almost no critic I looked at loved it, I have to say I did. For the first time I felt really involved in the story, and cared about the people in it. It goes without saying that a Julie Taymor film is going to be visually stunning, and this one is, having been shot on Lanai, which has never really been in a film before, since it’s a private island. And there are very effective special effects. Ariel really is a sprite, a thing of the air and water, never really there completely. And all the actors in the smaller parts are quite good. But once again here’s a picture that belongs to Helen Mirren. (Did you know her real name is Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironoff?) By changing Prospero (a nasty old gent, in my opinion) to Prospera, Taymor radically changed the whole slant of the play without in any way doing violence to the story or the language. Yes, it’s cut a lot, but it’s hard enough to make a Shakespeare film at all, and just about impossible to do it uncut. Three hours? No way. I thoroughly enjoyed it.