365 High-Def Days of Oscar: Day 135
Release Year: 2010
Best Costume Design
THE PLOT THUS FAR
Shakespeare’s epic play is translated from page to screen, with the gender of the main character, Prospero, changed from male to female.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
After years stranded on a deserted island, exiled duchess and sorceress Prospera (Helen Mirren) exacts vengeance on her enemies, whose passing vessel she has shipwrecked. What she doesn’t know is that the ship also carries a potential suitor to her daughter (Felicity Jones). Writer-director Julie Taymor’s bold adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic play also stars Russell Brand, Djimon Hounsou, Alfred Molina and Chris Cooper.
Although Tom Conti’s Gonzalo and Alfred Molina’s Stefano were good, I also felt the rest of the characters – even Prospera – lacked a certain passion. Miranda was almost as good as we have any right to expect, but the only real stand-out character who displayed proper passion was Caliban. Most definitely the most successful version of the character I have seen yet. Much the same goes for Ariel, who was very close to how I’ve always imagined him.
I could mention other occasional shortcomings – textual cuts, a speech that did not have maximum effect, a comical scene that wasn’t all that comical, etc. – but the fact of the matter is that this adaptation was a thing of beauty. Being a stage designer for opera productions, Taymor understands how to create a simultaneously modern and poetic environment stuffed with stylish imagery. I loved the sounds effects and the visual effects equally, and have long yearned to see such a version of The Tempest.
The Blu-Ray comes with a commentary from Julie Taymor and a Reeve Carney music video. There’s also an extended piece from rehearsal of Russell Brand riffing in character. I’m not a big fan of Brand, so this was more distracting than anything. The 1080p transfer is pretty amazing with color and scene play that makes long for “Titus” to eventually arrive on HD to partner up with this flick. The DTS-HD master audio track is lossless and sports a range that simply blows all other Shakespearean adaptations out of the water. I’d highly recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 09/13/2011