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The Tempest [DVD]

Helen Mirren , Felicity Jones , Julie Taymor    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
Price: 5.10 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Tempest [DVD] + KS3 English Shakespeare Text Guide - The Tempest + Tempest: York Notes Advanced: William Shakespeare
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Product details

  • Actors: Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Russell Brand
  • Directors: Julie Taymor
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Icelandic, Hebrew, Bulgarian
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Dec 2011
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004KSRYT8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,960 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Stark colors and textures dominate The Tempest, a cinematic adaptation of the classic play by William Shakespeare, directed by acclaimed theater maverick Julie Taymor (whose other films include Titus and Frida). The ever-magnificent Helen Mirren (The Queen, Red) plays the usually male role of the magician Prospera, the duchess of Milan, who was exiled to an island with her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones), where she has two magical servants: the mercurial spirit Ariel (Ben Whishaw, Bright Star) and the sullen, lumpen Caliban (Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond). Prospera conjures up the storm of the title and brings ashore a ship full of her former peers, including the king of Naples (David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck), the king's son Ferdinand (Reeve Carney), and Prospera's brother (Chris Cooper, Adaptation), who usurped her position in Milan. Treachery, regret, and romance follow. The Tempest has the weaknesses of the original play; there's much talk of rebellion but nothing really happens--Miranda and Ferdinand fall in love, Caliban gets drunk with a couple of clownish shipwrecked men (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2, and Russell Brand, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and Ariel bewitches and bedazzles the king and his retinue… all of which comes to a tidy and too easy conclusion. Taymor whips up plenty of visual razzle-dazzle, some of which is lovely and some of which is trying too hard. But the strength of The Tempest is some gorgeous poetry, and Mirren handles that language with impeccable clarity and power. --Bret Fetzer

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
94 of 103 people found the following review helpful
Let me say right off: I am a total Bardolator. I teach Shakespeare, I am obsessed with Shakespeare, I have read and seen all the plays, and my love affair with the Bard began with seeing a live performance of The Tempest in 1975. It was pure magic. I also love movies, and I believe that in the 21st century, filmed versions of Shakespeare's plays are probably the best way to reach the widest audience. The sneers and sniffs of snobs aside, I am convinved that if Will were alive today, he'd be writing movie screenplays (or even television), NOT stage plays, which today tend to be aimed at a narrow, elite, theatre-going audience.

As a literature professor who has been teaching The Tempest for a decade now, I have always been singularly bemused by the lack of a filmed version that really captures the magical spirit of the play. The old TV Richard Burton show is well-acted but silly, the BBC version has great actors but terrible, flat production values, Prospero's Books is brilliant but incomprehensible to all but those who know the play intimately, Derek Jarman's version is terribly dated and, despite being a good "film," just doesn't work as The Tempest, in my opinion. The other, "scholastic" releases are plagued by poor production and/or undistinguished acting. And I won't even bother with "adaptations" of the plot, such as Forbidden Planet or Cassavettes's Tempest.

Until this version, the only truly excellent version of The Tempest was the HBO animated one, but at 25 minutes, not much of Shakespeare's story remained intact.

This past spring I had the great pleasure of seeing Julie Taymor's The Tempest in London. It was absolutely amazing. The magic was there! The acting, for the most part, was brilliant.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brave New Version 23 Nov 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I can see why this was criticised when it was released - the rock soundtrack is overpowering at times, and the special effects are actually not that special - but on the whole it's a brave attempt at looking at this wonderful play in a whole new way. I am very fond of The Tempest, which I suppose could have worked against this inventive adaptation, but I though it was an interesting vision and my seventeen year old son enjoyed it immensely, which is fantastic - anything that gets teenagers into Shakespeare is OK in my book.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tempestuous! 30 Jun 2011
Oooops ...... looks like we are going to get very diverse views here, take your pick I guess. Do understand the previous review to a degree, I'm not usually taken with Shakespeare being mucked around with too much and The Tempest is my favourite Shakespeare, but found this production both refreshing and entertaining - even with Russell Brand in it - well done Julie Taymor. Found Helen Mirren cast as Prospera (Prospero) a very clever move, nice take, got my attention anyway - honestly was a bit sceptical about this but it really worked well, she was magnificent. Loved the CGI effects for Ariel, liked Caliban lots, great setting.Well worth a watch if you can just accept something a bit different, a nice entertaining interpretation on Shakespeare's lovely fantasy! I keep coming back here waiting for the dvd as I really want to see it again.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mirren magic once again! 17 Feb 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
What a splendid rendition of the tempest with such a wild and wondeful cast. As with so many Shakespeare plays that have no place or time this one goes all the way for modern visual effects and there are plenty. I wasnt at all bothered by the transition from Prospero to Prospera which Mirren played. She did her best to make it cold but sadly missed a lot of the calculating although I quite looked the outside looking in approach.She had the material magic but didnt quite frighten her prey as much as I would have liked but the diction and enunciation were impecable. All of the rest of the cast did an excellent job also but the main star was the location. It really was a mythical dessert island like you had never seen or known. The atmosphere was very much Lord of the Rings style adding to the pace. All the comic and clown parts were top grade too. A particular hats off to Russell Brand. He really gave it all he'd got. I believe it was Shakespeare's last play and I think he, like many great artists, was trying to break new, other worldly ground. I always like to think of Prospero/as' setting free of Ariel rather like the Bard saying goodbye to his life long muse.This is a must for any avid Shakespeare collector.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic version of the Tempest. The whole cast are excellent (yes you doubters, even Russell Brand!) and it looks amazing. Helen Mirren is perfect as Prospera, and the switching of that character's gender to female does give an interesting new twist on the relationship with Miranda. I very much enjoyed both the audio commentaries as well - one by the director for those that are interested in the film making process and one with a couple of Shakespeare buffs for those that are interested in the play.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spectacularly Original 20 Dec 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A different take on this play with the superb Helen Mirren as Prospera (a female Prospero). Startling special effects do not distract from the play, and even Russell Brand (of whom I am usually no fan at all !!) turns in a good comic performance teamed with Alfred Molina.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A visual treat.
While the Tempest is Shakespeares final masterpiece it is also probably one of the easiest starting places to come to appreciate why Shakespeares work is held in such high regard. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter N. Ingleby
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Eye (& the Ear) of 'The Tempest'
Julie Taymor is undoubtedly a talented director with a skill for interpreting the texts of Shakespeare. 'The Tempest' is a feast for the eyes and the ears by all accounts. Read more
Published 2 months ago by The Scribe
5.0 out of 5 stars A Different Approach
Having seen the traditional staged production and heard the varied media reactions to this film I was left with some doubts as to what had been done to Shakespeare's drama. Read more
Published 2 months ago by GMR
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. Deluded. Dull.
A disappointing adaptation of The Tempest with the only half decent performance from Helen Mirren. Even as a comedy genre, the director was clearly more interested in a Monty... Read more
Published 3 months ago by jayne Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Great performance.
if you like Shakespear and you like Helen Mirren then you will enjoy this film. As always, she is brilliant.
Published 4 months ago by Joyce Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent film
this is an excellent adaptation of the tempest. Helen Mirren is a wonderful lead and the rest of the cast are equally good. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jimmy dwyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Super.
I saw this in the cinema and the production was good enough for me to want to buy the. DVD. Helen Mirren and all the others do a fantastic job.
Published 5 months ago by jasperoo
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite work
Sorry, doesn't quite work for me....great cast, interesting premise, imaginatively filmed, evocative location - but it does not quite hang together.....watched it and now moved on. Read more
Published 5 months ago by perko
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tempest
I was dubious about the lead part being played by helen Mirren when is was written as a male part. But it worked well and I enjoyed it and will watch again
Published 8 months ago by Peter Clynes
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good in parts.
Helen Mirren as Prospera was excellent and brought out some aspects of the character strongly; Caliban was wonderful and most of the other characters well played. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dr P Lemon
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