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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 28 November 2015
You'd need to know the play to comment in depth on this adaptation, but it certainly makes you want to explore it further. The lines - many of which have been taken on as figures of speech - are superbly recited, the switch from male to female of the main character seems wonderfully justified by Helen Mirren. Every actor brings his particular note and expertise, so that, through the visuals, it still comes across as a text first and foremost. The images, having said that, are out of this world, the island setting being as volcanic and wild as you could wish for. Ariel and Caliban share the honours for the most mercurial performances, the former (Ben Whishaw) benefiting from some extraordinary CGI which made it seem like a meaningful opening out of what the play is. Caliban (Djimon Hounsou), meanwhile, has the most fantastic presentation, with two-tone skin, and some scaly aspect - strange, and beautiful as a Michelangelo sculpture! The version seems to take strangeness and beauty of language as the twin starting points, leading a continuous dance through air, fire and water.
7 people found this helpful
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on 4 December 2012
I bought this DVD because I had to study the play for part of my OU Shakespeare module and, not having seen the play before, was unsure what to expect. I was entranced and have watched it several times. Helen Mirren as Prospera and Ben Wishaw as Ariel are both superb and the CGI use for Ariel adds another dimension to the play. I was unsure of seeing Russel Brand in Shakespeare but he is also wonderful. For anyone wanting to see a fresh rendering of The Tempest I urge you to buy this DVD.
20 people found this helpful
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on 27 May 2013
I've heard that when this film originally came out it was panned by the critics. I must say I have no idea why, it's a gorgeous piece stunningly filmed and exquisitely acted. I felt that the relationship between Prospera and Ariel was particularly affecting, the genderswitch of the main character bringing out a maternal affection that for the spirit that is obviously lacking in other interpretations. Ben Whishaw is wonderful as Ariel alternately whimsical and fierce and Helen Mirren brings out a deep and abiding strength of purpose in Prospera that yields to her child's needs at the end. If I had any criticism it would be that I'm not fond of Russell Brand in general but there's an argument to be made for his kind of manic performance in the role he has. In short, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
2 people found this helpful
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on 11 November 2015
This version is lots of fun. Students need to be aware that it is a version of the Tempest, and that certain things have been changed so they need to be familiar with the text as well, but as an enjoyable overview/introduction to studying the Tempest, this is a great film to watch.
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on 10 September 2017
After reading Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (read it - it's great) I decided to watch The Tempest. I really enjoyed this film. Helen Mirren is excellent and it's really interesting to see actors such as Chris Cooper performing Shakespeare.
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on 15 November 2014
Bought for my Shakespeare mad 8 year old and she adored it. It was great to see the idea of a female Prospero - 'Prospera' (Helen Mirren). She did a great job and it added a new aspect to the character. The setting of a real island made the whole film come alive. Would definitely recommend.
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on 24 January 2017
this is a full on production by the BBC it my be a little heavy for some. especially for someone like me that did not know anything about this play before. I found it very long, but my husband loved it.
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on 3 March 2013
The producer obviously decided to cast Prospero as a woman (Helen Mirren), which certainly makes you sit up and think. To be honest, though, I'm not convinced that she carried it off. Thank goodness I was aware of the plot because, in the early part of the play, I would have struggled to work out what was going on.

An enjoyable watch, but bone up on the overall plot, if you don't already know it.
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on 31 March 2016
A wonderful production. Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Ben Whishaw, Russell Brand - and all the others - are absolutely perfect. Strongly recommend you also watch the bonus feature about the making of the film. This made me appreciate the genius of the director Julie Taymor. Enjoyed every minute of this film and plan to watch it again tonight!
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on 23 January 2018
A wonderful twist on the usual play. Casting a Prospera rather than Prospero is genius and works incredibly well.
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