The Tempest | Chicago Reader

The Tempest

Shakespeare's final play is often read as a personal valedictory, with Prospero the elderly sorcerer doubling for the magical Bard. But for a filmmaker like Julie Taymor, Shakespeare's language isn't nearly as enticing as Prospero's violent manipulation of the elements, and this screen adaptation of the play—like her egregious Beatles movie Across the Universe (2007)—is primarily an exercise in eccentric (and, I would argue, empty) spectacle. The main beneficiary of her CGI-candy is the mischievous sprite Ariel (Ben Whishaw), mugging and mutating into countless wacky forms; Helen Mirren stars as the feminized protagonist, Prospera; and Djimon Hounsou, in the sort of racial typecasting we're supposed to have outgrown, is the savage Caliban, who looks like he sat on the grill too long before someone turned him over. The able cast also includes Alfred Molina, Russell Brand, Alan Cumming, and Matewan alums Chris Cooper and David Strathairn.



  • Julie Taymor


  • Helen Mirren
  • Felicity Jones
  • Djimon Hounsou
  • Ben Whishaw
  • Reeve Carney
  • David Strathairn
  • Alan Cumming
  • Chris Cooper
  • Tom Conti
  • Alfred Molina
  • Russell Brand


  • Julie Taymor
  • Robert Chartoff
  • Lynn Hendee
  • Julia Taylor-Stanley
  • Jason Lau
  • John Ching
  • Deborah Lau
  • Ron Bozman
  • Tino Puri
  • Rohit Khattar
  • Stewart Till
  • Anthony Buckner
  • Greg Strasburg

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