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This particular Shakespeare play is favoured by so many because it contains so many aspects. There’s romance, drama, comedy and tragedy and just in case you were going to get bored, an extreme opportunity for special effects.
So Julie Taymor, turning her hand to directing a film version, should be cause for celebration. It certainly was the reason so many highly acclaimed people came on board.
Behind the scenes were people who’d won Oscars for costume and music and in front were Helen Mirren, Ben Whishaw, Alfred Molina, Djimoun Hounsou as well as Chris Cooper, David Strathairn and Felicity Jones.
Mirren plays Prospera, the deposed duke of Milan, so already there’s some gender bending going on here. The rest of the story is the same though: she gets her revenge on her brother and everything is made right with the world when the king’s son falls for her daughter.
The cinematography is gorgeous, making use of stark landscapes and clever sfx, but the film never becomes more than the sum of its parts.
It remains a staged affair, with the actors going through the motions of acting. Despite the action taking place outside, it feels like such a small story because it never takes flight.
SPECIAL FEATURES: A feature about the special effects, a music video featuring Reeve Carney (who played Ariel) singing, audio commentary and the most amazing Russell Brand rehearsal riff which sees him launch into an unscripted four-minute explanation about his character.