Time Out says
With the juicy role of Prospero at its heart, Shakespeare’s The Tempest may seem like an actor’s play, but it has often been an invitation for directors of stage and screen to muse on their own rough magic, which they tend to throw around with abandon before it’s all over. A director has to create a magical storm at sea, a sprite who flits around like the wind and people bewitched, bothered and bewildered by the island’s sprites. Taymor never met a theatrical device she didn’t like, and her film adaptation of the play feels like a course in big effects, with a cast of pros along for the ride.
That’s too bad, because Mirren brings a gorgeous precision to her line readings as the gender-switched Prospera, who rules over a barren island to which she has magically brought her old enemies. Willowy Whishaw makes a natural Ariel, and Molina makes a bawdy drunken Stephano. Most of the rest of the cast are perfectly fine, but get overwhelmed by all the directing going on around them. Taymor has ideas about Shakespeare’s final play, but it’s hard to hear them over all that sound and fury.
Cast and crew