Prospero changes sex to become Prospera (Helen Mirren) in Julie Taymor's gender-bending adaptation of Shakespeare's fantastical thriller. After beng banished to a desert island with her young daughter by her duplicitous brother Antonio (Chris Cooper), Prospera gets her chance for revenge when she conjures up a storm to drive those who wronged her ashore... and on to her turf. Solid support comes from Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou and Russell Brand as drunken jester Trinculo.
The Bard gets yet another cinematic reinvention in this big screen adaptation of Shakespeare's supernatural tragi-comedy.
Director Julie Taymor, who previously reworked Titus Andronicus for cinema, changes the sex of banished magician Prospero to Prospera but hangs onto the iambic pentameter.
She also manages to attract a high-calibre A-list of luvvies, notably Helen Mirren as Prospera, Chris Cooper as Antonio and Russell Brand providing some much-needed manic comic relief as Trinculo.
Prospera, the Duchess of Milan, is banished together with her daughter Miranda (Jones) for practising the black arts and eventually washes up on a remote island (in this case, Hawaii).
Revenge comes quickly when Antonio together with David Strathairn's King of Naples hove into view and she whips up a storm to shipwreck their vessel on her island.
However, Taymor's Tempest may whip up a special effect storm yet never engages as a compelling narrative: the characters remain vague and distant.
It doesn't help that dialogue which demands concentration also has to compete with a soundtrack that makes it all but inaudible, particularly the signature gale which drowns out every character's exchange.
This is one adaptation that won't be going down a storm.