New Release: The Tempest DVD and Blu-ray

The Tempest movie sceneJulie Taymor’s film version of The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren (Love Ranch), Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) and Russell Brand (Get Him to the Greek), was released on DVD and Blu-ray from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Sept. 13, 2011.

The movie, which was nominated for an Oscar for costume design, features a great cast, including Helen Mirren (Red), Alfred Molina (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), Chris Cooper (The Company Men), Alan Cumming (Riverworld), Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator), Tom Conti (TV’s Four Seasons), David Strathairn (Howl), Felicity Jones (Cemetery Junction) and comedian Russell Brand (Get Him to the Greek).

Directed and adapted for the screen by Julie Taymor (Across the Universe), the movie changes the main character of Prospero to a woman, Prospera (Mirren), in the 16th or 17th century, when women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. Prospera is sent off on a ship with her 4-year-old daughter and ends up on an island. From there, she conjures up a storm that shipwrecks her enemies, so she can exact her revenge.

The PG-13 movie was released in a very limited number of theaters, grossing far less than $1 million. But critics weren’t particularly kind to Taymor’s version of this Shakespeare fantasy. Christopher Tookey of the U.K.’s Daily Mirror said the film was “misjudged, un-poetic and tedious — like a pompous production of Mamma Mia, without the ABBA songs.” Ouch!

New Yorker critic David Denby recognized some strengths: “the solid acting of David Strathairn and Tom Conti … and the shenanigans of Russell Brand and Alfred Molina…”

The Tempest was priced at $29.99 for the DVD, $39.99 for the Blu-ray, and the movie was made available for download the same day (standard-def $29.99, high-def $39.99).

The DVD and Blu-ray include these special features:

  • commentary with Taymor
  • “Russell Brand Rehearsal Riff”
  • and “O Mistress Mine” Reeve Carney music video.

The very cool hardcover book of Taymor’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, adorned with a visual narrative of the making of the film, has been available for a few months.

Check out the trailer:


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.