Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blown away

I've been doing some online research on The Tempest through sources like the IMDb and have finally decided to go ahead and purchase the 1979 production directed by the artsy late film director Derek Jarman -- I know! It was a big step! Now we can all sleep soundly tonight! -- who will probably turn out to be too much for me to wrap my head around: not only does his portrayal of Shakespeare's script include "considerable nudity, mostly male" (why?), but I often find that artsy things frequently strike me as pretentious, giving that air of trying so hard to be avant-garde. In the many reviews I've read, Jarman's Tempest either takes a beating or earns lyrical praise from both professional and amateur film critics, so I guess we'll see. Thankfully, it isn't very expensive.

One positive thought in all this is that no matter how many naked man-bums and willies I'm forced to behold, Jarman's version will have to be better than the BBC's made-for-TV version, directed by John Gorrie and starring no one that I've ever heard of before. This one was released in 1980, and if it can be compared to every other version the BBC filmed for the edification of British schoolkids, it will be a record stinker that will be painful to watch. I might find myself wishing for a little nudity to relieve the unremitting boredom.

HOWEVER, as captivating as all this is, I just found out that there's a new version of The Tempest starring Helen Mirren and due for release by Disney through Touchstone pictures this very fall.

At reading this, I jumped up from my chair and clicked my heels in the air several times. Yay, a new Tempest! Yay, no reports of gratuitious nudity! Yay, a (reportedly) faithful adaptation of the original script! I gamboled about the room until I grew breathless, which was in approximately seventeen seconds. Then I sat back down to read more about this production and felt that I'd been swamped by a tsunami.

This production, which is directed by Julie Traymor, stars Helen Mirren as.....wait for it.....Prospera. Not Prospero, PROSPERA. As in, Prospero is now a woman. Yes. Helen, you traitor! Now, depending upon your level of interest in and committment to the works of William Shakespeare, this news will either make you say, "Shut UP!!! That sounds FASCINATING!" or "I just remembered that I need to go to Walgreen' to check out their coupon page." If you're like me, you'll immediately fall to the floor and start biting the legs of the chair you were sitting in.

Okay, I'm assuming you're all back in your chairs again.

Julie Traymor also wrote the screenplay for this production, which smacks of nepotism in a particularly incestuous way. And just read this snippet of a review:

Prospera's throne is usurped by her brother, and she is sent off on a ship with
her four-year-old daughter. They find themselves stranded on an island devoid of
society. A power struggle develops between Caliban and Prospera due to her
efforts to become a father figure to Miranda.

This nearly made me fall to the floor again -- it's like throwing some chicken nuggets on a baking sheet in the oven and basting them with margarine and calling the resulting mess "Julia Child's roasted chicken" -- but the news that Russell Brand plays the role of Trinculo sent the tornado warning sirens blaring in my head at an alarming volume.

Russell Brand, for those of you unfamiliar with his name, is a noted skeevy British playboy who has won The Sun's Shagger of the Year Award three years running. Way to go, Russell, you skank. He's also currently starring in the movie Get Him to the Greek, which just looks.....oh, never mind how it looks. If I just came right out and said it, my mother would shoot me and embalm my body in Clorox. He is reportedly engaged to the American pop-tart Katy Perry, famous for the song titled "I Kissed a Girl," and their union might just cause the apocalypse to rain down upon us. That's Russell Brand's picture up there, by the way, and yes, he always looks that crazed and glassy of eye. That Katy is one brave girl.

Only the fact that Alfred Molina is also in the cast of this movie keeps me from utter despair. But I have to admit, I'm piqued. JULIE TRAYMOR, I HATE YOU FOR SUCKING ME INTO THIS VORTEX! I shall wait for the fall, nibbling on my fingernails and waiting for the storm to break.

No comments: