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The Tempest Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 110 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Miramax/Touchstone Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 13, 2011
  • List Price: $39.99

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BestBuy.com:
The Tempest - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase The Tempest on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4.5/5]

Director Julie Taymor’s last broadway production, Spiderman, may have been racked with troubles and become a colossal critical failure, but there is no denying her talent as a visually experimental artist. With The Tempest, William Shakespeare’s final masterpiece, Taymor has put on another lavishly produced and visually stimulating production that spurs the imagination.

A fantastical re-imagining of Shakespeare’s play, in Taymor’s telling of The Tempest, Prospero becomes a woman, Prospera, as played by Helen Mirren. Exiled to a bleak and magical island with her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones), the sorceress conjures up a storm that shipwrecks her enemies, a group of Italian dignitaries who are all plotting amongst themselves for political gain as well. Prospera will use her power to get revenge, but she will also be subject to a plot against her by the island’s native inhabitant Caliban (Djimon Hounsou) and two of the ship’s lower-ranked members, Trinculo (Russell Brand) and Stephano (Alfred Molina).

In this tale, Shakespeare brings together the culmination of his powers as a storyteller, wrapping together tragedy, romance, political intrigue, and fantasy in a story that might well symbolize Europe’s – at the time — new colonial reach and at times oppressive treatment of the people it came across in the new world.

Taymor’s handling of the subject is mesmerizing, as usual. Though less faithful as, say, a Branagh film interpretation of Shakespeare it is no less interesting or enjoyable.

Video Quality

[Rating:5/5]

The Tempest looks gorgeous, keeping Disney’s tradition of strong Blu-ray transfers alive and well. This AVC encodement from their Touchstone imprint shows a nice layer of grain with sharp texture in the foreground extended well into the backgrounds, solid black levels and great contrasts. The transfer is clean and lacking in any issues pertaining to noise or compression.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

This is a wholly engulfing and dynamic lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that hits with a lot of punch and deep lows when needed and then pulls back to a whisper when the scene calls for it. The raging storm surrounds you and atmospherics are quite audible throughout. Dialogue is clean and high frequencies sound airy and natural.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

Both audio commentaries are really good, but it is the one by the Shakespeare experts that really gives the best insight into the material. Both Vaughn and Bate, recorded separately, offer their interpretations of the work as well as opinions on how Taymor handled it. Additionally, there is a thorough hour-long making-of featurette well worth watching. Everything else feels like filler.

The supplements provided with this release:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Julie Taymor
  • Shakespeare Experts Audio Commentary – An educational audio commentary with renowned Shakespeare experts Virginia Vaughn & Jonathan Bate
  • Raising The Tempest (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 01:06:06)
  • Russell Brand Rehearsal Riff (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:32)
  • Julie & Cast: Inside the L.A. Rehearsals (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:34)
  • Mistress Mine Music Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

A splendidly visual and poetic interpretation of a Shakespeare masterpiece, Julie Taymor’s The Tempest is like a Cirque de Soleil show with more substance. This Blu-ray release from Disney’s Touchstone and Miramax is also an A-list release with reference audio and video.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B003Y5H5JM[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Tempest - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle AC3

Purchase The Tempest on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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