Helen Mirren casts a spell on “The Tempest” trailer

Things I believe are universally true: 1) Helen Mirren is wicked awesome. 2) Julie Taymor is a visual maestro. 3) Shakespeare is a wordsmith like whoa. So, if you combine all three of these together, you get the trailer for Taymor’s new gender-bending adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest starring Dame Mirren.

The trailer is a visual smorgasbord of words and wizardry and also features Alan Cumming, Alfred Molina, Chris Cooper, David Strathairn, Djimon Hounsou and Russell Brand. More on that last bit later. For now, enjoy.

It’s like Harry Potter and Gandalf fell into da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and came out the other side as a super badass version of Queen Elizabeth. Also, fire! The gender-bendy part is Mirren’s role of the renamed Prospera. Traditionally the lead character of sorcerer Prospero is played by a man. I rather like Mirren with a staff and super powers.

On the other hand, I rather dislike all the Russell Brand facetime. In fact, Brand and Shakespeare are the anti-peanut butter and jelly. Two things that are definitely not great together. The very last thing I want to see in my avant-garde Shakespeare adaptation is this guy wearing a dress. Well, at least they appropriately labeled his part: “Stupidity.”

As for the rest, the imagery is as expected, awesome. And Mirren, as also expected, looks stunning. What is this woman’s fitness secret at age 65?

Well, she might have let that little secret slip with her recent signing on as a spokeswoman for Wii Fit in the UK. God, someone please tell me there is video somewhere of Dame Helen Mirren playing the crazy chicken flying game on her Wii.

So, what do you think of the trailer? Will it satisfy fans of the Bard? Will it satisfy fans of Mirren? Frankly, I don’t care if it satisfies Brand fans, though it might do Katy Perry‘s lyrics some good for her to sit through an entire Shakespeare production. Discuss.

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