Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Tempest [Blu-ray]


(Derek Jarman, 1979)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Anglo International Films

Video: Kino



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:20.965

Disc Size: 33,360,217,638 bytes

Feature Size: 26,692,706,304 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.87 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 7th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit






• Three short films by Derek Jarman: ''A Journey To Avebury'' (10:43 in 1080i), ''Garden Of Luxor'' (8:56 in 1080i) and ''Art Of Mirrors'' (5:51 in 1080i)






Description: Shot on location at the ancient and ghostly Stoneleigh Abbey, The Tempest tells the story of Prospero the magician, who lives with his nubile daughter on an enchanted island and punishes his enemies when they are shipwrecked there. It's a study of sexual and political power in the guise of a fairy tale. Jarman presents Shakespeare's intricate comedy of magic and revenge in a form that is at once faithful to the spirit of the play and an original and dazzling spectacle mixing Hollywood pastiche, high camp, and gothic horror. His film recalls the innocent homoeroticism of Pasolini's versions of classics, while its lush sense of decor and color is worthy of Minnelli. Remastered in HD and available for the first time on Blu-ray!



The Film:

The Tempest is, if anything, punk Shakespeare. In fact, Shakespeare hardly gets a look-in, with the play only serving as backdrop to Derek Jarman’s compulsively weird imagery. Jarman has wilfully rearranged and deleted sections of the play. Vital chunks of Shakespeare – the whole Prospero/Miranda obsession, for instance – are neglected. Indeed, Shakespearean purists usually give the film the thumbs down, so the best way to approach the film is to ignore Shakespeare altogether. The film is like a journey through a haunted house where all the characters and the very dwelling itself are verging on madness – the two sailors Trinculo and Stephano’s passage through the rooms of the house takes on a dark, dream-like quality. (All the interiors were shot at the gloomy Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire). The film is lit in a shadowy atmosphere that frequently verges on the monochrome. It seems at times to be a trip through a whacked-out dress-designer’s attic, where costumes from modern and period different eras mix, where statues stand draped in formal clothing and stylised porcelain Japanese masks, and where painted dwarves dance.

Excerpt from located HERE

Jarman's rendering of the Bard's last act is his best picture to date, superbly shot in crumbling abbeys and mansions that look like Piranesi's Gothic drawings of fallen Rome, and turning the triteness of camp into absurdist comedy. The ending is pure Python and a major mistake - a cabaret with Elisabeth Welch singing 'Stormy Weather'- but until then Jarman's gleeful re-imagining of the play and his serious debate with it works wondrously well. Ages and influences crash together - Caliban as an Edwardian butler, Ariel a sight for gay eyes, Prospero a character out of Blake - but it's all of a piece, directed like a magic show.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Derek Jarman's The Tempest gets put to Blu-ray from Kino.  Originally shot on 16mm with a blow-up to 35mm the 1080P image is about as expected - perhaps superior with lots of rich grain and texture.  This is dual-layered with a high video bitrate. Considering the production limitations the Blu-ray seems to be offering a strong representation.  Obviously this is not a pristine, glossy looking effort and was never meant to look that way. There is, however, a touch of depth - colors may be slightly faded but still look pleasing. It has a consistent appearance and is relatively clean aside from some minor speckles. I can't imagine the film ever looking this authentic for home theater presentation. Considering the production constraints - this is visually quite impressive.















Audio :

Audio is in a sparse linear PCM stereo track at 1536 kbps. Not much to report - occasionally scattered - which would be in accordance with the original production. There is a touch of depth. Dialogue is audible enough and there are no subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.


Extras :

Supplements include a trailer and three creative short films by Jarman in 1080i: ''A Journey To Avebury'', ''Garden Of Luxor'' and ''Art Of Mirrors'' running about 25-minutes in total. These are of the student-experimental variety - few constraints - and the director's fans will appreciate.



Jarman's The Tempest is certainly interesting as a unique take on The Bard's work and still recognizable to the play on many fronts but there are notable omissions. I suspect that this Blu-ray can only find an audience for those who appreciate Jarman - or are prepared to see something adventurous and lyrical brushing aside standard conventions and pushing the artistic envelope to its most creative levels. I think the package is a good one - a faithful a/v and keen extras. Recommended to the group open enough to be titillated by its festival-like charms. 

Gary Tooze

August 3rd, 2012

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






Hit Counter












DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!