If the new trailer for Julie Taymor’s cinematic take on William Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, is any indication, then the Across the Universe filmmaker has crafted yet another visual extravaganza for the big screen.

Those who found Taymor’s Beatles musical easy on the eyes but lacking in terms of an engaging plot or fully-rounded characters can take comfort – the source material behind The Tempest is (obviously) solid. The fact that Dame Helen Mirren – who has been hard at work this year, lending her voice to Legend of the Guardians and appearing in films like Red and The Debt – plays the lead is just icing on the cake.

Taymor’s Tempest switches the gender of Shakespeare’s tormented wizard Prospero, who is now the witch Prospera (Mirren). The general plot is otherwise identical to the Bard’s original work, as Prospera orchestrates a sea storm that leads her treacherous brother Antonio (Chris Cooper), along with King Alonso (David Strathairn) of Naples and his son Ferdinand (Reeve Carney), to the island she and her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones) were marooned on several years before.

Rounding out this impressive cast are the likes of Russell Brand and Alfred Molina as the comical Trinculo and Stephano, respectively; Alan Cumming as Alonso’s brother, Sebastian; Ben Whishaw as Prospera’s “airy spirit” servant, Ariel; and Djimon Hounsou as the monstrous Caliban.

Check out the trailer for the latest film adaptation of The Tempest below:

The Tempest footage on display here contains some astonishing imagery and the kind of vibrant visual FX that Taymor is well renowned for. Everyone in the cast seems well-fitted for their respective roles and it looks as though Taymor – whose previous Shakespearean adaptation, Titus, was visually beautiful and riveting in its own right – has by and large captured the epic nature of the playwright’s fantastical and romantic final work.

The Tempest received mixed reviews from those in attendance at this year’s New York Film Festival – with the most common complaint being that Taymor’s film was gorgeous to look at but overall lacked the charm and fun of the original play. We shall have to wait and see how it fares with the general movie critic community when it hits theaters this December.

Russell Brand and Alfred Molina in 'The Tempest.'

Audiences rarely flock to see film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays and The Tempest will appeal more to the arthouse crowd than to mainstream moviegoers.  It still seems like the kind of film worth seeing on the big screen, if only to marvel at its visual prowess and technical flair.

The Tempest hits theaters in the U.S. on December 10th, 2010.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers