Release Date: January 13th, 2006 by Twentieth Century Fox.
The Cast: James Franco, Sophia Myles, Rufus Sewell, David Patrick O'Hara, Mark Strong, Henry Cavill, Bronagh Gallagher, Ronan Vibert, Lucy Russell, J.B. Blanc, Thomas Sangster, Jamie King.
Directed by Kevin Reynolds.
BASIC PREMISE: During the Dark Ages when Britain is at war with Ireland, Tristan (Franco), a noble British knight, has a secret love affair with Isolde (Myles), an Irish princess.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The plot never becomes fully engaging because of poor casting and mediocre acting. James Franco looks uncomfortable as Tristan, who luckily survives a battle with the Irish thanks to Isolde. She secretly tends his wounds in a cave without telling him her true identity. Soon enough, they make love with one another and, somehow, fall in love. Unfortunately, neither actor has the skill to deliver their lines with conviction—although Myles does look very beautiful as Isolde. Tristan returns to Britain and ends up fighting in a tournament against the Irish. After he wins, the prize—which just happens to be Isolde—goes to Lord Markus (Sewell), Tristan’s guardian. Suddenly, the plot becomes more complex with this love triangle. However, without romantic chemistry, you never really believe that Tristan and Isolde are meant to be soul mates like Romeo and Juliet. The stilted script doesn’t make any of the characters feel real; instead they’re one-dimensional and dull. The script could also use a few dashes of comic relief like in director Kevin Reynolds’ last film, The Count of Monte Cristo . On a positive note, Tristan and Isolde has great costume/set design along with beautiful cinematography, particularly within a scene in the third act that takes place in front of a flowing river at night. Also, the musical score and soundtrack are quite impressive, but not enough to truly hold your interest.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The third act should’ve been more moving and heartbreaking, but, because of the lack of chemistry between Tristan and Isolde, you don’t end up shedding a single tear.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Weak script, no chemistry, poor casting and mediocre acting.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
IN A NUTSHELL: Although it both looks and sounds great, the lack of chemistry, stilted script, and poor casting leaves you with a cold feeling.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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