Tristan & Isolde—20th Century Fox
An updated treatment of the ancient Celtic epic made famous through Wagner’s opera, Tristan & Isolde retells the medieval tragedy of star-crossed lovers who must hide their passion out of loyalty to king and tribe.
The tagline to the movie reads, “Before Romeo & Juliet, there was Tristan & Isolde.” In fact, the story is more likely the inspiration of the Lancelot myth. Does the world need another variation on this theme? Executive producer Ridley Scott thinks so and has tried to make the film for more than 30 years.
Director Kevin Reynolds (The Count of Monte Cristo) has put together an entertaining and real-world interpretation of the traditionally magical legend, offering classic elements of dark-age romance: squabbling feudal tribes, Machiavellian intrigue, savage broadsword battles, and fair maidens.
The 1:85:1 anamorphic transfer is a sumptuous visual experience, featuring a muted color palette to reflect the times and stunning cinematography suggestive of a John Waterhouse painting. What holds the disc back from being demo caliber are soft-looking medium and long shots, as well as the use of edge enhancement that can distract on a big screen.
The soundtrack boasts a winning Celtic-flavored score by Anne Dudley. Audio tracks, available in DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1, are surprisingly subtle in the surround channels for an epic. Extras include an excellent making-of featurette, two insightful commentary tracks, galleries, and a music video.