I'm immersing myself in American Dad Season one DVD tomorrow
One of those
people, are you?
Well, I was prepared for a very overbearing cheese factor in this movie, but I'm glad to say that it really wasn't there. Compared to a lot of movies set in the early middle ages, this one seems to have pretty good respect for the history (i.e. no David Bowie or things you would expect walking into Medieval Times like in A Knight's Tale
). It was visually quite a pretty movie, with lovely scenery and engaging sets with a lot of character.
However, the story itself wasn't as engaging as I'd hoped. True, they could have really mangled it, but I really don't quite understand the changes that they made. They definitely played up Tristan's history, which was nice, and I think they were opting to stick to a more "realistic" approach at telling the story, rather than the fanciful "dragon slaying"-type material you find in the legends. . . but I sort of feel that the love affair between Tristan and Isolde is a bit more bland because of it (no love potion involved, no "Tristan the romantic musician/infallible knight", no "Isolde the mystical healer"). In the original story, Tristan has to hide his identity from Isolde, and she's actually quite angry with him when she finds out who he really is, but that doesn't happen here. Their meeting isn't near as "fated" as it appears in the story, and Tristan's real skill and intelligence isn't shown off to its full potential. It also gets a bit repetitive after awhile (Tristan trying to remain dutiful to the king, Isolde convincing him otherwise, late-night tryst, distant longing, rewind and start again), but I don't necessarily hold that against them, because that's much the way the original story is.
The thing that really bothered me was the ending. I really like how they kept King Mark as being a good, sympathetic character throughout, and how they really played up Tristan retaining his honor in the eyes of his king (a very Arthurian, chivalric move), but it opts for, once again, the more 'realistic" ending rather than the more Romeo and Juliet
-esque ending of the two of them dying of grief. Sure, it's not something that would play as well with modern audiences, but the alternative that is offered here isn't that exciting, really
On the whole, I just sort of felt like the movie was okay; not bad as I was expecting, but not really good either. I could watch it again, but I probably wouldn't if there were other better things around.