Indeed, let us hope that this movie will be a pleasant surprise, and will join the short list of period of films that actually manage to eschew the values of the present day, and immerse themselves in the environments of older--and nobler--cultures.
The presence of director Kevin Reynolds bodes well for the film. With his thematically faithful adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo
several years ago, Reynolds demonstrated that he can convincingly evoke the spirit of a different age. And let's not forget that, in many ways, his Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
(1991), which predated both Bravehart
and The Last of the Mohicans,
set the tone for every successful Hollywood period film that has followed: naturalistic, shot on location, but with sophisticated contemporary camera work.
A Tristan and Isolde
film is extremely welcome because, alone among the principal Wagner operas (except for The Flying Dutchman
), there is no historically-faithful production of the work currently on video. All of Wagner's other major operas (Dutchman
aside) are available in faithful interpretations, performed by The Metropolitan Opera, under the direction of James Levine. But the Met's Tristan
production is modernist rubbish, so this film will immediately become the definitive video document of the legend.
And what a brilliant move on the director's part to shoot the film in Ireland. The landscapes and skies in the trailer are indeed breathtaking, and immediately transport the viewer to a realm of myth and legend. As anyone who has lived in (or toured) Europe can attest, there is a certain quality about the perpetually-overcast Northern skies, with the sunlight breaking through in shafts of glowing white gold, that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world (no, not even in New Zealand).
Incidentally, that Irish coastline would provide an ideal backdrop for a plus-size model photo shoot--especially in the historically-inspired fashions that are rightly so popular today . . .
The epic beauty of Irish goddess Charlotte Coyle (who would require no love potion to capture the heart of any living Tristan):