Tristan and Isolde Kevin Reynolds

Tristan and Isolde Kevin Reynolds
Some people never learn. For instance, Kevin Reynolds, a man who's made a life directing atrocious historical pageants (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Rapa Nui) returns to the same well of inspiration for his latest disaster.

James Franco and Sophia Miles play the medieval star-crossed lovers; he's an English soldier, she's an Irish princess. That the English and Irish are at sword point makes their romance a tad sensitive, but when he washes up on shore, she has no choice but to fall in love with him, that is, when she's not warming his naked body with hers.

There's no reason this movie had to be bad (after all, Wagner managed to make it interesting) but it seems to have been sold as Titanic with swordfights and so runs aground on clichés and lousy action scenes. It wasn't thought out so much as slapped together, with arbitrary love scenes attached to perfunctory battles with the actors decked out in some of the most glaringly fake period costumes ever put on film.

Nothing builds to anything and after a while the movie becomes amorphous, with events fading into each other rather than creating a narrative. And the cast, including Rufus Sewell and his blighted career, seems so arbitrarily chosen that you wonder if they didn't cast the first several dozen people who showed up for the audition.

That the movie has a dolorous green and grey colour scheme doesn't help matters, but by the time you've noticed the film has already become a chore to sit through. Tristan and Isolde is a spectacular waste of time and money — theirs and yours alike. (Fox)