Another reason to lament the failure of Orson Welles and Terry Gilliam to bring their visions of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel to the screen, veteran director Manuel Gutierrez Aragon’s “Don Quixote, Knight Errant” is a handsomely mounted but stolidly reverential retelling of the Spanish classic. Outside the classy production’s home territory, where the high-caliber cast and enduring popularity of the book might count, interest looks to be confined to European lit students.
Following his award-winning 1991 small-screen adaptation, the director’s second encounter with Cervantes’ delusional devotee of chivalry and romance also has the feel of upscale television fare. Concentrating on the later years of the adventures of Don Quixote (Juan Luis Galiardo) and loyal sidekick Sancho Panza (Carlos Iglesias), Gutierrez Aragon puts a vaguely postmodern spin on the material, casting the pair as agents of their own fiction; their travels coincide with their spreading popularity as much-derided but beloved heroes of a widely read saga. But despite this playful reinterpretation of the spirit of Cervantes and the rich, golden-toned visuals and sweeping landscapes, the film is conventional, academic and unenthralling.