Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
UK / English
"Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Safeguard the helpless, and do no wrong
"Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.
excellent, fair to islam, sweeping, narrative could have used tightening...
I really enjoyed this movie. The way the movie started in Europe and
how dark it was there... and the journey to Jerusalem... just wonderful
stuff up to that point.
Liam Neeson, as usual, is just SO GOOD, you wish he had more screen
- Orlando Bloom, actually surprisingly, was able to carry the movie as
a lead. I was surprised he had the heft to do it, but I agree with the
critic who said that the beard helped. He was a man, not a boy.
- Battle scenes... incredible. I was really surprised that they could
wow me, since we've been numbed by the quality of battle scenes in so
many previous movies, but they did a great job.
- Portrayal of the Muslims. EXTREMELY fair. In being "even-handed" to
Christians and Muslims there, if anything, they emphasized the
Christian fanatics (in the form of the Templars in particular, to
simplify things) as being the "badguys" more than anyone else... (which
is historically accurate to some degree, in my understanding). I was
surprised and pleased that they tried to be accurate, and didn't try to
emphasize some "BAD MUSLIMS" to make it "even".
- Movie is very secular in it's moralizing.
And it portrays Christianity particularly religious men, VERY badly
(the Priest who steals the cross from Bloom's wife's corpse... the
Bishop in Jerusalem who's ready to convert to Islam at the first sign
of defeat... and who also wants to abandon the civilians... the knights
templar...) I thought this got a tad gratuitous. There were really NO
GOOD Christian FIGURES IN THE MOVIE. The only good purported Christians
were basically acting Agnostic (Bloom, Neeson, etc.) The actual
religious Christians were made out to be hypocrites.
Meanwhile Saladhudin was a man of honor.. but also somewhat moderate.
- Movie could definitely have a little more narrative focus and maybe
have a little more of an emotional circle for Orlando Bloom character.
The emotional arc is ALREADY complete fairly early in the movie (Bloom
becomes a man of conscience)... and it's kind of boring since the
character doesn't really move after that.
But the movie tackled a HUGE topic and tackled it fairly well. I just
wish there was a better script to handle the compelling personal
journey for Orlando Bloom (from widower, murderer seeking redemption,
lost bastard son) that was PROMISED at the beginning.
It seems that as soon as he brings water to his father's old land, he's
just about done his journey, and it turns into a simple historical
battle movie. (but a darn good one)
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