Kingdom of Heaven Reviews
Balian de Ibelin comes to Jerusalem (not really of his own will mind you) during a time when it was in Christian hands only to discover that most of the Christian noblemen are arrogant, warmongering assholes. Not only that but they are stupid beyond belief. The results are disastrous of course. The movie blurb is actually not very accurate. When Balian is at the point were he has to defend the people there is no peace, fragile or otherwise.
The movie is quite well done, no question about that. The scenery, the acting, all of it is on the level of a very good movie. It is not really an action movie though. More of a adventure/drama movie. Balian's journey towards the final confrontation is a rather slow process and it is only towards then end, during the siege of Jerusalem, that the movie truly heats up on the action front. The siege of Jerusalem with its siege machines is quite impressive though. Not overdone with ridiculous CGI but well done.
It is also a depressing movie. The Christian noblemen, their disastrous behaviors and the equally disastrous end result makes me have a hard time to really like this movie. It is a good movie but I did not enjoy it as much as it deserves.
*The Director's Cut really makes a difference in the film's quality by providing it with more story and character development.
There is something missing.
This is another great Ridley Scott movie and one of my favorites. What is it about how Ridley Scott does the dark ages? He just puts you there so nicely. I love that about him. What I don't like is that every few years he comes out with a new Director's Cut of his movies. It's gotten to the point that Scott will film four hours worth of movie, just so he can re-release it with new stuff edited in.
When I upgraded to the BluRay version of this movie, the 144 minute version went to 194 butt-numbing minutes. Personally, the theatrical version was just fine and the added parts didn't really do much for the movie. They were nice but did we really need it? I don't think so. If you've got the DVD version, especially the one with the extras disc, don't feel like you're missing out by not having this version.
A village blacksmith, Balian (Orlando Bloom) is confronted with his estranged Father, Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson) and is asked to come to the Crusades with him. Filled with the loss of his Wife's suicide and wanting to make a new life for himself, he follows along.
He learns to become a knight and hold onto his moral center despite all of the radicals around him. He also meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman, the princess Sibylla (Eva Green).
Although this is not historically accurate, it does show us how things may have been perceived during the Crusades from both the Christian and Muslim perspectives of King Baldwin (Edward Norton) and Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), and it is quite a swashbuckler in the bargain.
Plus it deals with the honor of a knight to do right, even if it isn't the easiest way out.
The biggest misconception I have found surrounding this film, as praise by some and scorn by others, is that this film is Anti-Christian if not Anti-Religion/Belief altogether. Frankly put, it's not really. What it is against is the corruption in such institutions, and the what feels like never ending conflict between the different groups. As the Knight Hospitaler puts it, a major theme of the film is about that what God would want for us is to be good people in the mind and heart. Within those is the true Kingdom of Heaven, as some would at least see it. What God cares about would be whether or not we choose to be good or bad people, not rituals and show.