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The UnPopular Opinion: Kingdom of Heaven

May. 16, 2012by: Alejandro Stepenberg

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THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

**** SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

As this week’s film is also one which was criminally overlooked when it first arrived in cinemas (and therefore the subsequent Director’s Cut all the more so), perhaps the “unpopular” part of my opinion needs to take a different track than simply saying: I love KINGDOM OF HEAVEN more than any other ever made. Because while this may certainly boggle those people I know who loathe this movie, as I said the majority of folks simply have not seen it.

So here’s bigger conversation fodder for you: I believe KINGDOM OF HEAVEN to be far and away Ridley Scott’s best film. I’ve seen almost all of them except for WHITE SQUALL and 1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE, and the latter is only because I cannot for the life of me find a copy anywhere (so if you know of one and want to hook me up…).  I’ve also watched most of his films many times (GLADIATOR and AMERICAN GANGSTER especially), and most of his films are generally agreed to be cinematic classics and/or revolutionary in one or another (ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, LEGEND, THELMA AND LOUISE, BLACK HAWK DOWN, and GLADIATOR in particular).  PROMETHEUS is shaping up to very possibly be Scott’s best yet, but until June 8th rolls around I will say with full fervor and without hesitation that the crown undoubtably belongs to KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

Kingdom of Heaven unpop 1

“This is not heaven, it’s the world. And there’s troubles in it. Do yourself no injury - other men are always good for that.””

There are any number of reasons why KINGDOM OF HEAVEN only made $47 million domestically when it released in 2005 (yes it recouped its $130 million budget with international grosses, but still…) – it released just two weeks before STAR WARS: EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH, people were wary of historical epics after the critical bomb that was 2004’s TROY, people were sick of Orlando Bloom after his constant box office presence due to TROY and both the PIRATES and LORD OF THE RINGS franchises, or maybe the Crusades were either too heavy or not engaging enough to draw audiences into cinemas on the first weekend in May. Whatever the cause may have been people just didn’t turn out to see KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, and the generally negative critical consensus obviously didn’t help convince anyone who was on the fence after that first weekend. Which is a real shame to my mind, because not only did I happen to genuinely enjoy the theatrical cut of the film but that lack of financial and critical success has then prevented the majority of people from checking out Scott’s Director’s Cut.  In other words, checking out Scott’s greatest achievement and cinematic masterpiece.

It would be awfully difficult for me to go through each and every way in which I believe KINGDOM OF HEAVEN to be so brilliant, as the film is epic in every sense of the word and examples abound for each point I might make.  So I’m going to instead address each element of the film in more general terms and pair that analysis with examples from some of Scott’s other films, and maybe we’ll get somewhere before I end up writing the thesis-length piece I could so easily fall victim to…

Fundamentally this is a review of the Director’s Cut, because that is the version I 1) I know the best and 2) re-watched for this review. It is also the cut that Ridley Scott would prefer you to see, as per his note at the beginning of the film on DVD: “This isn’t just adding a couple shots at the beginning, a couple shots at the end, and doing an elongated version of a lot of entries and exits of scenes. This is organic characterization put back into the movie.” That’s the best kind of characterization in my book, and in this film’s case it makes all the difference.

Kingdom of Heaven unpop 2

“You go to certain death.”
“All death is certain. I shall tell your father what I’ve seen you become.”

The Acting: Nearly everyone involved with KINGDOM OF HEAVEN turns in the best work of their career, with the only exception being those who have such small roles (Liam Neeson, David Thewlis) that better showcases for their talent can be found elsewhere in their more prominent performances. Eva Green alternately dazzles, seduces, and intimidates as Jerusalem’s Queen Sibylla, Martin Sheen and his sycophancy slithers impeccably under the skin, Ghassan Massoud impresses with a stoicism bound up in deep feeling and kingly severity as Saladin, and Edward Norton is truly heartbreaking in his uncredited turn as the leprous King Baldwin IV. And then there’s Orlando Bloom’s work as Balian the blacksmith, a performance where he manages to layer an understated veneer with layer upon layer of feeling and thought. The role is written in such a way that a lesser actor would have easily fallen into the trap of either crafting an infuriatingly sanctimonious character or one so emotionless that it would make a horse seem more interesting by comparison, but such is not the case with Bloom.

Instead of falling into either trap, Bloom rises to the challenge and delivers a performance that anchors the entire film. KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is a story with expansive scope and rich tapestry of characters, religion, and politics, but Bloom is able to use Balian to tie everything together by how his character constantly simmers with an inner life that matches the louder show of his antagonists Guy de Lusignan and Reynald de Chatillon. Played by Martin Csokas and Brendan Gleeson, they are boldly vicious in their villainy and chew up the screen with a liveliness and fury that is quite the sight to behold. All in all every performance found in KINGDOM OF HEAVEN compliments every other performance, with a subconsciously engaging rhythm to be found in the flow of volume, emotion, tempo, and timing. Is anyone’s work in this film Oscar worthy? Maybe not, but that’s not what makes these performances so perfect. It is precisely because they work so well together, that they support and enhance the world/characters around them rather than outshining anything else (see ROBIN HOOD or HANNIBAL as an example), which makes this batch of performances the cohesive best of any Scott film I know.

The Story: The scope and vision of KINGDOM OF HEAVEN truly boggles my mind.  There are three layers of journey for every major character, those of the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual, and they are allowed their full weight and arc.  The story, even as it is in the theatrical cut but of course more so in the Director's Cut, is as much a character piece as it is an adventure film and as much a drama as it is an action epic.  The story follows the complete journey of actual human beings, giving them the time and the reason to become who they become.  In doing so, the story itself provides consideration for a whole host of facets to the arts of filmmmaking and storytelling, with time for personal reflection and character work and huge battles and wide shots full of CGI and extras and stunning cinematography and everything in between. I can’t even quite comprehend how Scott crafted this film such that so many different moments could be not only included but given their full weight and time to live, but he did. 

Not to mention how this is a story that, truly unlike every other Scott film ever made, encompases a grand story that is completely personal, spiritual, societal, and cultural in its relevance.  His other films may address one or two of those concerns, but KINGDOM OF HEAVEN covers them all.  It is about people and nations, God and man, death and life, honor and compassion, and everything in between.  It is a film about life itself, encapsulated in the microcosm of a single historical event that is just as vibrantly relevant to this very day.

Kingdom of Heaven unpop 3

“What could a king ask of a man like me?”
“A better world than has ever been seen. A kingdom of conscience. A kingdom of heaven.”

The Cinematography: As far back as THE DUELLISTS Ridley Scott has (seemingly) endeavored to shoot every one of his films as though every frame is a painting, but nowhere does it show more clearly or successfully as with KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Each shot, with the landscapes and model work in particular, is richly hued and textured. Each shot is replete with details and teems with life. And yes, the oft-seen and veyr basic technical decision to articulate different moods/tones of different places via color/tone is on full display here with the decision to bathe Balian’s French home in blues, the Holy Land in warmth, and memory somewhere in between. But it is carried out with an eye for clarity and beauty, with no one color scheme being washed out or muted in the least as a way of demonstrating the difference. Beyond even all of that lies the camera work, which flows and zooms smoothly and takes care to accent moments both obviously and subtly important.  And with then there is the point that KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is framed impeccably (unlike GLADIATOR or BODY OF LIES, for example), nothing important to the scene is cut off once the camera stops moving and settles to observe a moment, and the action (both literally and emotionally) is clear in each and every moment. And this is all without even mentioning the plethora of beautiful shots, the highlight of which is the slow fade transition shot at the broken Christopher Gate from day and war to night, death, and peace.

The Script Itself: I’m not sure what has happened to William Monahan in subsequent years, as all of his scripts following KINGDOM OF HEAVEN have been nothing particularly special to me (his Oscar-winning script for THE DEPARTED included). But with this film he was on fire, and characters deliver line after line after powerful line. He juggles epic quotablilty, honest emotion, thematic balance, ugliness, beauty, and everything in between with an impeccable aplomb that is wonderful to witness in a first produced screenplay, with not a single word being wasted or unnecessary to the story’s advancement. His use of the tools of language (assonance, consonance, metaphor, alliteration, repetition, etc…) is very impressive, and the balance between telling KINGDOM OF HEAVEN’s story with text and with action equally so. He shows a deft understanding, of course compounded by Ridley Scott’s own experience and skill, of how a story must unfold and what is necessary for an audience to experience in order to connect with that story’s characters. It is, to be blunt, the most complete, detailed, and well-balanced script (see LEGEND and ROBIN HOOD for examples of the opposite) I have ever encountered in a Ridley Scott film. Everything unfolds from and is supported by what came before, and I can give it no higher praise without repeating myself.

A few selections from the script, heroic or evil as they may be:

Reynald: “I am what I am. Someone has to be.”

Balian: “God will understand, my lord. And if he does not, then he is not God, and we need not worry.”

 

Balian: “The Christians butchered every Muslim within the walls when they took this city.”
Saladin: “I am not those men. I am Saladin. Saladin.”

Tiberias: “That I would rather live with men than kill them is certainly why you are alive.” 
Guy: “That sort of Christianity has its uses, I suppose.”

Godfrey: “Be without fear in the face of your enemies. Be brave and upright. that God may love thee. Speaks the truth, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless.  That is your oath." 

Guy:“Would I had fought you when you were still capable of making bastards.”
Godfrey: “I knew your mother when she was making hers. Fortunately you’re too old to be one of mine.”

Odo: “Against whom and for whom did you fight?”
Balian: “For one lord against another, on a point which cannot be remembered.”
Odo: “There’s better game now – one god against another.”

Godfrey: “Do you know what lies in the Holy Land? A new world. A man, who in France had not a house, is in the Holy Land the master of a city. He who was the master of a city begs in the gutter. There, at the end of the world, you are not what you were born but what you have it in yourself to be.”

King Baldwin IV: “None of us know our end, really. Or what hand will guide us there. A king may move a man, a father may claim a son. That man can also move himself. And only then does that man truly begin his own game. Remember that howsoever you are played, or y whom, your soul is in your keeping alone. Even though those who play you presume to be kings, or men of power, when you stand before God you cannot say “but I was told by others to do thus, or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice. Remember that.”

Kingdom of Heaven unpop 4

“I’m not here because I’m bored or wicked. I’m here because in the East, between two people, there is only light.”

The Score: For KINGDOM OF HEAVEN Scott turned to the talents of Harry Gregson-Williams, a student and subsequent protégé of frequent Scott-collaborator Hans Zimmer, who by 2005 had already worked on a wide variety of movies (ENEMY OF THE STATE, SHREK, PHONE BOOTH, MAN ON FIRE) and composed one of the most signature musical themes in video game history (METAL GEAR SOLID 2). Now while Gregson-Williams was at one point a student of Hans Zimmer, it is my opinion that with KINGDOM OF HEAVEN he was able to craft something that not only stands firmly on its own merits but which far surpassed even Zimmer’s Oscar-nominated score for GLADIATOR. You only have to look at Zimmer’s recent work with the SHERLOCK HOLMES franchise to see that while he can still create something full of vigor and fun, he lacks in complexity and fails to impress on a technical/craft level (see current Scott collaborator Marc Streitenfeld for a similar complaint). His work hits on an emotional level only, and while I do much enjoy listening to his soundtracks the only time I’ve ever been drawn in from a musical standpoint is when he openly collaborates with another composer of more complex skill (such as James Newton Howard on THE DARK KNIGHT).

Gregson-Williams, meanwhile, wrote music for KINGDOM OF HEAVEN that grips because of how it masterfully underlies the action and text. It is both simple and incredibly complex, with each of the separate themes layering upon one another while at the same time being expressed by a wide variety of instruments and voices. Musical transitions and developments are smooth, pulling the viewer along with the story and visuals rather than pounding loudly and overshadowing them the way many of Scott’s other musical collaborators do (Zimmer especially). Gregson-Williams uses many ethnic instruments and a mix of languages to match different moments and moods without ever overdoing it or falling into sterotypical expectation, and he is unafraid to underscore rather than draw attention to himself and “what the viewer should be feeling.” His score really works as a full journey in and of itself, and could almost be viewed as a composition that just so happens to fit perfectly with the film Ridley Scott made. Out of all the film scores I listen to, which there are many, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is the one that most resembles to me a musical journey the likes of which could have been composed for an evening at the symphony. It is rather like Howard Shore’s work on LORD OF THE RINGS in this respect, and I would put the cinematic/musical contributions of the two composers on the same level in a heartbeat.

But though I can talk about the music from an aesthetic/layman standpoint, I’m afraid I’m relatively inexperience when it comes to the proper musical terminology to better articulate Gregson-William’s gorgeous achievement with KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. For a better discussion of such things and a more detailed examination of his skill with musical tools such as chord progression, layering, and counterpoint, I would strongly suggest clicking here.

On a side note, of special note to me is the track surrounding Baldwin’s death - it is operatic in scope and resplendent with beauty. Too bad you won’t find it on the score as sold by Amazon, but it is easily on par with Zimmer's classics Gortoz A Ran (BLACK HAWK DOWN) or Now We Are Free (GLADIATOR). It full encapsulates the breadth, depth, sorrow, and hope of the scene, and fits perfectly with the action on screen.

Kingdom of Heaven unpop 5

“Will you yield the city?“
“Before I lose it, I will burn it to the ground. Your holy places, ours, every last thing in Jerusalem that drives men mad.”

In summation: Look, at the end of the day... while each of Ridley Scott’s films may individually do something better than KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, while each of them may have a particular aspect in which they outshine this film, what Scott has been able to do with KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is focus all of his skill, knowledge, and passion onto a single point and create a contemporary work of cinematic art.  Every aspect of filmmaking coalesces with KINGDOM OF HEAVEN in a way unmatched by anything else Ridley Scott, or indeed most filmmakers, have ever done.

Now the Director’s Cut does clock in at three hours and twenty minutes (which is an hour longer than the theatrical), and I know that to sit down for that time may be a daunting proposition when you either 1) didn’t dig this film the first time around or 2) are unsure if you are interested in an extended crusader epic, but I beg you to give it a chance. Because even if you don’t find yourself madly in love and consistently enraptured with awe as I do, perhaps you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the story’s journey and the beauty of its imagery. Perhaps you’ll even be surprised enough to alter your opinion or renew your faith if it had been lost. Or perhaps you’ll even enjoy yourself enough to recommend it to a cinephile friend or two.

And that, to me, would be enough.  Stories are meant to be told and art meant to be witnessed, and that's what matters most.

Kingdom of Heaven unpop wide poster

“If this is the kingdom of heaven, let God do with it as he wills.”

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to ajstepenberg@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

Extra Tidbit: You should really see THE DUELLISTS. Great performances from Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine, a beautifully shot and intensely engaging story, and some of the best sword fights in cinema.
Source: JoBlo.com

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4:06PM on 05/17/2012
i love Ridley's work but to be honest i never did catch this flick! i guess i should give it a chance. good write up!
i love Ridley's work but to be honest i never did catch this flick! i guess i should give it a chance. good write up!
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12:51PM on 05/17/2012

Ice Cream Stick

As with most i concur, i didn't mind the orginal when i saw it but felt it was a missed oppertunity. When i picked the directors cut up on DVD on the cheap i couldn't believe the difference. The story made much more sense and was an all round better film. I feel eddie norton doesn't get enough credit from his performance but meh.

As with others my one sticking point is orlando bloom, but there is a solution. Some friends and i printed out some small pictures of russell crowe and attached
As with most i concur, i didn't mind the orginal when i saw it but felt it was a missed oppertunity. When i picked the directors cut up on DVD on the cheap i couldn't believe the difference. The story made much more sense and was an all round better film. I feel eddie norton doesn't get enough credit from his performance but meh.

As with others my one sticking point is orlando bloom, but there is a solution. Some friends and i printed out some small pictures of russell crowe and attached them to some ice cream sticks, various poses. Hold that up and the film does improve. well the lead character anyway :)
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+1
4:16AM on 05/17/2012

Great Crusades Film

I concur, Al, that this movie is sorely underrated. I love all the extras on my DVD also. I never caught the director's cut, I will put that on my list. At the time, and upon further viewing, my problem was with Bloom and his character. I agree with those who say he just lacks the heft to carry the film, and I had a hard time with this blacksmith suddenly becoming such a skilled and poised leader. I could have done without the obligatory Braveheart speech as well (thank you SO MUCH Mel,
I concur, Al, that this movie is sorely underrated. I love all the extras on my DVD also. I never caught the director's cut, I will put that on my list. At the time, and upon further viewing, my problem was with Bloom and his character. I agree with those who say he just lacks the heft to carry the film, and I had a hard time with this blacksmith suddenly becoming such a skilled and poised leader. I could have done without the obligatory Braveheart speech as well (thank you SO MUCH Mel, for making us have that bloody scene in every movie since)! I do love the movie though and though I don't feel it's Scott's best, I'm glad you gave it some of its due.
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+2
11:48PM on 05/16/2012

1492 and duelists

The Duelists is awesome dueling fun. 1492 on DVD I bought an foreign all regions copy on amazon that looks and sounds great. Not his best movie but its got some great scenes in it for sure.
The Duelists is awesome dueling fun. 1492 on DVD I bought an foreign all regions copy on amazon that looks and sounds great. Not his best movie but its got some great scenes in it for sure.
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+3
11:42PM on 05/16/2012

One of the best historical epics...

of all time, at least the Directors Cut is. I even think the directors cut is better than Gladiator. Why did KOH flop? To many people thought the historically accurate siege of jerusalem was too much like the fantasy sieges of Lord of the Rings.
of all time, at least the Directors Cut is. I even think the directors cut is better than Gladiator. Why did KOH flop? To many people thought the historically accurate siege of jerusalem was too much like the fantasy sieges of Lord of the Rings.
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9:16PM on 05/16/2012
I both agree and disagree with this. The theatrical version left too many threads dangling and things just sort of happen with any explanation. The director's cut on the other hand is damn near perfect. I still like "Alien" and "Blade Runner" more though.
I both agree and disagree with this. The theatrical version left too many threads dangling and things just sort of happen with any explanation. The director's cut on the other hand is damn near perfect. I still like "Alien" and "Blade Runner" more though.
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8:38PM on 05/16/2012

Awesome Movie...

"Kingdom of Heaven" is easily one of the top 3 movies ever made by Mr. Scott. The directors cut is a wonder to behold and must be watched carefully and relished for all that it is worth.

IMO, why KOH failed? Perhaps it was its bad PR campaign added to the fact that Star Wars was coming out and that Bloom was in EVERYTHING at the time, but add these points as well. A period of time, that took several hundreds of years in reality, was squeezed into 2 hrs. or so. Also, Bloom does an
"Kingdom of Heaven" is easily one of the top 3 movies ever made by Mr. Scott. The directors cut is a wonder to behold and must be watched carefully and relished for all that it is worth.

IMO, why KOH failed? Perhaps it was its bad PR campaign added to the fact that Star Wars was coming out and that Bloom was in EVERYTHING at the time, but add these points as well. A period of time, that took several hundreds of years in reality, was squeezed into 2 hrs. or so. Also, Bloom does an adequate job as the main character, but Liam Neeson's "Sir Godfrey" and David Thewlis' portrayal of a "Knight Hospitaller" were all too short and should've been expanded. They were 2 of the most interesting characters in this entire movie. Also some of the other characters in the party of "Sir Godfrey" were interesting and far too underused. Saladin's on camera time was also too short.

Other than those points, "KOH" is a great tale with superb visuals and music. It must be watched with great intent to be appreciated.

I hope that many of you out there will give it another try and can see its true worth.
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8:15PM on 05/16/2012

Agree completely.

The Unpopular Opinion would be if you thought the theatrical version was better than the director's cut. I don't know what this is. The common sense opinion?
The Unpopular Opinion would be if you thought the theatrical version was better than the director's cut. I don't know what this is. The common sense opinion?
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6:00PM on 05/16/2012

The directors cut of this film is a masterpiece!

I remember going to the theater for this film and while I didn't hate it, I didn't really like it either. Basically I would give it a 5.5 out of 10. Then I started hearing rumors that the director's cut was actually pretty good. While I've never liked a director's cut better than the original cut(I think most are equal at best) I ran into a discounted 4 disc version of this film and thought "let's give it a try, if it changes from a 5.5 to a 6.5, It'll at least be a decent epic film. Man was I
I remember going to the theater for this film and while I didn't hate it, I didn't really like it either. Basically I would give it a 5.5 out of 10. Then I started hearing rumors that the director's cut was actually pretty good. While I've never liked a director's cut better than the original cut(I think most are equal at best) I ran into a discounted 4 disc version of this film and thought "let's give it a try, if it changes from a 5.5 to a 6.5, It'll at least be a decent epic film. Man was I floored! The director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven is every thing a great epic film should be and more! When comparing it to the original cut it's truly staggering how much important stuff they haven't included! It doesn't feature Eva Green's characters son, who is the motivation for EVERY decision she makes! Als o they never even explain the nasty priest in the beginning was actually Orlando Bloom's brother! and the list goes on. So every one who even slightly likes movies with knights HAS to see this film. Easily my third favorite Scott film(and I love a lot of his work). ALthough I do have a feeling a certain film coming out this summer will bump it to the fourth place.
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3:38PM on 05/16/2012
I swear I didn't know this belonged to the unpopular opinion column, I thought most who have seen the Director's Cut agreed that it is a masterpiece!
I swear I didn't know this belonged to the unpopular opinion column, I thought most who have seen the Director's Cut agreed that it is a masterpiece!
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3:02PM on 05/16/2012
Great write up for an underrated film. Glad to know that I'm not the only one who enjoyed the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, I love this movie more so than Gladiator. Strong performances, very layered story, great characters, a great score and just all around technically shot.

I can definitely tell both Scott and Monahan poured their heart and soul into the project and it shows. Think people who have yet to give this a chance should find a day where they can actually sit
Great write up for an underrated film. Glad to know that I'm not the only one who enjoyed the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, I love this movie more so than Gladiator. Strong performances, very layered story, great characters, a great score and just all around technically shot.

I can definitely tell both Scott and Monahan poured their heart and soul into the project and it shows. Think people who have yet to give this a chance should find a day where they can actually sit through this because it's worth it.
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2:54PM on 05/16/2012

Love the Director's Cut

I never understood why this film get's a bad rap. The theatrical cut does leave some pretty big gaps but is still great. The director's cut on the other hand is phenomenal.
I never understood why this film get's a bad rap. The theatrical cut does leave some pretty big gaps but is still great. The director's cut on the other hand is phenomenal.
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2:02PM on 05/16/2012

Fully agree with Captain Thrope...

The directors cut to this film is amazing but yes Bloom is the weak link, he doesn't ruin it but he lacks the skill to be a leading man, he's a piece of wood, if you need an example just look at the amazing scene of Neeson reminiscing about his wife when he returns to his home, then compare it to when Bloom does his version, one is a masterful piece of acting by a pro, the other a complete fail.
To Alejandro; I used to have 1492 on VHS, if you're a fan of Scott and also Duellists I highly
The directors cut to this film is amazing but yes Bloom is the weak link, he doesn't ruin it but he lacks the skill to be a leading man, he's a piece of wood, if you need an example just look at the amazing scene of Neeson reminiscing about his wife when he returns to his home, then compare it to when Bloom does his version, one is a masterful piece of acting by a pro, the other a complete fail.
To Alejandro; I used to have 1492 on VHS, if you're a fan of Scott and also Duellists I highly recommend it, ill probaly get yelled at for suggesting it but have you tried finding a torrent for it? It might be out there in the interwebs, its not your fault its not available on disc.
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12:57PM on 05/16/2012
I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion except for one major thing: Orlando Bloom. Had this been released as the Director's Cut starring a charismatic and strong actor in the lead, it would have been a huge hit. Bloom is weak, and his pathetic turn in Troy (which I admit suited the character somewhat)would have put-off a lot of people from seeing this great epic.
I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion except for one major thing: Orlando Bloom. Had this been released as the Director's Cut starring a charismatic and strong actor in the lead, it would have been a huge hit. Bloom is weak, and his pathetic turn in Troy (which I admit suited the character somewhat)would have put-off a lot of people from seeing this great epic.
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11:36AM on 05/16/2012
Powerful review Alejandro. You probably have to towel yourself off after that. No doubt Ridley Scott is a tremendous director. While I am unsure if I agree that Kingdom of Heaven is his greatest work, I appreciate your review. I think I'll check out the director's cut and see for myself.
Powerful review Alejandro. You probably have to towel yourself off after that. No doubt Ridley Scott is a tremendous director. While I am unsure if I agree that Kingdom of Heaven is his greatest work, I appreciate your review. I think I'll check out the director's cut and see for myself.
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11:45PM on 05/16/2012
the directors cut will floor you. you have been warned.
the directors cut will floor you. you have been warned.
10:25AM on 05/16/2012
Oh wow, I didn't know the directors cut was that different. I absolutely loved the theatrical cut.
Oh wow, I didn't know the directors cut was that different. I absolutely loved the theatrical cut.
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10:15AM on 05/16/2012

TIDBIT

The Duellists is seriously amazing. Everybody who loves film needs to see that movie at some point. I think I'm gonna watch it again this weekend.
The Duellists is seriously amazing. Everybody who loves film needs to see that movie at some point. I think I'm gonna watch it again this weekend.
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9:56AM on 05/16/2012
Fantastic film. Theatrical cut is a bit choppy, but the Director's Cut is a near masterpiece. Only real complaint is not nearly enough Kevin McKidd.
Fantastic film. Theatrical cut is a bit choppy, but the Director's Cut is a near masterpiece. Only real complaint is not nearly enough Kevin McKidd.
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9:44AM on 05/16/2012
Great film, I love the costume design (especially for King Baldwin), but I'm still partial to Blade Runner.
Great film, I love the costume design (especially for King Baldwin), but I'm still partial to Blade Runner.
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8:10AM on 05/16/2012
I agree with ElderPredator. The Director's Cut is way better than what shown in theater. Although it's a tad too long, it's hard to see movie on epic scale like this. It's like Lawrence of Arabia but set in a different world.
I agree with ElderPredator. The Director's Cut is way better than what shown in theater. Although it's a tad too long, it's hard to see movie on epic scale like this. It's like Lawrence of Arabia but set in a different world.
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7:58AM on 05/16/2012
The Director's Cut is FAR superior and should be seen by all.
The Director's Cut is FAR superior and should be seen by all.
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7:45AM on 05/16/2012
My only major complaint about the movie is Orlando Bloom who is a weak leading actor. I just don't buy him leading troops. Would have been an awesome movie with a better actor.
My only major complaint about the movie is Orlando Bloom who is a weak leading actor. I just don't buy him leading troops. Would have been an awesome movie with a better actor.
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+4
7:02AM on 05/16/2012
It is a good film.

7.1/10 is good.
[link]

Perhaps it deserves closer to 8 though. The directors cut "is" a solid 8.

It is a good film.

7.1/10 is good.
[link]

Perhaps it deserves closer to 8 though. The directors cut "is" a solid 8.

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-9
6:41AM on 05/16/2012

To make it short...

Blade Runner > Alien > Gladiator > Kingdom
Blade Runner > Alien > Gladiator > Kingdom
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+6
6:27AM on 05/16/2012
This maybe the best movie about the Holy Crusades. Very good mood, good cast, fine visuals. Yes, the Director's Cut is way better but I even like the theatrical version. And the best score Harry Gregson-Williams composed so far. I have it on CD and it's truly magical.
Galdiator, Kingdom, Robin Hood... this trilogy of Ridley Scott's maybe the last of the epic movies - that doesn't feature creatures or spaceships.
This maybe the best movie about the Holy Crusades. Very good mood, good cast, fine visuals. Yes, the Director's Cut is way better but I even like the theatrical version. And the best score Harry Gregson-Williams composed so far. I have it on CD and it's truly magical.
Galdiator, Kingdom, Robin Hood... this trilogy of Ridley Scott's maybe the last of the epic movies - that doesn't feature creatures or spaceships.
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6:23AM on 05/16/2012
I remember seeing this in the theater and being like meh. Then I watched the DC and it was a totally different movie. The DC is the only way to go when watching this masterpiece.
I remember seeing this in the theater and being like meh. Then I watched the DC and it was a totally different movie. The DC is the only way to go when watching this masterpiece.
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6:09AM on 05/16/2012
I no longer buy DVD's, but when I did, the director's cut was the first movie I purchased online. At the time, I heard that it was so much better than the theatrical version (of course here on JoBlo, where else!? ;) ), and since I couldn't wait to see it, I bought it through amazon UK instead of waiting to buy it in a local store a few months later. Didn't regret a thing. Awesome movie.
I no longer buy DVD's, but when I did, the director's cut was the first movie I purchased online. At the time, I heard that it was so much better than the theatrical version (of course here on JoBlo, where else!? ;) ), and since I couldn't wait to see it, I bought it through amazon UK instead of waiting to buy it in a local store a few months later. Didn't regret a thing. Awesome movie.
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5:35AM on 05/16/2012
A truly epic opinion and I agree on all points except for maybe Gregson-William's score. It is very intelligent and consistently good, but never great. Also, the cues for some of my favorite scenes were not even composed by him, but others such as the great Jerry Goldsmith. This could arguably add to the director's keen eye, but detract from the composer for not being able to create suitable cue.
A truly epic opinion and I agree on all points except for maybe Gregson-William's score. It is very intelligent and consistently good, but never great. Also, the cues for some of my favorite scenes were not even composed by him, but others such as the great Jerry Goldsmith. This could arguably add to the director's keen eye, but detract from the composer for not being able to create suitable cue.
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5:06AM on 05/16/2012
It's a shame that this is the unpopular opinion. I remember telling my friends about why i disliked Kingdom of Heaven after seeing it in theaters and it was maybe a year or so before I discovered the Director's Cut. The difference between the two is STAGGERING. It is without a doubt one of my favorite of his films. I love Gladiator, Alien, and Blade Runner just as much, but for different reasons. It always pisses me off when i think about how someone else meddled with his creative work. I'd
It's a shame that this is the unpopular opinion. I remember telling my friends about why i disliked Kingdom of Heaven after seeing it in theaters and it was maybe a year or so before I discovered the Director's Cut. The difference between the two is STAGGERING. It is without a doubt one of my favorite of his films. I love Gladiator, Alien, and Blade Runner just as much, but for different reasons. It always pisses me off when i think about how someone else meddled with his creative work. I'd like to know though, why were audiences presented with the theatrical version instead of the director's cut, which i'm sure was what Scott wanted us to see? The director's cut had wonderful character development and a depth to the storytelling that allowed for greater emotional investment in the action that i felt was lacking in the theatrical. The theatrical version was more of an action epic whereas the director's cut was an exploration into religion on the canvas of the crusades. What the hell happened exactly to its release?

Thanks for this article, I believe this film deserves it.
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+12
5:05AM on 05/16/2012
Agree. The DC is the only way to watch this movie, and I definitely think it's one of Scott's best. And it's easily Orlando Bloom's best role and performance to date.
Agree. The DC is the only way to watch this movie, and I definitely think it's one of Scott's best. And it's easily Orlando Bloom's best role and performance to date.
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+12
5:02AM on 05/16/2012
Scott has produced some of my favorite films and Kingdom is right near the top, only slightly edged out by Gladiator for my personal preference, but there is no doubt that Kingdom is the better made film. You have written such a perfect piece that I am going to print it out to share with others. Too bad you can't get this right in the hands of Scott.
Scott has produced some of my favorite films and Kingdom is right near the top, only slightly edged out by Gladiator for my personal preference, but there is no doubt that Kingdom is the better made film. You have written such a perfect piece that I am going to print it out to share with others. Too bad you can't get this right in the hands of Scott.
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4:38AM on 05/16/2012
I agree with you completely and nice job by the way giving such great detail as to why you think it's Scott's best. There are some reasons here I had never thought of and I have been saying it was his best for a while now myself. I probably enjoy watching Gladiator just about as much but if I had to pick one as the better movie I would have to go with Kingdom of Heaven, it's good to know somebody else thinks so too.
I agree with you completely and nice job by the way giving such great detail as to why you think it's Scott's best. There are some reasons here I had never thought of and I have been saying it was his best for a while now myself. I probably enjoy watching Gladiator just about as much but if I had to pick one as the better movie I would have to go with Kingdom of Heaven, it's good to know somebody else thinks so too.
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3:33AM on 05/16/2012
Is loving the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven really of unpopular opinion? Most people I know love the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven. The theatrical version was so butchered that it's more like it was unfinished. Some even say that if director's cut was the version that was released to theaters, it certainly would have been nominated for Best Picture that year at the Oscars.
Is loving the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven really of unpopular opinion? Most people I know love the director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven. The theatrical version was so butchered that it's more like it was unfinished. Some even say that if director's cut was the version that was released to theaters, it certainly would have been nominated for Best Picture that year at the Oscars.
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4:40AM on 05/16/2012
Yeah I know some people who like the director's cut but I also know quite a few people who either haven't seen it and don't want to or didn't like the theatrical version, even with me telling them to. So I get why this would be unpopular.
Yeah I know some people who like the director's cut but I also know quite a few people who either haven't seen it and don't want to or didn't like the theatrical version, even with me telling them to. So I get why this would be unpopular.
4:53AM on 05/16/2012
@SoundDD - I understand what you're saying, but Alejandro is right in saying "lack of financial and critical success has then prevented the majority of people from checking out Scott’s Director’s Cut." I agree with what Leslie said below - I have tried to convince so many people to watch the DC, but they simply refuse b/c they either hated the TC or read the bad press regarding the TC. It astounds me that so-called movies fans in my circle will not give it a second look.
@SoundDD - I understand what you're saying, but Alejandro is right in saying "lack of financial and critical success has then prevented the majority of people from checking out Scott’s Director’s Cut." I agree with what Leslie said below - I have tried to convince so many people to watch the DC, but they simply refuse b/c they either hated the TC or read the bad press regarding the TC. It astounds me that so-called movies fans in my circle will not give it a second look.
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