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Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
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Review Date: May 03, 2005
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: William Monahan
Producers: Ridley Scott
Actors:
Orlando Bloom as Balian
Liam Neeson as Godfrey
Eva Green as Sibylla
Plot:
A blacksmith who just lost his wife is called upon by his long-lost father to join him on his way to Jerusalem. Unfortunately for the lad, his dad doesn’t stick around for too long, but does leave him plenty of “namesake” power on the way out. With all that in tow, a 2-minute sword lesson and plenty of “pensive” stares, the simple blacksmith turns into an ass-kicking knight and we’re supposed to buy it. Meh. What ensues is much of the same.
Critique:
GLADIATOR DEUX, anyone? I have absolutely no idea why director Ridley Scott decided that he needed to create yet another movie similar to the great tale that he told through Russell Crowe about 5 years ago, but he did, and unfortunately for him and everyone involved in this production, not only are audiences pretty jaded toward these epic sword-fighting, armies-waging and ladies-a-lovin’ movies, but this film simply isn’t as good as the former flick. That said, from the looks of this film’s trailer, I thought I was going to be dead-asleep by the end of act 1, but despite the film’s 150-minute runtime, I was never really bored throughout, and greatly commend Mr. Scott for that. In fact, the film seemed to move a little too fast at times, as I was trying to figure out who was what to whom, but all in all, a good pace, particularly at the beginning of the film, as Neeson strutted into town to pick himself up a blacksmith. It doesn’t take a genius to see the many similarities this film holds to GLADIATOR though, with the dude coming out of nowhere to become a leader, blah-blah-blah. Sure, most of it plays well, but I personally have yet to see the major motion picture appeal of Orlando Bloom. In fact, he seems to play things pretty straight-faced in most of his roles (well, he played it “pussy-whipped beeyatch’d” in TROY), with only two apparent modes of acting: “serious” and “even more serious”. Unlike Crowe, I felt no charisma, charm or leadership abilities from this guy, and ultimately, didn’t really care too much about him.

In fact, I didn’t really care too much about anyone in this film, with little emotional pull from either side. That said, the actual production of the film is flawless, with authenticity up the wazzoo, solid actors all around (although Jeremy Irons was surprisingly acting with the scar on his face), some pretty cool battle sequences (although as I’ve stated before, you really can’t get too excited about these massive battle scenes after the LOTR films, now can you?) and a little romance tossed in for the ladies. I didn’t particularly buy into the romance either, but hey…at least it wasn’t dwelled upon. One thing that I really do have to give up to this film is the fact that unlike pretty much any other movie I can think of, it actually made Muslims look like “regular people”, and not deranged terrorists across the board. In fact, the film’s basic premise that pits Christians versus the Muslims makes a whole lot of sense to see in this day and age, but even then, it’s not particularly engrossing. But like I said at the top of this review, at the end of the day, this movie is a decent yarn, but it honestly doesn’t bring all that much new to the table (yup, they’re all fighting for “freedom” again), features an uninteresting actor leading the fray and ultimately, can’t run away from the fact that it’s showing up at a party that wrapped a few hours ago. PS: If you look for Edward Norton in this movie, you won’t find him…but he plays a great part in it. Think Brando.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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