Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kingdom of Heaven

Let's forget for a moment, that Hollywood intends to be historically accurate in anything it does. If I wanted to see an historical saga, the History Channel, not LaLa Land, would be my main avenue. With that said, Kingdom of Heaven is as epic as Gladiator without all the gory battles. Going into this movie, I didn't expect it to be as thought provoking as it turned out to be. Maybe I was expecting Gladiator for the Crusades.

KOH is set in 12th century Europe and Middle East with the main focus for the Muslim and Christian struggle for Jersualem (which, oddly enough, sends an echo to the present day). If you have been following this movie at all, you will know that this has been the source of much controversy surrounding the release. Is this objectification of our current struggle against Muslim terrorists? Is it too offense to raise tensions between our cultures?
Put your fears to rest, hate mongers. Kingdom does no such thing. I found myself wanting to quote Rodney King: "why can't we all just get along?" The script plays a perfect balance, almost effortlessly, with epic battles, dialog and romantic struggles. But it seems to drag and become confusing with its many characters.

Orlando Bloom plays a young blacksmith who is recruited by his father, Liam Neeson's character, who in turn knights him and various events play out from there. The first half of the movie tends to drag on seeing as there is so much to set up. Many factions on both sides want war, while the current King settles for peace. While we are talking about characters, I must say that I didn't find Bloom to carry a strong presence. That respect goes to Liam Neeson. While his role is short-lived, I found myself constantly wishing he would somehow appear to finish the film off.

Cinematically, Ridley Scott does not disappoint. The man knows how to direct a film, that's for sure. While the movie may be a little long without a foothold to keep your attention at every span, it does present a fantastic movie experience.

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