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It's hard to believe Ridley Scott's handsome epic won't become the cinematic touchstone of the Crusades for years to come.Kingdom of Heavenis greater than the sum of its parts, delivering a vital, mostly engrossing tale following Balian (Orlando Bloom), a lonely French blacksmith who discovers he's a noble heir and takes his father's (Liam Neeson) place in the center of the universe circa 1184: Jerusalem. Here, grand battles and backdoor politics are key as Scott and first-time screenwriter William Monahan fashion an excellent storyline to tackle the centuries-long conflict. Two forward-thinking kings, Baldwin (Edward Norton in an uncredited yet substantial role) and Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), hold an uneasy truce between Christians (who hold the city) and Muslims while factions champ at the bit for blood. There are good and evildoers on both sides, with the Knights Templar taking the brunt of the blame; Balian plans to find his soul while protecting Baldwin and the people. The look of the film, as nearly everything is from Scott, is impressive: his CGI-infused battle scenes rival theLOTRseries and, with cinematographer John Mathieson, create postcard beauty with snowy French forests and the vast desert (filmed in Morocco and Spain). An excellent supporting cast, including Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, and David Thewlis, also help make the head and heart of the film work. Many critics pointed out that Bloom doesn't have the gravitas of Russell Crowe in the lead (then again, who does?), but it's the underdeveloped character and not the actor that hurts the film and impacts its power. Balian isn't given much more to do than be sullen and give an occasional big speech, alongside his perplexing abilities for warfare tactics and his wandering moral compass (whose sole purpose seems to be to put a love scene in the movie). Note: all the major characters except Neeson's are based on fact, but many are heavily fictionalized.--Doug Thomas
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CastOrlando Bloom, Nathalie Cox, Michael Sheen, Eriq Ebouaney, Jouko Ahola
DirectorRidley Scott
Genre:  Action, Adventure
Screen WriterWilliam Monahan
DVD Release Date:  October 11, 2005
Runtime:  144 minutes
Studio:  20th Century Fox
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More Kingdom of Heaven (2005) reviews
review by . April 29, 2009
This movie was a lot better than Alexander and just about as good as Gladiator (Rome seems to be more sexy than tales of the middle-east). During the time of the crusades where Christian hordes from France decided to kill all non-Christians in the middle-east because "they were told by g-d," Orlando Bloom flees after he has murdered a priest. He ends up in the desert and running out of water and happens on an oasis and a horse. Two Arabs challenge him for the horse which they state is theirs. Bloom …
review by . November 17, 2008
This is a tale of a sword-fighting blacksmith who slept with another man's wife. No, it's not Pirates of Troy, but it is Orlando Bloom, proving that even a pretty boy can make a better action movie than heavyweights like Brad (Troy) and Colin (Alexander).     The movie spotlights some of the battles of the Crusades, the usual religion vs. politics, with both sides laying claim to Jerusalem. King Baldwin and the Christians are in occupation of the mutually holy city, while Saladin …
review by . June 23, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Scenery and cinematography      Cons: Incredibly long speeches that amount to nothing but a yawn or three      The Bottom Line: Battles are good, the rest, which makes up 75% of the movie is often VERY borning.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      Old Jerusalem had a siege, ee-ei-ee-ei-oh; with a fight fight here and a speech speech there, her a speech here …
review by . March 01, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
I had missed seeing KINGDOM OF HEAVEN when it was originally in theatres. Since its release on DVD I have heard many positive things about the movie and finally was able to view the movie for myself.    The movie takes place during the Middle Ages and revolves around a blacksmith named Balian (Orlando Bloom). Balian's wife committed suicide after the death of their child and he finds himself alone and living in a village where very few of the other villagers like him. Lord Godfrey …
review by . December 11, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
This movie was a lot better than Alexander and just about as good as Gladiator (Rome seems to be more sexy than tales of the middle-east). During the time of the crusades where Christian hordes from France decided to kill all non-Christians in the middle-east because "they were told by g-d," Orlando Bloom flees after he has murdered a priest. He ends up in the desert and running out of water and happens on an oasis and a horse. Two Arabs challenge him for the horse which they state is theirs. Bloom …
review by . November 10, 2006
Is it a coincidence that a movie based on Christian - Muslim relations was to come out after the 9-11 terrorist attacks? Maybe, maybe not. The movie itself is quite good in many aspects, but could have been a lot better.    First, the acting. Coming out in the summer of 2005, this movie probably had more big name stars in it that most of the summer crop. Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, David Thewlis, Edward Norton, and Orlando Bloom lead of an international cast highlighted by many …
review by . July 30, 2006
The film isn't incredibly memorable; it won't go into the annals of filmdom like `Lawrence of Arabia,' `Lord of the Rings' or `Gladiator.' To me this film can be viewed on a rainy day. `Kingdom of Heaven' has the action, excitement, and interest. The story, the cinematography, and the acting are fine as well but I think the film misses its attempt to have an emotional core. It's primary focus is on the politics of the situation between the Christians and Muslims and the kings of both sides. But …
review by . May 31, 2006
While I enjoyed the original theater release of "Kingdom of Heaven", I was unsatisfied that the characters were only marginally developed.    After seeing Ridley Scott's Director's Cut of the movie, I feel like the studio was absolutely crazy to "gut" the theatrical release in the wholesale fashion they did. At last, the great casting was allowed to flesh out their roles and create characters -- good and bad -- that compel you to care about them.    In this …
review by . May 30, 2006
Finally the 194 minute version is out!   I don't know about you but when I left the theatre after having seen the earlier one, I felt so disappointed. Not because of Ridley's (marvellous) work but because it was so obvious people cut about a third of the film.   I don't want to go into details about the acting - everyone is doing a terrific job here (although Eva Green is slightly disappointing - I think her very pretty, but for the acting part, she just doesn't touch me as deeply …
review by . November 28, 2005
Pros: Cinematography     Cons: Almost everything else.     The Bottom Line: Once again a great and significant historical event—in this case the recapture of Jerusalem—has been distorted almost beyond recognition.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot. The Crusades, that oft-talked about but little understood and never historically heeded chapter in the development of not only Western Civilization …
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