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Kingdom of Heaven (2-Disc Widescreen Edition)

Action & Adventure movie directed by Ridley Scott

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Good, but could have been great

  • Nov 10, 2006
  • by
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 actors famous for both stage and screen performances of medieval roles. The lead role went to Orlando Bloom and this movie was advertised as his breakout role. Unfortunately, his acting, or lack thereof, is totally overshadowed by the other actors and actresses. There are many moments where he is silent and it seems nary a thought is going thru the character's mind. Luckily, all the other roles were played well, especially the parts of Saladin and King Baldwin. Both Edward Norton and Ghassan Massoud portray well the leaders who shouldered so much weight on their backs in public, and handle internal bickering in private from subordinates.

Second is the setting. Taking place in what is now Israel, Italy and France, the movie should have been filled with grand scenes of the terrain of these areas; such as lush forests, expansive deserts, and rocky mountains. Instead, the only grand vistas are the occasional shots of armies marching to battle. This movie should have a taken a cue from Jackson's LOTR in terms of cinematography.

Third is the music. A movie of this magnitude should have hired John Williams for a complete orchestral score with dedicated pieces for each scene and the major characters. Instead, I cannot remember a single tune from this movie's soundtrack.

Fourth is the action scenes. These were truly amazing in every respect; grand, chaotic, bloody, realistic, grim with sweat and dust covering the troops on both sides. But the drawback is the sudden sword fighting skills of Bloom's character, Balian. In this respect, this movie copies of Pirates of the Caribbean. In both movies, Bloom's character starts of as a blacksmith who happens to make swords, and ends up displaying very impressive combat skills.

Fifth is the look and sound of the characters. If you look at pictures of people from the 1950s and earlier, you will notice the prevalence of bad teeth, and bad skin due to a variety of ailments, injuries, diseases, etc... 1000 years ago the average health of humans was much worse than now, yet notice how healthy and wholesome the knights look. Clear skin, straight teeth abound. These are soldiers, yet none have scars on them. Related to this is the speech. Most of the knights are supposed to be French, yet they are played by actors from the British Isles and have distinctive British accents. Likewise, why do so many of the Arab soldiers speak English. The makers of this movie should have taken a hint from Mel Gibson and had all the Christians speak Latin. That would have made everything more believable.

All in all a good movie and worth the 2.5 hours of watching it. But it was not the best movie of 2005.

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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 . 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 …
review by . October 15, 2005
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is not just another Hollywood epic with a cast of thousands laying pillage to the earth and fellow man. Yes, it is a mammoth production with enough spectacular sets, battle scenes, violence and atmosphere to satisfy even the most ravenous Big Picture appetite. But is also has a fine script (written by William Monahan) that elects to focus on a rather intimate series of stories that have sensitivity and tenderness and, perhaps more importantly, offers some historical background …
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Newton Ooi ()
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Hi everyone, so here is the rundown of me. I like reading and writing, nonfiction for both. I love movies, especially original ones. I like nonfiction music, eating out, and basketball. I love to travel, … more
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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 ...
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Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Action, Adventure
Screen Writer: William Monahan
DVD Release Date: October 11, 2005
Runtime: 144 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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