*** Official KINGDOM OF HEAVEN Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Patrick Sun, May 6, 2005.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
    Likes Received:
    This movie is at least 30 minutes too long because the first 90 minutes are fairly uninteresting, especially with the characterizations of the principals engaged in this tale of the battle of Jerusalem during the Crusades. The character introductions just didn't have that cinematic pop, and I was left confused by who was what and who would be important in the overall scheme of the film.

    Orlando Bloom either didn't have much to work with via the script, or just couldn't elevate the material to make the opening half of the film all that involving. And then with an hour left, someone flips the switch and Bloom's character suddenly goes from simple blacksmith to super military strategist and leader of men (and boys) in order to protect against the muslim march to Jerusalem. I didn't buy the transformation, but the last hour of battle scenes was pretty good, though a lot of it felt familiar if you have seen the recent medieval fare of flicks (LOTR, Alexander, Troy, etc). Ridley Scott showed some restraint in the use of his patented violent action scenes with the strobe-y effects a la Gladiator.

    I give it 2.5 stars, or a grade of C+ (mainly for the last hour)
  2. JoshB

    JoshB Supporting Actor

    Dec 25, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Joshua Bal

    And to think, the original cut was suppose to be nearly 3 hours in length, which is suppose to find its way on DVD later this year.

    I though the film felt disjointed and lacking is some needed character development, which I'm certain was sacrificed in order to cut the runtime down to 2 hrs 25 mins.

    It's getting more and more difficult to create battle scenes in films now, particularly medieval era ones. Given what Gladiator, LOTR, and to some extent Troy and Alexander have shown us, you can only show something like battle scenes a certain way before it becomes repetitive and lacking in originality. I guess Ridley has almost curses himself by letting Gladiator start this trend and let in carry on, and eventually catch up to him. Regardless, the battle scenes were well staged and pretty gripping, and I'm sure some were cut up either for the sake of pacing or for excessive violence. They did have that choppy feel to them ala Gladiator, but none so much as what that had, especially during the first battle in Germania.

    I will admit that several scenes that did have fast moving action (the forest ambush and the Battle of Kerak) did have editing that was just too fast and at times confusing and reminded me of Alexander too much in how you couldn't tell who as who or what was going on. Although Alexander was much more guilty of this. Ridley only stepped over that line once or twice that I noticed, and kept things pretty tight for the most part. But when filming on a grand scale (the Seige of Jerusalem), he seemed much more at home and that is where we really shined.

    Acting wise, Orlando did a pretty good job, but was aided quite a bit by supporting actors who have much more experience than him, and almost take some of his steam away whenever he is paired up with another actor. For example, his scenes with Edward Norton (as Baldwin IV) were among the film's best in showcasing acting, but Norton practically owned the screen during these scenes. Likewise when we was with Jeremy Irons or even Liam Neeson. I guess he is still quite young and doesn't have that physical presence we associate with actors to command a scene (Russell Crowe for instance).

    You can't say that Ridley can't create visuals for his films, because few director's can like he does. Even without SFX, the production design, costumes, and cinematography are superb across the board, and likely to receive Oscar nominations in all cases. I hope Harry Gregson-Williams music is noticed as well, since it was another highlight in the film.

    I would give the film a solid "B". Ridley's striking visual style and the supporting performances make up for a rather choppy story and some down time in the film that is hurt by scenes that were clearly shortened for the sake of run time. I'm certain the extended cut, when released on DVD, will improve upon scenes and help flesh more of the story out. I think we'll see Ridley true vision and better understand the film.
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Kingdom of Heaven". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  4. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

    Jan 12, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Monroe, LA
    Real Name:
    Tim Glover
    Took in this today. Good one. Could have been a great one. I thought Bloom was really, really good. Neesom great as usual. Good cast.

    2 things didn't work for me. The girl. Her character wasn't developed enough. Just didn't buy it and was too soon to be with Bloom. The other thing was her husband, Gi? He needed more depth on his character, why he was the way he was. Bland and predictable.

    Not nearly as good as Gladiator. But still good and worthy of your time and $$.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  5. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

    Aug 31, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Neeson really stood out in the scenes he was in, and I wish he had of stuck around longer in the film (I also felt the same way about "Gangs of New York," hopefully the mentor role he plays in "Batman Begins" will allow him to actually live past the first act).

    The transformation of Bloom from blacksmith to experienced military commander is plain silly. The film shines through when the supporting cast is given a chance to play off of each other, particularly Norton and Irons.

    During the third act Scott doesn't seem to know what to do with Eva Green's queen. The only shots that he has of her before and during the siege are of her longingly staring out the window over and over again

    Scott started this trend with Gladiator in 2000, and I think if this film isn't reasonably successful then he will have effectively ended the medieval-sword-epic phase that Hollywood has been going through since.

    The battle scenes in the third act are frankly stunning. The scale Scott works at in the film is very commendable. Over all, a B, since any summer movie that attempts to show the audience an even-handed presentation of one of the most reckless times in history deserves to be seen.
  6. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Aug 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    Well, the movie as the director made it has found it's way to DVD in grand style, so I finally took in a viewing. I had been waiting for the DC almost since the release of KoH into theaters last year. I was unable to see the film in theaters, though I don't regret skipping the TC. That said, the vistas would certainly have appreciated a bigger canvas.

    Onto the film itself. Long and luxurious, the film starts small and gets grander and grander...not just visually, but emotionally. I expected good turns from the supporting actors, and got them. I have never seen Orlando Bloom more effective. Was he perfect? Not to my eyes, but he exceeded my expectations. Eva Green also does a good job with a VERY difficult role. Visually, the film is almost restrained and devoted to the story, not just the gorgeous backdrop. But Ridley Scott manages to make each frame worth looking at.

    The negatives, and there are a few:
    1) Too many similarities to Gladiator, especially in terms of the court intrigue, for my liking. They fit the story, but I'd seen them before.

    2) The villains were certainly a bit too two-dimensional (I am not counting Saladin...he is an antagonist, not a villain). They included a scene of Guy committing adultery, which did nothing for his character, but only existed to absolve the protagonists of their infidelity. That's fine for a lesser film. It seems out of place in a smarter film like this. Both of the villains do. They really did seem the stereotypical "ugly local" (or ugly American, if you understand that term).

    Maybe some other minor ones, but those were what stood out.

    Back to the good. One scene involving a son and his mother was unbearably painful, as the father of a young boy myself. But the film allowed the character the reality of that situation, and did not reinsert her into the narrative as if nothing happened. The action scenes are visceral and energetic, without relying on trickery. I also appreciated the thoughtfulness of the hero. His defining quality, though the film ensured he was a physical warrior without peer, they made that secondary to his experience. That was rewarding.

    It's just a BIG film. Old school. Not afraid to ask painful questions about religion versus faith. In one line, it illustrates a fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity without belittling either. In two scenes with one piece of dialogue, it illustrates the much larger similarity between the two: "God wills it."

    Certainly, in this state, one of the best films of 2005. Epic in every sense of the word, without ever losing the intimate. I'm glad I waited to see it proper, though I wish it could have been on the big screen. It's a BIG movie.

  7. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

    Sep 12, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I'm also giving the new cut a 9.5 out of 10. I'm also of the opinion that if this had been the version Fox had allowed Ridley Scott to release that it could've been among the five Best Picture nominees at the Oscars. Chuck's review pretty much mirror my feelings on the movie and I think that it is a monumental achievement by director Ridley Scott.

    Its a damn shame Fox pulled the plug on "Tripoli", that movie looked to be every bit as epic as the DC of "Kingdom of Heaven".
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Feb 12, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Reminder! This is the official Review thread. As per standard guidelines for such threads:

    Anything other than member reviews should go in the official Discussion thread. Thanks!


Share This Page