Friday, May 06, 2005

Movie Review: Kingdom of Heaven

From a technical standpoint, Kingdom of Heaven, is a very good film. It is not hard to imagine that what you are seeing is how it was a thousand years ago. The sets, locations and costumes just look great. The acting is also superb. With a supporting cast consisting of Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson and Edward Norton amongst others, a director could not ask for a bigger pool of talent to draw from.

In contrast, the story is not in any way exceptional. There is nothing here that has not been done before, and better. I could never really connect with Bloom's character (who is on screen almost the entire time) and in failing that, the rest of the movie did little to interest me. While many of the individual scenes were very well done, as a whole the story never seemed to draw me in.

Then there is the historical value of the movie. I'm always a bit wary when a filmmaker decides to make a movie based on actual people or events. Since so many people take what they see as fact, I prefer when writers/directors that take on this type of movie at least attempt an accurate portrayal of what happened. Some movies, such as most comedies involving historical figures, make it clear that the movie is not trying to be in any way factual, others, such as U571 for example, present themselves in such a way that lead the audience to believe what they are seeing actually happened. Kingdom of Heaven falls into the latter group, but like U571, should get a solid 'F' if submitted in history class. For example, here is a more accurate description of what happened after the fall of Jerusalem. There are several other inaccuracies but you can look those up for yourself.

Now, in and of itself, historical inaccuracy is not a reason to not see a movie. As long as you know it's not a true representation of what occurred you can try to enjoy it for what it is, entertainment. In this case, adding to the inaccuracy, the fact that the story is not all that interesting, I would suggest waiting for the DVD if you really want to see this one.

I'll give it a 3 for entertainment but subtract 1 for historical accuracy.

2 out of 5


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