This is topic Kingdom of Heaven: Spoilers!!! Oh, My Eyes! in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

To visit this topic, use this URL:;f=2;t=034614

Posted by Olivetta (Member # 6456) on :
My friend with shortterm memory loss and a thang for Orlando Bloom dragged me to the theater. She figured I'd enjoy it, too, 'cause it has Liam Neeson in it. *polishes Electra Complex* Thing is, it's two and a half hours long.

So, by the end of it, my friend couldn't remember what Orlando Bloom's character's name was. Whenever somebody talked about someone else by name, she just assumed they were talking about him. A safe guess, but I still sort of had to jog her mind a bit, here and there.

At least he kept his clothes on, so I didn't get bruises from her squeezing my arm.
Begin Spoilers

It was ever so much better than I went in expecting, though. It may seem odd to make a film that deals with the Crusades in which Religion is highly irrelevant. Well, no. Religion isn't irrelevant, but they make a distinction between belief and zealotry, which is both pleasant and insidious.

And, like always, Liam Neeson bowed out early. He once said that it's a great part when you have five minutes in a film, but they spend the rest of it talking about you (Gangs of New York). I think he may have found his perfect niche. Add to the mix that he gets to deliver lines like, "I once fought for three days with an arrow through my testicle." O_O Wooo BABY, that's a man! [Wink]

Orlando Bloom tries to be a man in this movie. He can act, no question. It's just that he's so slight and pretty that it's hard to believe he could fight three Templars without even a sword in his hand and win. The fake facial scars and partially augmented facial hair helped a bit. I'm just saying...

The Leper King of Jerusalem was the coolest, most fascinating character, based ( I think ) on Baldwin IV. He was compassionate and compelling. When he said, "I am Jerusalem" I believed him. Since the character was voiced by Edward Norton, it seems a shame that he wasn't credited. I supposed it was because he wasn't actually there, but his vocal performance was the the greater part of what made the character work. It seemed gentle and soulful behind the shiny mask.

I enjoyed it.

Um, I only said "Oh, my eyes!" in the title, because early on I got something in my eye. I tried to wipe it out with my finger. My salty/buttery popcorn finger. >_< I teared constantly through the movie on account of it, though it never really reached my emotionally. It will make you think, though it failed to make me feel .
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
Is your love in the sink?
Posted by TMedina (Member # 6649) on :
I have to admit, I didn't scoff at the notion of Orlando waving a sword around in this movie. [Big Grin]

And the two funniest lines in this movie...


Convert now, repent later!

Followed by...


You've taught me a great deal about religion, Your Grace.

When I went to see this film, I was very leery about how the Saracens would be portrayed, but I was pleasently surprised.

Posted by Olivetta (Member # 6456) on :
I admit, I liked the balance there, too. I liked that the main character wasn't a zealot, but the fact that the zealots were the ones who made the war happen (while probably true) annoyed me because it's just so easy to make a bad guy out of anyone who supposedly has 'faith'.

In this film it works, and is probably fairly accurate, but you see it everywhere in movies. The believer is always a crazy person, or a child molester or whatever.

That has always annoyed me, even though I'm not really a person of faith anymore. But even this AgnostiGirl must confess that's a theme that fits in this movie better than most. Even the clergy really make no bones about just being there for land or power or whatever, and are willing to convert to save their skins.

But then, Maybe the Thewlis character was a stand in for a person of real faith. I guess I can accept that.

"Death is always certain." True, true.
Posted by TMedina (Member # 6649) on :
I think it was, for the most part, accurate in the portrayal of Crusader and Saracen attitudes.

Faith and Fanatics
And having faith is fine. Believing faith will allow an army to win against better than 25 to 1 odds...well...yeah. Subtle difference.

Marching through the desert on the strength of faith is one thing, but a full canteen of water has a certain merit too. [Big Grin]

Posted by Olivetta (Member # 6456) on :
Trevor, it looks like we arethe only two who've seen it. [Frown]

There has been a steady decline in Box office revenue over the last ten weeks, they tell me. So, are we just notinterested in seeing *these* movies? Or have we become a bunch of wait for the video drones?
Posted by Goody Scrivener (Member # 6742) on :
For the most part, I don't see movies on the big screen. I'm a single mom who has a mental block about asking family to watch the kids so I can have a grown-up night and insufficient funds to pay someone to come in. Last weekend turned into a big family event when Mom took my kids to see Robots so Dad and I could be silly with our towels and our fish. Before that, the last movie I saw in a theater was Shrek 2.

So I wait until movies get to DVD and I add them to my Netflix list. Of course that means I miss out on some of the detail as a result of the smaller screen, but I also miss out on yapping neighbors and getting trampled on as someone decides they can't wait another half-hour to go to the restroom or refill their drink. And I can pause if I can't wait another half-hour.

and Glenn:
Is your love in the sink?
humming Tull =) One of my favorite songs!

[ May 07, 2005, 10:29 PM: Message edited by: Goody Scrivener ]
Posted by TMedina (Member # 6649) on :
Epics tend not to do well and considering the attitude of the Crusaders, I imagine not many people would be interested in seeing the possibility of Crusaders as being instigators, given the parallels one might draw today.

Even when, historically, they were.

And the length of the movie would dissuade a fair number of others. But I have to admit, I didn't notice the time at all - the movie just flew by.

Posted by Olivetta (Member # 6456) on :
I wouldn't have seen it either, except for my friend with the Orlando Bloom Thang (An affliction that I Just Don't Get).
Posted by Goody Scrivener (Member # 6742) on :
He was cute but not To Die For in LOTR as a blonde, but I just don't like him dark. And I especially don't care for the accent. A friend of mine in another group compares him to Hugh Grant, <paraphrase> "he's got the clipped stuffy British voice and the same two facial expressions, slightly sad and mildly perturbed"
Posted by JonnyNotSoBravo (Member # 5715) on :
Kingdom of Heaven: Spoilers!!! Oh, My Eyes!
Ya know, Olivetta, if ya keep doing that you'll go blind.

[ May 08, 2005, 12:49 AM: Message edited by: JonnyNotSoBravo ]
Posted by HesterGray (Member # 7384) on :
Hey, I saw it too! A bunch of SCA people were like, "Hey, a medieval movie! Let's go!" So we did.

I thought it was beautiful to look at, such stunning scenes and medieval goodness. But honestly, I had a really hard time trying to follow the plot. I sort of got the gist of certain parts, but overall, I felt really clueless.

My favorite part was when the crowd was complaining that they didn't have any knights, and I knew just what Orlando would do. That was the coolest.
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
I thought it was entertaining. I see tons of movies every year, 20 so far this year, with many many more to go.

I felt that there were far better stories in Crusading history that could have been done. Richard le Couer de Lion (Richard the Lionheart) would have been a much better central figure, and for that matter, a more real one with better documentation, to cover the Third Crusade.

Also St. Louis the Pious after the Fifth Crusades would have been a very impressive figure if done right. He's one of the few leaders in history who was both a charismatic leader, true believer, good leader, great man, etc etc.

Now, for the historical accuracy of Kingdom of Heaven ::cracks knuckles::

And for any who want to know, the following is from Thomas Madden, a noted historian.

The king in the movie was Baldwin IV, who in fact did have leprosy, which he did die from. He did in fact have a sister named Sibylla, who was married to William Longsword, whom she had a son with (named, of course, Baldwin). He died, and she was courted by many, but fell in love with the swashbuckling commoner Guy of Lusignan.

Guy was in charge of a large army that was charged with defending Jerusalem from Saladin when he crossed the Jordan with his army. Contrary to what the movie said, armies numbering more than 50,000 were extremely rare for the Crusades. The army defending Jerusalem numbered around 15,000, which was a sizeable force for the time.

Saladin tried to get Guy to lead his army out into the desert, where he knew Guy would be destroyed without water, but Guy refused to do so, and kept his army at Baisan, and Saladin left. Baldwin was furious with him for this and removed him from control of the army. But Baldwin died soon after. A fight ensued for control of the crown, led mostly by Raymond III of Tripoli, who wanted control as Regent for Baldwin V, and Reynald of Chatillon was involved in getting Sibylla crowned Queen of Jerusalem, but Sibylla still wanted to be married to Guy of Lusignan, which the court at Jerusalem would never agree to.

They especially didn't like him since they felt he was a coward after what happened at Baisan. Sibylla agreed to divorce Guy if her daughters would inherit the crown. The nobles agreed happily, but she double crossed them and crowned Guy King of Jerusalem anyway. Raymond III of Tripoli was enraged by this and left to form an alliance with Saladin against Jerusalem.

A somewhat truthful situation did occur in the movie with Reynald. When he attacked the caravan in the movie, that really happened, and enraged Saladin, who was looking for a reason to break the pact anyway. Guy ordered Reynald to make restitution, but he refused. Saladin declared war in response, and took a united Islam to war against the fractured Christians. Raymond III of Tripoli broke off with Saladin and returned to Jerusalem in return.

The two sides gathered their armies and met at the Horns of Hattin, just like in the movie. But the Crusaders had only 20,000 men (1200 of which were heavily armored knights), the largest Crusader army ever created to that point. Saladin had around 30,000 men, not 250,000.

Guy refused to attack across the desert, and waited at Nazareth, which pissed off the nobles who wanted to attack. Saladin responded by surrounding Raymond III's wife at Tiberias to provoke them, but it didn't work. One night, Gerald, Master of the Temple convinced Guy that Raymond was a traitor, and the next morning Guy ordered the march across the desert.

That battle happened fairly accurately in the movie. Reynald of Chatillon was personally beheaded after the battle by Saladin, who had promised before to do so. Also true was the Crusaders taking the True Cross into battle, which they displayed several times in the movie. Saladin was delighted by this, and marched with it himself when he attacked Jerusalem, only it was carried upside down.

After the greatest defeat in Crusader history, major cities under Christian control capitulated one by one to Saladin, who they knew was honorable after a fashion, and would honor his agreements. He then marched on Jerusalem, with the intention of murdering all the Christians within to have revenge for the slaughter of all the Muslims in 1099.

Enter Balian of Ibelin. Balian was the commander of Jerusalem's garrison, and he threatened to burn the city to the ground, forcing Saladin to abandon his massacre. They were given safe passage, and Saladin entered the city, and turned the home of the Templars back into the Al-Aqsa mosque.

So, some truths, some wrongs, some half truths. It seems the Balian of the movie was based on Guy of Lusignan, but with elements of the real Balian, whom they borrowed the name from.

I've seen worse. I've seen better.
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
Edward Norton, Olivet? No wonder I liked the King of Jerusalem so much! I agree, he was extremely compelling.

I enjoyed the movie. I admit I had to suspend my disbelief, though, after Balian managed to be a successful swordsman after never touching a sword in his life, but then getting five minutes of lessons from his father and one of his father's men-at-arms. I'm not kidding, it wasn't even five minutes!

There wasn't even a montage! You can't do that without a montage.
Posted by Book (Member # 5500) on :
I know. The lack of montage was startling to me, too. They should've gone into montage and then cut to a scene where Godfrey would show him something REALLY important, the point of all knighthood/swordsmanship, etc, and THAT'S when the get attacked.

Started off weak. But I liked the movie. The Middle East is a very cinematic region. [Smile]
Posted by Olivetta (Member # 6456) on :
Yes, Edward Norton, uncredited. There is some dissent as to whether it was physically him under the mask, but it was definitely his voice.

And I agree that the history is much more interesting than the movie, but real history is not very linear, I think. There are plenty of stories that would be cool to see put to film.
Posted by Corwin (Member # 5705) on : gives Eduard Norton as King Baldwin, so I guess it's really him underneath the mask. Whatever mask that is, 'cause I haven't seen the movie yet. [Big Grin] Going to sometimes this weekend, I hope.
Posted by Olivetta (Member # 6456) on :
I thought it might be him, since King Baldwin was so slight, and Norton is not what you'd call a big man.

He was the best part.

As an aside, the actor who played Celeborn was Guy, I think.
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
I wouldn't say he NEVER held a sword in his life before that. After all, he WAS a blacksmith.

And his father did say he had some skill, he just tweaked it a bit.
Posted by Bean Counter (Member # 6001) on :
Leprosy face was pretty horrible, I nearly chucked my popcorn. I loved the siege engines though! Wow!

You have to wonder why they ever bothered to invent guns, I mean it was a marginal improvement at best in siege engines and in personal weapons they were inferior to the bow for centuries! Still persistancepaid off in the long run didn't it!

Posted by Book (Member # 5500) on :
I guess you could say that, though many people probably would disagree on whether or not "paid off" aided or hindered humanity. [Smile]
Posted by TMedina (Member # 6649) on :
Not to mention a blacksmith's ability to read, perform masonry, engineering - the trick with the distance markers was cute, come up with the trick with the ballista and the siege towers and so on. And let's not forget the irrigation and agricultural advances in his inherited estates.

And let's be honest - learning to ride a horse isn't easy. Learning to ride a horse and fight is harder still. I'm willing to concede that he could have learned a lot from Point A to point B while travelling in the company of Squire and friend Knight. Having grown up a blacksmith, I will also believe he had the physical prowess that even trained knights might otherwise lack.

And for a noble, honorable man - he didn't object to sleeping with another man's wife the first time.

And Book?


God made man, Sam Colt made them equal

Although if people still ruled by strength of arm rather than arms, life would be more interesting to be sure.


Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2