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  #501  
Old September 29th, 2009, 11:56 PM
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Neldorwen Neldorwen is offline
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I merged the threads

Interesting article , thanks :)
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  #502  
Old September 30th, 2009, 02:49 AM
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I merged the threads

Interesting article , thanks :)
Thanks. I hope you enjoyed it

It's different from the articles because it is the only one I have read expressly from an Islamic POV. And also because it's written by an academic, rather than a movie critic.
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  #503  
Old May 1st, 2010, 02:55 AM
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Not quite sure this is where to post, but ran across this review of the DC and thought I'd pass it along.



Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut


"They want to cut HOW many minutes?"

I recently finished working on a USC thesis by a director who absolutely adores Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. “The director’s cut!” he always adds. This is one of those quirks of film students and movie buffs in general that I adore, the insistence that if you are going to watch a movie, you must watch this particular edition / cut / release. I can think of three films off the top of my head where the non-theatrical release is absolutely required (Aliens, Alien 3, Blade Runner – also by Ridley Scott, aka King of the Director’s Cut) so it is a quirk that I cherish and embrace.

Anyway, after hearing so much about this movie, I decided to give it a try. I should note: I have never seen the theatrical cut and have no intention of doing so. The director’s cut opens with Ridley himself telling me that it’s better! What kind of person would I be if I ignored Ridley Scott? A bad person, that’s who.

From what I can glean off of the Wikipedia page, entire plot lines, characters and important relationships were hewn from the film to make it simpler and shorter. It’s the age-old story. The studio is handed a square peg but they only know how to make round holes, so they whittle off the corners so it can fit. It’s the inherent paradox of big-budget filmmaking in the studio system. Sometimes it takes a whole lot of money to tell the story you want to tell ($130 million for Kingdom of Heaven) but to get that kind of money in the first place you become beholden to studio executives who have no interest in art, just the investment, and think in terms of audience draw, not audience impact. Understandably so – $130 million is a lot of money and it’d be stupid to not care what happens with it.

Some directors can get away with creative freedom on big-budget projects; James Cameron certainly does. I suspect that even Michael Bay falls into this category, but just because by the time the studio execs come up with some insipid, lowest-common-denominator crap to throw into Transformers 5, he’s already beat them to it. Others can never catch a break in the big leagues and must scramble for every dollar to see their vision through (Terry Gilliam springs instantly to mind). Ridley Scott seems to have fallen somewhere in the middle. Some of his films came along splendidly (Gladiator had some script drama, but as near as I can tell from my admittedly removed point of view, Scott got what he wanted, how he wanted it) and some of them were butchered by marketing departments (most infamously, Blade Runner).

Kingdom of Heaven, then, falls into the latter category. Unless your name is Peter Jackson and you’re making a movie about hobbits or giant apes, there isn’t much room for epic films in Hollywood, especially if your epic is not really about killin’ a lot of dudes, but about honor and – gasp – religion. Sure, there is fighting in Kingdom of Heaven – great fighting! – but it is a relatively small part of the 194-minute runtime. At it’s heart, the film is about seeking redemption through God and finding it in one’s actions instead. “We are what we do,” to paraphrase the film. It’s a strong message, quite relevant today, but one that could easily be damaged by drowning it in action sequences and cutting out key relationships (the thieving, cruel monk in the beginning is his brother! That’s a big deal!)

Overall I was very impressed with Kingdom of Heaven (“Director’s Cut!”). Beautifully shot, great soundtrack and sound design, excellent performances all the way around (Orlando Bloom… well, more on that shortly). As a “Deep Space 9″ nerd, I’m always happy to see Alexander Siddig show up in movies. Eva Green was incredible but she needs to ease up on the eye shadow, come on, seriously, this ain’t no Twilight. Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neeson, all great. I was pretty surprised to find out that King Baldwin IV was played by Edward Norton. I was wondering throughout the movie but didn’t have the wherewithal to open up my laptop to find out. Huh! Whaddya know.

So, Orlando Bloom. I actually think he did an excellent job of portraying his character. If anything, he put more character into it than what was on the page. Which brings me to my one big complaint about the movie: the perfect knight protagonist.

How interesting is a character who says all the right things, makes all the right decisions, and never really has to struggle with anything (internally, anyway)? The answer is none, none more interesting. But that’s Balian’s character through most of the movie. He starts off making one pretty bad (but totally justifiable) decision: stabbing his brother/monk with a hot sword and setting him on fire. After that, it’s clear sailing. His biggest issue is that “God doesn’t talk to him,” so he doesn’t feel that he has been forgiven for the sin of stabbing his brother with a red-hot sword and burning him to death. But other than a few shots of Balian looking down in the dumps, it doesn’t really have much of an impact on his character or his actions. He swore to Liam Neeson to protect the defenseless, so he protects the defenseless. He promised to protect the king, so he protects the king. He makes brave, intelligent strategic decisions, refuses to let his emotions get the best of him and is generally an insufferable goody-goody. Every time he opens his mouth, a torrent of honor and nobility pours forth, causing eyes to roll and dreams of punching him in his smugly humble face spring unbidden to the minds of those around him. He even survives a shipwreck in the most disgustingly perfect way imaginable: he comes to, literally the only survivor (and of course, totally unharmed), has a sip of water from a dead man’s canteen, then rides away on the one horse that also survived the crash (also totally unharmed). Well, no, that’s not true. The horse runs away and Balian has to walk a bit before the horse comes back and THEN he rides. I take it back, he’s not perfect – I mean, he had to walk for a while there!

It says something when almost every other character in the film is more interesting and nuanced than your protagonist. Sibylla is manipulative and a schemer but cares so much for her child (who was cut entirely out of the theatrical release!) that she would rather allow a bloody war to unfold than watch him suffer. The Count of Tiberias is an honorable but weary man for whom peace is a fraying rope to which he clings desperately. Guy is a man driven nearly mad with ambition, pride and lust for glory. Even Saladin, an intelligent, careful leader who understands the absurdity and the tragedy of the situation they all share. All of them have a depth of character that Balian simply lacks. Critics were right to point out Orlando’s performance was lacking, but I argue it had more to do with the script than with Mr. Bloom.

There’s only so much you can do with the perfect man.


The article has some nice pics with it, too!

http://litmatchfilms.com/movies/king...directors-cut/


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  #504  
Old May 1st, 2010, 03:46 AM
N-Nan N-Nan is offline
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I agree about the chopping job editing did on the theatrical version. The Director's Cut IS the ONLY way to watch KOH. But BOOOO-HISSSS on his opinion of Balian (character lacking) and/or Orlando's performance (lacking because of script).

Why do people find someone of noble character and integrity a FAULT or consider that lacking? Everyone else was willing to "commit sin for the overall good or for their own good" but not Balian. This was part of his quest and destiny, to stand for good and honor. This brought him before a King, caused him to be honored before a King. He saved them all from destruction. I find this a sad commentary when people find a character like this in a film to be lacking, when in actuality, they are the only one who ISN'T lacking. Everyone else is.

Anyways, thanks for the article. On the bright side it is good to hear people are finding out KOH is an incredible masterpiece.
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  #505  
Old May 1st, 2010, 04:22 AM
Guin Sparrow Guin Sparrow is offline
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Okay, this guy was right to say Orlando's performance was excellent. However, how dare he bash Balian! Balian isn't a goody goody. What's wrong with a man who tries to do no wrong and speaks honor all the time? There's nothing "lacking" about that. This guy needs to learn his values and what makes a good character.
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  #506  
Old May 1st, 2010, 11:14 AM
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Telcontar Rulz Telcontar Rulz is offline
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Great to see that Orlando's skill as an actor is being recognized, but this reviewer obviously knows very little about the setting, and he also paid very little attention to the character of Balian.

No internal struggle? What about his struggle with whether he ought to marry Sibylla and become king or not? What about his struggle with his status as a nobleman's illegitimate son? Balian's struggle to be perfect stems from feelings of self-doubt; he needs redemption, not only for his own sins, but also for that of his wife and possibly of his parents. He wonders why God doesn't speak to him. Is it because he is the fruit of an illicit and sinful liaison? He probably wondered whether Sibylla was using him, whether his affair was going to further condemn him in God's eyes, whether his wife was really burning in hell and suffering for her suicide, whether it was the right decision to not marry Sibylla and let Guy be king, and whether his child was wandering in limbo, barred from entering heaven because he was a stillborn and therefore not baptized. I find it very odd that people keep on treating the story as if it is set in the modern world, when it is not. The past is not just the modern world with swords and horses; it's an alien world with different values. KoH reflected that quite well, I thought.

ETA: Thanks for posting, Caseymochridh! I was so eager to defend Balian that I forgot my manners!
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  #507  
Old May 4th, 2010, 09:37 AM
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Wow... your words blew me off, Telcontar. And even though I noticed the same points you mentioned I've not been faced with Balian's struggles that way yet... not that distinct... or I haven't let them come near me yet... eh... the latter would have to be the truth, actually...

And now I also read that review in depth... and I have to agree with you the more. Obviously the author suffered from the same phenomenon I suffered from: He was blinded by Orlando's appearance and thus did not see the struggles within... *shrugs*
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  #508  
Old May 4th, 2010, 12:49 PM
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He was blinded by Orlando's appearance and thus did not see the struggles within... *shrugs*
That is a very valid point, Beri!
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  #509  
Old May 5th, 2010, 01:32 AM
N-Nan N-Nan is offline
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I believe that to be true as well. Perhaps if Balian had not continued in strength, perhaps if he had cried himself to sleep at night, alone in his bed, or pitched a temper tantrum, then would Balian be heralded as a man of struggle and depth?
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  #510  
Old May 5th, 2010, 08:20 AM
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^No. Probably a wimp. See Paris in Troy. Or he was compared to a crazed rooster...

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  #511  
Old May 6th, 2010, 10:54 PM
Guin Sparrow Guin Sparrow is offline
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Allow me to go off topic, but Happy Kingdom of Heaven Day!
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  #512  
Old May 10th, 2010, 05:31 PM
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To understand Balian is hard work for some people. It needs to leave the surface and dive into the character. There are not lots of critics, who are actually doing that . Otherwise it is impossible to hear again and again, good characters are boring or lacking personality.

@ N-Nan, you're right with asking, why the so called experts much too often call good characters lacking characters. No, they aren't lacking!

@ Telcontar-Rulz: Wonderful deep characterizing of Balian!


I think, a big problem for a lot of people, who did not get that, is the fact, that Balian is a very silent man. He does not talk about his problems, they are only visuable in his eyes. And - seriously, ladies - what man looks deep in another man's eyes? Only those, who are more interested in men than in women. So nearly none of the professional critics...
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Old May 11th, 2010, 05:12 AM
N-Nan N-Nan is offline
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Very good point. And perhaps in addition, it is just a job to them so they skim the surface when in actuality, they should see the movie more than once, and ponder what they've seen, before starting to write.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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Absolutely right. In addition, I would say, they should activate the brain first...
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  #515  
Old September 5th, 2010, 07:17 PM
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Found some very nice current reviews here -
http://elflady.com/orlandolove/newre...treply&t=4327; and
http://www.commonsensemoviereviews.c...aven-2005.html

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  #516  
Old September 12th, 2010, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for finding out this nice comments. I can't read them often enough.
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  #517  
Old January 12th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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On January 12th in 2004 the shooting for Kingdom of Heaven started in Spain.

Really ten years gone since this day? I can't believe that, especially, when I saw Orlando in "The Desolation of Smaug". No, he can't be ten years older! elf, eh ...?

Sir Ridley, Mr. Monahan, what do you think about a sequel? But - please - this time not chopped like the meat in a hamburger.
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  #518  
Old January 12th, 2014, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gundolf View Post
On January 12th in 2004 the shooting for Kingdom of Heaven started in Spain.

Really ten years gone since this day? I can't believe that, especially, when I saw Orlando in "The Desolation of Smaug". No, he can't be ten years older! elf, eh ...?

Sir Ridley, Mr. Monahan, what do you think about a sequel? But - please - this time not chopped like the meat in a hamburger.
Where did time go!! Those were exciting days!

oh yes a sequel I have always LOVED the idea of Balian travelling to England and becoming Robin Hood *gg*
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  #519  
Old January 12th, 2014, 12:58 PM
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Yes PLEASE a sequel

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