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  #26  
Old January 23rd, 2005, 06:22 PM
Malene
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This seems like a young guy who isn't a fan of Orlando at all.So when he says Orlando is "decent",it probably means he's actually really good.
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  #27  
Old January 24th, 2005, 05:32 PM
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A short update from the IMDB board (KOH test screening) by zeldasf, answering some more questions members were asking:

Quote:
The version i saw was about 2 hrs 35 min (but the love scene was cut out) and i dunno how much they're gonna cut out of the final version and how much they're gonna reshoot...so i'm thinking the final version would be around that length.

funny you should ask about the music. the final score wasn't synched w/ the version i watched, so they put all kinds of other film scores w/ the film. i'm a huge lover of film music, so i noted excerpts that came from Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, LOTR, The Last Samurai, and the Passion of the Christ...interesting thing is that a lotta the music worked for the scenes in Kingdom.

mmm i think in general people liked the film...there was some clapping afterwards (and when Liam Neeson came onscreen, someone clapped too haha). there were some pretty amusing lines in the film...i hope those stay in for the final cut. you kno tho, there were a couple of scenes that kinda confused me...i hope those get cleared up in the final.

and about being a test screener...
well, i saw this guy handing out invites to a preview screening (the title wasn't revealed but from the description "A historical epic"...i knew it HAD to be Kingdom of Heaven) and i just showed up at the theater...got there early so that i'd get decent seats cuz it's first come first serve. and yea, there were a lotta people but i'm not exactly sure how many. i think there were about 250-300 people in line but i'm not sure if everyone got in. no we don't get paid, but hey, the viewing is free AND they gave us free tickets for next time we go to the theater, so that was cool.

as for the rating...i'm pretty sure it'll get an R...it's a Ridley Scott film and twas pretty bloody..dunno how much of it the MPAA will allow tho.

and of course, the inevitable slew of Orlando questions...lol
well, i mean that compared to his other films, i think Orlando has improved...at least this time when he was onscreen i didn't make faces...hehe...so i think he's gaining more leading man potential. it's just that the supporting cast is so awesome and i just thought they were all well cast and all acted very well. cuz really, how can you go wrong w/ Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, and Ed Norton and even the relatively new faces to the screen were solid.

hmmm...about Orlando using a sword...yes he uses both hands and i forget if he uses a shield.
The last refers to 'Gladiator' where Russell Crowe uses only one hand to hold the sword, which someone thought quite unnatural because of the weight of the sword. Thus not very believable.
But - [historian's mode]Roman swords were quite light, so holding them with one hand and fighting is not a problem at all. As opposed to medieval swords which were a lot heavier (forget light POTC swords!) and both hands were needed[/historian's mode]

OK, I shut up now. Thinking of Balian's sword is not good for me anyway.



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  #28  
Old January 24th, 2005, 06:08 PM
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I very much agree about the Stone/Scott discussion. Personally I don't like Oliver Stone movies, at least the ones I've seen, and I love Ridley Scott, so I'm sure to like this movie.

Plus I'm really excited to see Orlando act. Not that he hasn't acted before, but I think it's safe to say that he's been in movies, with the exception of Ned Kelly (which I didn't like), where the movie and the rest of the cast were as big a part of it's appeal as he was for me. This year will truly be a big year for him, with KOH and Etown. I'm excited for him (and for us!!)
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  #29  
Old January 25th, 2005, 01:55 PM
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I think far too often an ancient historical epic can fall into the trap of being overly bombastic or bloated, and in many cases the characters are unrelatable to the average modern movie viewer. Oliver had never delved into this subgenre before and now we know he is not up to task. Scott's record, on the other hand, speaks for itself. I believe that even if this movie isn't a success financially it will be critically successful and that is because I trust Scott.

Now on the subject of Tarantino, never like him. I can barely watch any of his movies because I always get the sense that if his movies were sentient and had rear ends then they would kiss themselves there. Any movie of his I've ever had the displeasure of watching always come across to me as full of it and I think that's the director's own ego bleeding into his work.
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  #30  
Old February 18th, 2005, 05:46 PM
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Ain't It Cool News put up another (different) test screening review today:

Quote:
Published on Friday, February 18, 2005
THE NEWEST

Sprocket pops a gear loose for Ridley Scott's KINGDOM OF HEAVEN!!!

Hey folks, Harry here... I've been hearing about this film from the inside for a long time, and the word has been... from script - to filming - to every stage of production, that this was a great film. This review just goes on all about how "fan-f******-tastic" it is - and I don't doubt it for a second. With this and ELIZABETHTOWN - Bloom is gonna have an amazing summer. Here ya go...

Harry,

I just saw a test screening of Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven tonight, here in the OC. Here’s my Spoiler-free review:

Bottomline, this is a fan-f******-tastic epic. I know we’ve all had a bad batch of epics lately, ranging from the sub par (Troy) to the downright god awful (Alexander.) Let me assure you that this isn’t at all like those. Ridley keeps it intense and serious, giving it a Gladiator-esk tone, which no doubt it’ll be compared to. There are no corny characters tossed in like Blackhawk Down had to cheese it up. He treats this one like a true war film, not just a period piece with war as a backdrop. And of course he shows very well the parallels between the crusades and the events of today without hitting us over the head with it.

The effects that were finished looked great, and the cinematography was excellent all around. Score-wise, it was pretty much filled in with gladiator, sneakers, and some other filler…but from what I think the actual movie score was, it was very impressive. Everyone agreed that the performance that stood out was Liam’s. I know some of you like me, are a little worried about him playing this same role of a Jedi Master in every movie. But let me assure you all, he is awesome in this role, and we all agreed that he needed more face-time in the movie. Orlando is great just as you’d expect, and all the other performances were top notch.

The audience seemed to like it overall, but I got the feeling that most were taken aback by its brutal and accurate portrayal of the war. Make no mistake; this film is pretty dark, and more than that, it’s just very realistic, and takes the subject matter seriously. I got the feeling that the ladies wanted more romance, which is actually a fair complaint, and of course they wanted more naked Orlando. The film clocked in at close to 3 hours; don’t know for sure since I couldn’t bring my camera phone with a clock on it in with me. But like most epics, it’s not for everyone, especially those with ADD.

I was in the focus group afterward, and it was full of the usual batch of people, some who couldn’t follow all the events very well…and granted, the movie needs some tweaking, but it’s all minor stuff. It is a bit heavy on the history and politics; but if you go to an epic, that should be what you’re expecting in my book. Or at least what we used to expect. This film is a throw back to the old style epics like Spartacus that gave a true feel for war on a grand scale. No buddy characters here to follow our hero around and provide comic relief. This film sticks with Orlando on his journey to find salvation in the holy land, and doesn’t waver into the usual cliché territory.

When walking out of the theater, I saw Ridley talking to his posse about the “results” and I’m a bit worried by the looks on their faces (and from what I heard in the focus group) that the screening didn’t score that well. But if they are smart, they won’t touch too much at all. I guess the best way sum it up is, this is one of those rare movies that lives up to the expectations of its trailer…so if you love the trailer like me, you’ll get exactly what you’re expecting, maybe even a little more.

Call me The Sprocket.
Ooooo... this is sounding better and better... "It is a bit heavy on the history and politics; but if you go to an epic, that should be what you’re expecting in my book. Or at least what we used to expect. This film is a throw back to the old style epics like Spartacus that gave a true feel for war on a grand scale. No buddy characters here to follow our hero around and provide comic relief. This film sticks with Orlando on his journey to find salvation in the holy land, and doesn’t waver into the usual cliché territory." I like what I read in this paragraph. Spartacus is one of my all-time favorite films and the fact that Sprocket said the movie lives up to the expectation of its trailer gives me hope that this will indeed look absolutely amazing. I hope that they don't do what Wolfgang Petersen did with Troy and twist it around too much just to please the screening audience. But I trust Ridley knows and feels what is right and necessary for this movie.
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  #31  
Old February 18th, 2005, 06:24 PM
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Oh please Ridley! Please do not let the studio force you into diluting your vision. Geez, look what happened to "Alexander" (a disaster according to many critics) and to "Troy". Stick to your instincts Ridley!

Thanks for posting this daydreamer. *Now, how do I get to see one of these test screenings eh?*
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  #32  
Old February 18th, 2005, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elf Lady
Oh please Ridley! Please do not let the studio force you into diluting your vision. Geez, look what happened to "Alexander" (a disaster according to many critics) and to "Troy". Stick to your instincts Ridley!

Thanks for posting this daydreamer. *Now, how do I get to see one of these test screenings eh?*
From your lips, EL. And I'm sure that if anyone can score a test screening, it's you!


I got the feeling that the ladies wanted more romance, which is actually a fair complaint, and of course they wanted more naked Orlando.

More or Any ?
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  #33  
Old February 19th, 2005, 12:02 AM
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The anxiety of waiting for this film will surely do me in. I honestly don't think the studio people will be able to push Scott into making any changes he doesn't want. I mean, the man is legendary, they should trust him. He hasn't made an iffy movie yet, he's not going to start now especially if it's a movie he's been wanting to make for 20 years as he has stated previously. Despite what crappy critics who won't give Orlando the time of day, this movie is going to rock on an epic scale.
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  #34  
Old February 19th, 2005, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keekercatt
I got the feeling that the ladies wanted more romance, which is actually a fair complaint, and of course they wanted more naked Orlando.

More or Any ?
I've actually managed to stay away from any real spoilers for this movie. ANY naked Orlando, in ANY way, shape, or form, would be good for me.

thanks daydreamer!
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  #35  
Old February 19th, 2005, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Elf Lady
*Now, how do I get to see one of these test screenings eh?*
Yeah, good question. How does someone get into one of those test screenings?? And are they held in just the major cities or randomly in different towns and cinemas? I'd love to go to a screening, of course, preferably an Orlando Bloom movie screening. I promise to give an unbiased and impartial review of his performance... (yeah right!)
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  #36  
Old February 19th, 2005, 03:44 AM
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Actually, as much as I love to see Orlando unclothed, I don't think I would want to see it in a film of this calibre. Same thing for the romance thing. They will simply cause needless distractions in an epic film such as this. (Which doesn't mean that I don't want to see a naked Orlando in some romantic film in the future, of course).

KOH sounds like a great film in the making and I am hyperventilating just at the thought of seeing it. May seems a long way off.
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  #37  
Old February 19th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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My husband even said- "I think this could be the film that does it for Orlando- I think this one may silence the critics." Meaning the ones who say he can't act. Even Hubby is pulling for Orli this time, so I hope he's right. With this, and the very different flavored Etown coming out the same year, I think it will boost his credibility as a bankable actor. Now if we could just get HAven out too!
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  #38  
Old February 19th, 2005, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daydreamer58
Yeah, good question. How does someone get into one of those test screenings??
I think I'll take this one. I have a rather painful experience to recount. As much as I've tortured myself, I simply cannot go back in time.

I was supposed to meet up with a couple of my work friends at the theater, this was maybe a month ago. Forget what we were going to see. Anyway, decided I'd rather hang with the BF. Get a call from one of the girls the next day.

Me: How was the movie?
Her: Didn't actually see it. This man was handing out free tickets to a screening, so we took 'em. It had Orlando Bloom in it! You like him, right?
Me:
Her: Yeah, we weren't even sure what the name of it was, but it was about the Crusades.
Me:

Anyway, you get the idea. I was thisclose to getting to see the preview. I'm still recovering. I just keep telling myself, well, at least when I see it it will be the finished product! Not some half-a** thing! No, it's not working.

Basically what they do is they randomly approach people at the theater and ask them if they want to see a screening. Then they pull a few people to be part of a discussion group, to get their thoughts. I don't think they do that with everyone in the audience though, because my friends didn't stick around to talk about it. As for my city? I don't want to say where I live, but it's a medium-sized city in California, not L.A., not S.F.

Oh, my friends weren't thrilled, it pains me to say. BUT, they do say, as others have observed, that it was definitely a work in progress, and they'll be curious to see how the finished product is. From what I was able to get out of them, no nekkid Orlando. No love scene. Barely any love story. They said he wasn't bad (fine praise considering neither is a fan), but that it was a savage, violent war movie, which isn't their cup of tea. Didn't press them for too much more, because they didn't like it, and it was discouraging me.

I would have shared this little tale before, but I don't have much to share about the movie itself, and I was just so frustrated that I wasn't there.

There you have it. Whew! Sorry I rambled on so long. Hope I answered your question.
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  #39  
Old February 19th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Savage violent war movie?
Exactly my cup of tea! And with Orlando centre stage! My cup of tea with sugar AND honey!!
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  #40  
Old February 19th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malene
Savage violent war movie?
Exactly my cup of tea! And with Orlando centre stage! My cup of tea with sugar AND honey!!
Yeah baby!

Pumpkin Spice, that really sucks! I would have been crushed too, if that had happened to me. But yeah, you'll get to see the finished product.
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  #41  
Old February 20th, 2005, 01:43 AM
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Thank you, Pumpkin Spice, for answering my question and providing an explanation. Sorry about your disappointment, that would have bummed me out as well. It would interest me to see a movie's evolution taking place by seeing a work in progress, but, like you said, we'll all eventually get to see it after it's been polished up.
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  #42  
Old February 20th, 2005, 08:51 AM
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Pumpkin Spice, I would've been really bummed too.

I am nearly trembling with excitement about this movie. Don't know what I'll be like the day it opens.

Thanks for the reviews, everyone! And those spoilers were amazing!
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  #43  
Old February 20th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Awww Pumpkin, that just sucks But at least you get to see the finished thing without, when it is 'perfect' I am trying so hard this time around to avoid spoilers so I don't go in with high expectations (damn, have those already) and get a suprise. But what I have read it sounds like it is going to be excellent. But I second what EL said, pandering to test audiences is never good. Tell it how it is meant to be told and don't mess around with it please!
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  #44  
Old April 17th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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Movie Critic Reviews - SPOILERS

Thanks to Interconnector for the link posted in the KoH news thread. Thought we should start a thread for professional reviews now. First one is from the Culture section of The Sunday Times (UK).
Quote:
Great Scott
Ridley’s film about the crusades packs a punch that will soon silence the controversy. Just you wait, he tells Garth Pearce


When Ridley Scott announced that he wanted to make a movie about the crusades, Hollywood executives asked themselves one question: had he gone mad? The very prospect of a film in which Muslim is pitched against Christian set nerves jangling. The fact that Scott was proposing to use Orlando Bloom as his action hero virtually shredded them. If offending Allah were not enough, surely this was a boy for a man’s job? Then they looked again at the only history books that really matter. The thrice Oscar-nominated director had made fortunes for DreamWorks (Gladiator, 2000), MGM (Thelma & Louise, 1991, and Hannibal, 2001) and 20th Century Fox (Alien, 1979). Could he strike gold in the desert, re-creating Jerusalem? The financial hawks won the day. The crusade was on.

The result, Kingdom of Heaven, has now been unveiled in all its glory, just three weeks before its worldwide release. And there’s relief all round. Scott — at 67, the most successful British director at the box office in Hollywood history — has delivered a sensational film. It is one of those big stories: breathtaking scenes, vast battlescapes and complex issues, all in the hands of strong character actors. He has managed to honour both Christians and Muslims as they fight for their cause at the end of the 12th century. He has also coaxed a stirring performance from a pumped-up Bloom, who, at 28, comes of age as a leading man. But now the real battle begins: getting back the $125m budget, plus $60m in promotional and advertising costs.

“I dare not think about the money,” says Scott. “My job was to deliver the film on budget, otherwise the film company would have had my guts.

I also wanted to prove the doubters wrong. I am very competitive. When I first said I wanted to make a film about Rome and cast Russell Crowe, everyone had a good old snigger.

I thought, ‘You wait.’ They’ve done the same with Kingdom of Heaven and Orlando Bloom. I now say, ‘Take a look at this.’”

Scott is in a pugnacious mood when we meet in Pasadena, California, chosen by 20th Century Fox for the film’s launch. Since Gladiator, there have been several failed imitators, such as Troy (directed by Wolfgang Petersen) last year, the dreadful Alexander (Oliver Stone), and the equally limp King Arthur (Antoine Fuqua). All cost — and lost — a fortune. With Kingdom of Heaven, there is a feeling that the grand master is in charge. From the first striking scene of a cross on the skyline, with a woman in a white veil about to be buried, it oozes confidence.

Most of the doubts about this film, set in 1186, from the controversial subject matter to the casting of Bloom, are nailed in its first half-hour. It has its faults — Bloom’s Balian, a blacksmith-turned-warrior — is involved in too much action before we get to know him; and his leading lady, the little-known Eva Green, is relegated to looking silently beautiful and enigmatic for the final third of the film — but these are minor complaints compared to the sheer scale, which has the power to make an audience feel it is living and breathing history.

Balian’s life has been upended in France by a double tragedy. His child has died and his wife, her mind racked with guilt, kills herself. As if that were not enough, he is confronted by a secret from the past.

The English nobleman and respected warlord Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), en route with his knights to the second crusade, reveals that he is Balian’s father. He names Balian as his heir and invites him to join the group on its trek to Jerusalem. But Balian decides to remain in the village and come to terms with both his grief and his inheritance. Then a foolish priest (Michael Sheen) provokes his anger, and all hell breaks loose in the smithy. The priest is skewered by Balian with a red-hot sword and thrust into the furnace.

With his life in ruins, Balian rides to join his father, believing salvation will only be granted to him on reaching the holy city of Jerusalem. He is welcomed, not only because of his noble bloodline, but also because he proves to be a superman with the sword. His natural speed of hand, with muscles built up at the smithy (the normally slender Bloom gained 20lb for the role), as well as a nothing-to-lose viciousness, make him a force to be reckoned with in battle. Thus begins a journey, breathtakingly directed by Scott and underpinned by a haunting score, performed by a 123-voice Bach choir and Turkish musicians, that makes the 140 minutes evaporate.

“I dread BA — bum ache,” says Scott. “We get it at the theatre or opera too much. I did not want anyone looking at their watch during this film.” There is no chance of that, as Balian battles across desert and ocean to make it to Jerusalem. He eventually finds his salvation not in God, but in the shape of Princess Sibylla (Green), sister of the Christian king Baldwin IV. Scott has also hired some class acts to surround Bloom: Ed Norton as a masked Baldwin IV, who is stricken by leprosy; Jeremy Irons as his peace-loving adviser, Tiberias; Brendan Gleeson as the bloodthirsty Reynald; and David Thewlis as Godfrey’s spiritual counsellor. Scott has not played too fast and loose with history, either. Balian of Ibelin did defend Jerusalem against the general Saladin (played by the Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud, a Muslim), and virtually all the characters, apart from the fictional Godfrey, did exist. Their reported characteristics are followed to the letter, although dates have not been strictly adhered to. Baldwin the leper king died at 24 in 1185, one year before the start of the story.

Still, Scott has received broad approval from some cynical historians, including the Muslim scholar Hamid Dabashi. “There are inaccuracies,” says Dabashi, “in that he has probably made Saladin look too heroic. Saladin was always respected more by Christians than by Muslims, and would show mercy to those who could afford to pay him. But this is a film that tries to deal as accurately as possible with the difficult issues of religion and warfare of the time. Muslims have nothing to fear.”

Despite vague mutterings of disquiet still circulating on Muslim websites, Scott looks not in the least bit bothered. In a green V-neck jumper over an open-necked shirt, and holding a well-stocked cigar case, he looks as if he’s about to pop into his local for a drink. “The way to get over the controversy is to try to be accurate and to try to tell the truth,” he insists. “Sure, there is no evidence that Balian was ever a blacksmith — but there’s no evidence to say he wasn’t. Historians will leave nothing to conjecture. That is why we need a dramatist, like the screenwriter Bill Monahan, to make something of it.”

Did anything get him down? “The most tedious part of making a film like this is the sheer energy of it,” he says. “I do meetings at the end of every evening, in my trailer, with my key heads of department, saying, ‘What went wrong today, and what can we put right tomorrow?’ I want things done right. I am not in a popularity contest.

“Every day, with the vast number of crew and extras, you have 2,500 breakfasts and lunches. Getting these people there, dressed, looking vaguely happy, with a coffee in their hand — that in itself is an achievement. Get that by 9am and you are ahead of the game. You have to start shooting at 9.30am, otherwise you are dead in the water. It is all carefully planned. I storyboard in my head, and I can draw really well, because I was at art school for seven years. So I know exactly how the scenes will go.”

Such confidence, which must do wonders to ease the tensions of the film company, rises still further when Scott discusses his choice of Bloom. “I had no second thoughts,” he says. “I’d used him as one of the soldiers in Black Hawk Down (another contentious Scott film, of 2001, about American problems in Somalia) and could see he’d got it in him. He didn’t think he had. I had to be like a sports coach, getting the best out of him. I would say, ‘Don’t think about the huge set or the scale of the film — just concentrate on acting.’ He did it — and he’s great.”

A cautious Bloom did not quite see it that way. He relates that he was filming for 130 days of the five-month shoot in Spain and Morocco, with few days off. A month-long bout of flu and a couple of hand injuries from swordfighting had to be ignored. He was slightly overawed by the big-name actors around him. “In the end, I just had to put everything else out of my mind and deliver,” he says. “I have just seen it: the film is fantastic. I always wonder about myself, though. Could it have been better?” It certainly could not have been any worse than his big girl’s blouse of a performance in Troy. And if he is ever worried about bringing the house down, he should have been at the London preview of Alexander and heard the howls of laughter that greeted Colin Farrell’s appearance on screen, with blond barnet and dark caterpillar eyebrows. But no, Bloom works very well indeed. After a whirlwind of a career that, in seven years, has seen him go from drama school to Lord of the Rings hero, a turn in Pirates of the Caribbean — he is now making the sequel — and a thoughtful role in the upcoming contemporary drama Elizabethtown, we have another fully rounded leading man.

Perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of the film is that Bloom’s Balian does not find God. On the contrary. He looks at the killing and destruction in Jerusalem and says: “If this is the kingdom of heaven, then God can keep it.” But the handing over of the city from Balian to Saladin involved nothing like the slaughter of all Muslims by Christians in the first crusade of 1096, following the edict of Pope Urban II that the Holy Land become a Christian state.

“Balian is an agnostic, just like me,” says Scott. “I am not fighting another holy war here, I am trying to get across the fact that not everyone in the West is a good guy, and not all Muslims are bad. The tragedy is that we still have a lack of understanding between us, and it is 900 years since the crusades. We have never truly resolved our differences.”
Source: The Times Online
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  #45  
Old April 17th, 2005, 08:01 AM
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Well this should end that rumor about the studio forcing Orlando on Ridley Scott. Sounds like he had to force him on them!

Great article.
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  #46  
Old April 17th, 2005, 09:20 AM
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Awesome review!! Its so great that the film have only postive reviews!
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  #47  
Old April 17th, 2005, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingdomofheaven
Awesome review!! Its so great that the film have only postive reviews!
Yes it is! With each one I read I get happier.
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  #48  
Old April 17th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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Thanks EL, that was a good read
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  #49  
Old April 17th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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Thanks for the article.
In case anyone is interested I got a copy of the Sunday Times this morning , there is a picture on the front of the culture section and just two pages inside with the article no new pictures unfortuantly so not really worth scanning but if anyone wants me to I will.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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We'd love to get scans for posterity, would you mind?
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Legolas Greenleaf
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