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  #476  
Old June 6th, 2005, 01:16 AM
Leggybelle Leggybelle is offline
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Whoa......what a great find on Amazon, EL. Thanks for posting. I love the Amazon critique, but I was totally unprepared for the wonderful customer review.

"What totally surprised me the most was the performance of Orlando Bloom. As a young French blacksmith who suffers from the recent loss of his wife and child, and then makes a life-changing decision to join his Catholic brethren in Jerasulem--at the present an unstable bastion of religious tolerance--Bloom's character Balian is completely troubled, tortured, compelling, and believable. The actor takes this epic on his youthful shoulders and carries it admirably--even when the story stretches itself to limits as tight as a rubber band on the verge of snapping apart. Bloom is extraordinary; his Legolas legacy is successfully jettisoned."

I love it, I love it, I love it

Especially the part where he says Bloom's Balian is "......troubled, tortured, compelling and believable" This is the kind of praise that most movie-goers (that weren't preset to hate Orlando's performance) would give to Orlando. I'm sure that the people that count in Hollywood have taken not of his superb performance. He did great !!

I hope that somehow Orlando will get word of this outstanding praise (as well as all the other praise that has been written about his fine performance in KOH).

But I don't want to jettison Legolas He will always have a special place in my heart.
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  #477  
Old June 6th, 2005, 11:58 PM
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Another good review (thanks to Full Bloom for the link).
Quote:
'Kingdom of Heaven' rises above combat
Movie develops theme of peace amid conflict.
June 6, 2005
By CHRISTOPHER TRICE

The Crusades are not the central focus of Ridley Scott's latest epic, "Kingdom of Heaven." Rather, they serve as a backdrop for a story about a quest for a better world and finding peace with the mistakes of one's past.

The movie begins with Sir Godfrey (Liam Neeson) returning from the Middle East for a confrontation with his illegitimate son, a village blacksmith named Balian (Orlando Bloom). Godfrey desperately wants to make peace with his son and hopes that Balian will return to Jerusalem with him. Godfrey tells his son, "There at the end of the world, you are not what you were born but what you have it in yourself to be."

In the movie, Jerusalem has been under Christian control for 100 years. Muslims and Christians alike worship within the holy city, and an uneasy peace prevails. However, as the story progresses, Christian extremists looking for greater control over the region have committed atrocities against the Muslim pilgrims in an attempt to start a war. The ruler of the city, the young King Baldwin (Edward Norton), has taken great steps to avoid conflict. Many suspect that the relationship of mutual respect and admiration between Baldwin and the leader of the Muslim armies, Saladin (Ghassan Massoud) could allow them to create a lasting era of peace.

The two great leaders are able to avert conflict on several occasions until Baldwin succumbs to death from the ravages of leprosy, leaving Jerusalem under the control of extremists eager for war. The defense of the city is left in the hands of the recently knighted Bailian, who had impressed King Baldwin with his endeavor to be a knight of conscience and virtue.

"Kingdom of Heaven" does not take a pro-Christian or a Muslim standpoint. Rather, it emphasizes how extremists on both sides used religious fervor to create a conflict.

A priest who was a friend of Bailian remarks that he was never one for religion because he had seen how it could turn people into fanatics. He commented that what God desired of mankind was in their minds and hearts. That it was mankind's duty to do what their conscience tells them is right, not what an authority figure or religious law tells them is right.

The movie showcases several epic sequences of medieval combat. The fighting is well- choreographed and historically accurate, as I was assured by a gentleman who belonged to a group of medieval re-enactors as I left the theater.

The most intriguing aspect of the movie is the development of Bailian's character as he strives to be a "perfect knight" working to build a "kingdom of conscience." Bailian begins his journey as a fugitive wanted for murder, and ends it as a warrior admired and respected by allies and enemies alike. Bailian journeys to Jerusalem searching for his personal salvation and finds it in the service of those who need him most. Bailian continually reminds the other characters that he does not fight for ancient rock but for the people who cannot defend themselves.

"Kingdom of Heaven" surpassed my expectations. Intriguing characters, smart dialogue and breathtaking images of ancient battle allow "Kingdom of Heaven" to stand out among the recent crowd of historical epics. I would highly recommend this movie.
Source: Star Gazette
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  #478  
Old June 7th, 2005, 01:32 AM
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Why are these good reviews show up really late, when the movie is gone from the theaters?! They should've showed up way earlier than this. =)
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  #479  
Old June 7th, 2005, 05:14 AM
Leggybelle Leggybelle is offline
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EXACTLY !!! Makes me so mad to read this kind of review NOW.....WHEN IT IS TOO LATE to affect the box office !!!
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  #480  
Old June 8th, 2005, 11:24 PM
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Another late review, not really a professional review rather for a university paper.
Quote:
Crusading may clash, doesn't crash
'Kingdom of Heaven' isn't heavenly, but not a living hell either

by Richard Snyder
June 06, 2005

Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven advertised an epic conflict--armed men, determined to fight for their side to their very deaths, locked in cataclysmic and passionate battle, characteristic of how the Crusades are viewed. My response was: "They're doing this again?"

Indeed, the bronze age/medieval/ahistorical battle epic genre has been pretty saturated these days. The Lord of the Rings trilogy left an infectious and increasingly annoying trend in its wake: Movies like Troy, King Arthur and Alexander have all arrived in the past twelve months, all selling themselves in virtually the same way as Kingdom. Scott even strengthened that link by casting Orlando Bloom, who played prominent roles as Legolas in the LOTR films and Paris in Troy, as the heroic knight Bailan. Considering LOTR's current progeny has been subject to mixed results at best, the wisdom of such a casting decision is certainly questionable.

So does Kingdom of Heaven succumb to the same conundrums as its forerunners? In some ways, yes, but the trip is a bit off from being a waste.

Surprisingly, in contrast to the band of stereotypes in Troy, the characterization of Kingdom is the least of the film's worries. While the events boil down to Bailan having to defend Jerusalem from an immense Muslim siege, it is not played up as a battle of good versus evil and the concepts of black and white are absent throughout the movie.

Bailan finds himself in the middle of an internal struggle between Baldwin, the leper King of Jerusalem (Edward Norton) who wants coexistence among the city's population and Guy de Lusignan (Marton Csokas), a zealous Templar vying for unrestricted Christian domination of the area.

The Muslims also receive a multifaceted (if brief) depiction as Salahuddin (Ghassan Massoud) is at odds with his own subordinates who desire revenge against the Christians over previous Crusades.

This humanization of the different sides comes as quite a shock, considering Black Hawk Down, Ridley Scott's previous war foray, seemed to be a glowing propaganda piece for George W. Bush's then-upcoming war in Iraq. Kingdom of Heaven's about face works to the films advantage and gives it a far more interesting general plot than other contemporaries of the genre.

However, a couple of things regrettably steal thunder from Kingdom's finer elements. One of which is the obligatory romance. The lifeless Sybilla (Eva Green), for all of her screen time, seems to have little to do with the actual plot, aside from disrobing. Her falling in love with Bailan is completely spontaneous and anything else she partook in. Though, to its credit, this does show the benefits of typecasting. Bloom will be lucky to see a toaster ever again but he'll always be getting the girls.

This animal magnetism doesn't come freely though as Bloom is forced through a few, and rather boring, fight scenes. While the epic, medieval battle was used sparingly enough to make The Two Towers stand out three years ago, its an old hat now and no better is its age shown than in Kingdom. Did the people in my theatre's projection room accidentally swap Kingdom out for Troy or a Lord of the Rings movie while I wasn't looking? I've seen those same battles, shot for shot, at least three times before.

The biggest pity, though, is that it's the more boring aspects of Kingdom of Heaven are the ones that get all of the attention. Many will definitely be turned off, thinking it's another soulless, brainless bloodbath. However, underneath the clich� and ahistorical bits lies a socially relevant and surprisingly intelligently constructed film. The Kingdom isn't worth a crusade but it's still pretty good.
Source: Florida State University News
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  #481  
Old June 9th, 2005, 12:51 AM
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Interesting review. I also thought that the romance between Balian and Sybilla was just kind of thrown in there to help the story along but didn't really add anything if that makes sense. It just didn't seem to fit in anywhere.

You know, everyone's been asking this, but where were these reviews right before and when the movie came out? *shakes head*
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  #482  
Old June 9th, 2005, 01:59 AM
Leggybelle Leggybelle is offline
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Did Mr. Snyder watch the same Kingdom of Heaven that I did? Exactly what fight scenes did he find boring?? And Sybilla lifeless?? I thought she showed a lot of spunk (but too many of her scenes were cut out).

But what does one expect from a writer at Florida State? It's reputation lies in it's being a "party" school, with football on the side!! It's not known for it's educational values.

P.S. I'm a Gator fan !!!
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  #483  
Old June 9th, 2005, 05:05 AM
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I'm not sure if the following review has been posted before, but I thought it might be of interest. It's by Robert Fisk, a British journalist who's been writing about the Middle East for more than twenty years. It's more about perceptions of and the response to KOH in Beirut, than about Orlando or his performance. My apologies if this has already been posted and responded to. Arian

******

Long live Ridley Scott. I never thought I'd say this. Gladiator had a screenplay that might have come from the Boy's Own Paper. Black Hawk Down showed the Arabs of Somalia as generically violent animals. But when I left the cinema after seeing Scott's extraordinary sand-and-sandals epic on the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven, I was deeply moved - not so much by the film, but by the Muslim audience among whom I watched it in Beirut.

I know what the critics have said. The screenplay isn't up for much and Orlando Bloom, playing the loss-of-faith crusader Balian of Ibelin, does indeed look - as The Independent cruelly observed - like a backpacker touring the Middle East in a gap year.

But there is an integrity about its portrayal of the Crusades which, while fitting neatly into our contemporary view of the Middle East - the moderate crusaders are overtaken by crazed neo-conservative barons while Saladin is taunted by a dangerously al-Qa'ida-like warrior - treats the Muslims as men of honour who can show generosity as well as ruthlessness to their enemies.

It was certainly a revelation to sit through Kingdom of Heaven not in London or New York but in Beirut, in the Middle East itself, among Muslims - most of them in their 20s - who were watching historical events that took place only a couple of hundred miles from us. How would the audience react when the Knights Templars went on their orgy of rape and head-chopping among the innocent Muslim villagers of the Holy Land, when they advanced, covered in gore, to murder Saladin's beautiful, chadored sister? I must admit, I held my breath a few times.

I need not have bothered. When the leprous King of Jerusalem - his face covered in a steel mask to spare his followers the ordeal of looking at his decomposition - falls fatally ill after honourably preventing a battle between Crusaders and Saracens, Saladin, played by that wonderful Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud - and thank God the Arabs in the film are played by Arabs - tells his deputies to send his own doctors to look after the Christian king.

At this, there came from the Muslim audience a round of spontaneous applause. They admired this act of mercy from their warrior hero; they wanted to see his kindness to a Christian.

There are some things in the film which you have to be out here in the Middle East to appreciate. When Balian comes across a pile of crusader heads lying on the sand after the Christian defeat at the 1187 battle of Hittin, everyone in the cinema thought of Iraq; here is the nightmare I face each time I travel to report in Iraq. Here is the horror that the many Lebanese who work in Iraq have to confront. Yet there was a wonderful moment of self-deprecation among the audience when Saladin, reflecting on his life, says: "Somebody tried to kill me once in Lebanon."

The house came down. Everyone believed that Massoud must have inserted this line to make fun of the Lebanese ability to destroy themselves and - having lived in Lebanon 29 years and witnessed almost all its tragedy - I too founds tears of laughter running down my face.

I suppose that living in Lebanon, among those crusader castles, does also give an edge to Kingdom of Heaven. It's said that Scott originally wanted to film in Lebanon (rather than Spain and Morocco) and to call his movie Tripoli after the great crusader keep I visited a few weeks ago. One of the big Christian political families in Lebanon, the Franjiehs, take their name from the "Franj", which is what the Arabs called the crusaders. The Douai family in Lebanon - with whom the Franjiehs fought a bitter battle, Knights Templar-style, in a church in 1957 - are the descendants of the French knights who came from the northern French city of Douai.

Yet it is ironic that this movie elicited so much cynical comment in the West. Here is a tale that - unlike any other recent film - has captured the admiration of Muslims. Yet we denigrated it. Because Orlando Bloom turns so improbably from blacksmith to crusader to hydraulic engineer? Or because we felt uncomfortable at the way the film portrayed "us", the crusaders?

But it didn't duck Muslim vengeance. When Guy de Lusignan hands the cup of iced water given him by Saladin to the murderous knight who slaughtered Saladin's daughter, the Muslim warrior says menacingly: "I did not give you the cup." And then he puts his sword through the knight's throat. Which is, according to the archives, exactly what he did say and exactly what he did do.

Massoud, who is a popular local actor in Arab films - he is known in the Middle East as the Syrian Al Pacino - in reality believes that George Bush is to blame for much of the crisis between the Muslim and Western world. "George Bush is stupid and he loves blood more than the people and music," he said in a recent interview. "If Saladin were here he would have at least not allowed Bush to destroy the world, especially the feeling of humanity between people."

Massoud agreed to play Saladin because he trusted Scott to be fair with history. I had to turn to that fine Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf to discover whether Massoud was right. Maalouf it was who wrote the seminal The Crusades through Arab Eyes, researching for his work among Arab rather than Crusader archives. "Too fair," was his judgement on Kingdom of Heaven.

I see his point. But at the end of the film, after Balian has surrendered Jerusalem, Saladin enters the city and finds a crucifix lying on the floor of a church, knocked off the altar during the three-day siege. And he carefully picks up the cross and places it reverently back on the altar. And at this point the audience rose to their feet and clapped and shouted their appreciation. They loved that gesture of honour. They wanted Islam to be merciful as well as strong. And they roared their approval above the soundtrack of the film.

So I left the Dunes cinema in Beirut strangely uplifted by this extraordinary performance - of the audience as much as the film. See it if you haven't. And if you do, remember how the Muslims of Beirut came to realise that even Hollywood can be fair. I came away realising why - despite the murder of Beirut's bravest journalist on Friday - there probably will not be a civil war here again. So if you see Kingdom of Heaven, when Saladin sets the crucifix back on the altar, remember that deafening applause from the Muslims of Beirut.

Robert Fisk
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  #484  
Old June 9th, 2005, 05:11 AM
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Oh my, I was rather moved reading this. Thank you for posting it Arian. I think it is wonderful that Kingdom of Heaven was received so well in Beirut. Very sad that the reception has not been as good here in the States, very sad indeed.
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  #485  
Old June 9th, 2005, 05:21 AM
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I must say, I was very moved by that too, particularly the part about the Muslim audience cheering when Saladin placed the crucifix back on the altar at the end of the movie. Thanks for posting that, Arian.
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  #486  
Old June 9th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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This is wonderful.I would wish for the film makers to see this.
It's proof that the film was made the right way.
I'd rather have muslims be happy about a Hollywood made movie about christians vs muslims than ignorant people in certain other parts of the world,to be honest.

Thanks for posting it, Arian.
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  #487  
Old June 11th, 2005, 02:12 AM
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from here



Quote:
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Starring Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons. Set in 12th century Europe and the exotic East, a young peasant becomes a renowned knight, saves a kingdom and falls in a love with a princess. Directed by Ridley Scott. "You keep hoping that a Monty Python film will break out. Until the final 45 minutes, "Kingdom of Heaven' is just clunky and bloody - bloody bloody and bloody boring. Unexplained is why a bulked-up Bloom looks like a bobblehead doll when he's unlucky enough to be photographed alone on his horse." 145 minutes. (Rated R for strong violence and epic warfare.) (Jeff Simon)
Bobblehead doll huh?! All I can say is ...
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  #488  
Old June 14th, 2005, 06:27 PM
Leggybelle Leggybelle is offline
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Yes, I agree.....thanks for posting that article, Arian. It's wonderful to see how the rest of the world appreciates KOH too.

I have had the wonderful pleasure of seeing Kingdom of Heaven 7 times !! Each time I saw it, I liked it better......and each time I found new things to wonder at and appreciate.

Although I think that Balian is the best acting of Orlando's career, and KOH is one of the finest films I have ever seen, I have to agree with the critics who said that it suffered from the editing process. Leaving over one hour on the cutting room floor completely decimates a movie. Ridley Scott originally filmed up to 5 hours of KOH storytelling, refining it down to approximately 3-1/2 hours. But for management reasons (distribution, etc.) 20th Century Fox deemed it necessary to edit still further -- and ended up with the 2-1/2 hour movie presently in the theaters.

Needless to say, by doing this severe editing, I think they bit off their nose to spite their faces --- they may get more showings of KOH in theaters, but they are delivering a movie that will most likely not win that Best Picture and Best Director awards that Ridley Scott certainly had a right to look forward to with KOH. So where's the glory for Fox?? They could have backed Ridley all the way, released KOH in the 3-1/2 hour form, and given the Oscars a run for their money !!! As it is, what are they going to tout for Oscar consideration? Star Wars???

Well, we have been told that we can look forward to the entire 3-1/2 KOH in the EE DVD. Thankfully, we will at least have that. Oscars are not handed out to DVD's however, so all we can do is hope that Fox will promote KOH at nomination time --- several performances in KOH deserve recognition (Neisen, Norton, Lyons to name a few of the actors) as well as musical score, costumes, choreography, and Picture/Director for Ridley Scott !!

After seeing KOH so many times, I am still awed by the daring of Scott, presenting both sides of the Christian/Muslim conflict in such a realistic manner, showing the best and worst of both, the goodness of some men and the horrors of war. To me, Balian was the perfect anti-hero, and I loved Orlando's portrayal of this tortured man thrown into a conflict not of his making, trying so hard to keep his honor and dignity, and to live up to his promise to "save the people".
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  #489  
Old June 16th, 2005, 01:13 AM
Leowen Leowen is offline
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Believe it or not, I just saw it for the first time! I'm not usually one to go to R rated movies, and I have to say the violence and gore in KoH bothered me a little. But overall I thought it was fascinating. I loved Balian, his initial reluctance and his ultimate heroism. And for me, the whole performance was in his eyes. I'm sure there were things that I missed because I was riveted by his eyes, so emotional, so expressive, so soulful. I love this man! I'm so looking forward to the DVD, partly so I can skip over the really bloody parts, but mostly so I can drink up the story to the full. Fantastic storytelling by Sir Ridley, one of the best movies I've ever seen.

Orlando is an actor to be taken seriously and he's going to get better and better!
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Old September 12th, 2005, 10:48 PM
Leggybelle Leggybelle is offline
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I know it's well after the fact, and we don't find many KOH articles around any more, but since awards season is coming up I was interested in looking at the Oscar Igloo website, and I found a NEW review on that site which completly amazed me. Evidently the reviewer had been thinking about KOH (couldn't get it out of his mind) so he watched it again and wrote a brand new review.....giving it 3-1/2 stars, out of 4, and saying some nice things about Orlando's acting.

If you'd like to read it, here's the link: KOH on Oscar Igloo

I love what he said about the unjustified nasty reviews from critics (that obviously hurt the box office) !
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  #491  
Old September 12th, 2005, 11:53 PM
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Thanks Leggybelle.
That was interesting.I guess quite a few movie critics would want to rewrite some of thier reviews of many films when they have thought about it for a while.
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  #492  
Old September 13th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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Thank you Leggybelle.

I truly do think that KOH is a movie that does require some digestion, and once the DVD and the extended DVD come out, we will start to see more positive reviews.

frogglez
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  #493  
Old September 13th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leggybelle
I know it's well after the fact, and we don't find many KOH articles around any more, but since awards season is coming up I was interested in looking at the Oscar Igloo website, and I found a NEW review on that site which completly amazed me. Evidently the reviewer had been thinking about KOH (couldn't get it out of his mind) so he watched it again and wrote a brand new review.....giving it 3-1/2 stars, out of 4, and saying some nice things about Orlando's acting.

If you'd like to read it, here's the link: KOH on Oscar Igloo

I love what he said about the unjustified nasty reviews from critics (that obviously hurt the box office) !
At last, someone who gets KOH the way I got it, i.e. a film that deserves and needs several viewings, a film that is as much about place and symbols as it is about the characters and storyline. I was dissapointed at the KOh reviews, but after seeing it I understood them ,but didn't agree with them. An odd thing say, yes, but what I understood is how the critics deeply mistunderstood KOh and what it was about, i.e. Guy, Balian, the KIng each representing what the city of Jerusalem is or could be, a city dying, a city of good or a city of greed and power, KOH was a film that worked on so many levels, a film that Gladiator was not. What critics expected was Gladiator, a film with pretty basic themes of love, honor and heroism, no complex subtexts or symbolism, just a family guy avenging his families destruction, no wonder critics were confused by KOH, it wasn't really what they expected, a film that required ones brain switch, firmly in the on position

I think KOH will find a new audience on DVD, if you look back over the last 20 years of home entertainment many films that are complex and require repeated viweings, often flop at the box office find a new audience and status on DVD; Being John Malchovich, Usual Suspects, The Shawshank redemption, Fight Club, and Bladerunner to name a few, all films now regarded as classics, but on their cinema releases were given mixed to bad reviews, beacuse the films were too complex/slow or their subject matters didn't quite fit in with the times


Diane
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  #494  
Old September 15th, 2005, 03:32 AM
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Too bad the other critics don't have this guy's attitude! To actually admit that he may have overlooked the film the first time and willing to re-evaluate the movie a second time - that's almost totally unheard of! Good for him! It shows that he does have integrity, which a lot of other critics don't. Too many of them are blinded by their own prejudices and perceptions.

Thanks for posting this, DMW3!
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  #495  
Old October 12th, 2005, 11:57 PM
Malene
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I've just watched the movie on DVD.
It is an incredible film! Every single picture frame is breathtakingly beautiful. Even the goriest one's with blood gushing have a gruesome beauty to them.
The people who don't "get" this movie are mentally asleep..

I only got to see it once in the theatre,so it's very fresh to me still. I'm really going to enjoy rediscovering it this week while all the US fans are enjoying Etown.
My Etown time will come soon enough.

Last edited by Malene; October 13th, 2005 at 12:02 AM.
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  #496  
Old October 13th, 2005, 01:34 AM
Leggybelle Leggybelle is offline
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A lot of us US fans will be enjoying KOH again this week too, as the DVD hit the stores yesterday, and most of us can't wait to see Balian again. I loved the movie too, but I'm praying that Ridley Scott puts out a Director's Cut sometime soon -- I want to see all the scenes that were cut out !!
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  #497  
Old October 13th, 2005, 07:10 AM
Malene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leggybelle
A lot of us US fans will be enjoying KOH again this week too, as the DVD hit the stores yesterday, and most of us can't wait to see Balian again. I loved the movie too, but I'm praying that Ridley Scott puts out a Director's Cut sometime soon -- I want to see all the scenes that were cut out !!

I know you got it yeaterday too,but you also have Etown.That is what I meant.
It's a good week in Orlandoland.
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  #498  
Old September 29th, 2009, 09:36 PM
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KOH from the Islamic POV

A possibly controversial view of Kingdom of Heaven from the Muslim point of view:
http://www.iranian.com/main/blog/far...ique-movie-300
Quote:
Cinematic Plea for Peace

In Kingdom of Heaven, a non-binary, complex set of Christian and Muslim characters, including the great Muslim leader Saladin, portrayed rather sympathetically, parade before our eyes. There is a Jungian criticism of moral crusaders, embracing the notion of dialogue and empathy between hostile others. The film’s most obvious exclusion is that of ethnic or religious antipathy, hatred, or superiority. There are heroes and villains on both sides of the “cultural fault lines”, to paraphrase Edward Said, and the movie’s pedagogic element is a humanist, cosmopolitan ideal embodied in the thesis of dialogue among civilisations, centred on the themes of reciprocity, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence between and among the various civilisational groups or clusters. Indeed, in the “interview” segment of the DVD version of the movie, both the director, Ridley Scott, and the lead actors and actresses explicitly voice the hope that the film will “spur dialogue” between Muslims, Christians, and others. The intersubjectivity of the world of interaction of Kingdom of Heaven’s Christian and Muslim characters makes the film ultimately a pacifist work that provides what Max Weber called “value interpretation”—of a violent historical past. This is achieved by a “controlled distancing” from the protagonists on both sides of the long warfare that was the crusades, and there is no attempt to create audience identification with one side or the other.

At the same time, Kingdom of Heaven originates from the standpoint of Christianity. It is able to go beyond that standpoint by journeying through the tumults experienced by the film’s main protagonist, Balian, a Christian blacksmith turned defender of Jerusalem, played by Orlando Bloom. It is no small matter that this Hollywood movie pays partial homage to a historical Muslim figure, Saladin, just as an earlier (fantasy) movie, John McTiernan’s The 13th Warrior (1999), also offers a sympathetic portrayal of a Muslim prince, played by Antonio Banderas. The opposing camps during the crusades may have viewed each other as an existential threat, but the novelty of Kingdom of Heaven is precisely its ability to deconstruct this perception as a myth, boldly supplanting oppositional self-awarenesses with deep reverence for the “hostile other”. The movie’s lead character epitomises the spirit of interreligious dialogue. On hearing the sound of Muslim worship, the Christian Balian remarks that it “sounds like our prayer”. In another scene, Balian yearns for a “kingdom of conscience”, reflecting a spiritual, rather than institutional–religious, moral identity.

The chief merit of Kingdom of Heaven is its candid consideration of the “barbaric within”, its unblinking gaze at the violent, warmongering Christians who engage in the rape and pillage of Muslims, blessed by the papacy. “To kill an infidel is not murder. It is a path to heaven,” shouts a monk in one scene. The lead character’s witnessing of such events constitutes an instance of what we may call “intersubjectification”.2

Any account of the past is essentially incomplete, be it oral, narrative, pictorial, or all combined. Yet, as the philosopher Arthur Danto and others have observed, incompleteness of description is not a deficiency as long as the representation is not determined by a prejudicial frame of reference. Movies about history are more profound when the filmmakers pay attention to both sides, interweaving all the elements, instead of giving only one side of the story. This more comprehensive style is that followed in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000), in Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy (2004), and in Rudolph Maté’s The 300 Spartans (1962), an earlier and fairly impartial and balanced Hollywood treatment of the famous battle between Persians and Greeks at Thermopylae in 480 bce.

In Kingdom of Heaven, the Western gaze at the Muslim other is empathetic within limits, and the conflict is presented as arising more from greed and a struggle for territory than from purely theological differences. The film thus constitutes a welcome cinematic rebuff to proponents of the “clash of civilisations” theory, which envisages a long chain of immutable, irresolvable, and antagonistic cultural divides, particularly between East and West, and Islam and Christianity. The makers of Kingdom of Heaven are clearly aware that the past informs the present and the future. They provide a criticism of the narcissistic West that is reflected in the ultimate disenchantment of the lead hero; the specificity of his experience is simultaneously instructional, vexing, and open-ended, and is inextricably linked to a strong distaste for stereotyping or mythologisation. In fact, a point missed by reviewers of Kingdom of Heaven is precisely its anti-mythologisation.3
There is one comment, from a (presumably American) ex-programmer Craig, which is full of historical almost-truths.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 09:50 PM
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I do vaguely remember this article or a similar one that was here way back then- was a good discussion which mostly agreed on these main points as I recall.
Thanks for posting!
eta- articles and discussion here
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Old September 29th, 2009, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by nuit View Post
I do vaguely remember this article or a similar one that was here way back then- was a good discussion which mostly agreed on these main points as I recall.
Thanks for posting!
eta- articles and discussion here
This is definitely a different article than any of those which appear in the thread you linked. This article was cross-posted and commented upon quite recently - yesterday in fact, although the part quoted above appeared originally in payvand.com in 2007: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/sep/1188.html

Last edited by totally; September 29th, 2009 at 10:14 PM.
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