Kingdom of Heaven

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)Even if slowly, I do get there. I mean I’m going to catch up with all the movies that I am missing now. Today I watched “Kingdom of Heaven“.

Directed by: Ridley Scott
Genres: Drama, War, Action
Cast: Martin Hancock, Michael Sheen, Nathalie Cox, Eriq Ebouaney, Jouko Ahola, David Thewlis, Liam Neeson, Philip Glenister, Orlando Bloom, Bronson Webb, Kevin McKidd, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Steven Robertson, Marton Csokas, Alexander Siddig
IMDB raintg: 6.9
My rating: 5.5 [rate 5.5]

I found the film to be very shallow, slow and boring. It was also very cliche. It was based on a good story, but it needed a lot more development, depth, and drama. Like it is, it’s good for a thirdgrader’s homework composition.

It is sad to see so much potential of a good religious movie to be lost. With all the terrorist tension that is hanging in the world now, a good movie explaining the differences between different religions and cultures and showing that it people can work out the difference is due. It could have been such a movie, but not in the state as it was made.

On the cinematography side it had a number of weak points.

First of all, the fighting scenes. I understand that making a good fighting scene, especially related to older times is expensive. But I think that it is better to not make any fighting scenes at all than making them badly. In this film there were a few fighting scenes, but none were actually good. Most of the times, the camera was in the crowd, which is a way that usually conceals details and any order. Lots and lots of camera shake, spontaneous movements from person to person, dirt, blood, faces, sun, shades, flags, swords. Boring. These types of fights are getting old now. It was OK to use them, when there was no better technology. Now, there is and noone should fall back onto the chaotic movements in the crowd. They are disturbing.

Bigger scale fights had a problem as well. There was practically no strategy shown. No formations. No ordered movements of forces. Just a bunch of people walking towards another bunch of people with a wish to kill them. While that must be pretty scary for both bunchs of people out there, it doesn’t add anything to my viewing pleasure.

And there were no duels. Oh, no, wait. There was one. But it was rather short. Not as short as that Brad Pitt thingy against a huge guy in “Troy”, but short anyway.

In short, all fights needed way more details. More attention should have been spent on ammunition, armor, strategy and tactics.

Aside from fights there were more things to work on. Dialogues for example. Two episodes that stuck in my mind were the eating queen asking about the stare that she was given – “What?”. Not very royal, don’t you think? “What?” What? I can find more words to ask a question, and I don’t even speak English properly. Another episode was closer to the end, when the guy was shouting “C’mon! C’mon” to cheer up the forces. It was almost like he was a DJ at the disco shouting “C’mon! Raise your hands in the air! Say yo! Jump! Everybody jump now!”. Something tells me that people were talking slightly different a thousand years ago. Actually, I am pretty sure of that. I can barely understand my grandfather’s talk and we have an age difference of only about 50 years.

On the special effects side I can’t comment too much as I was watching the fim on a rather small screen and could easily miss things. Nothing jumped into my eyes though. Flying arrows were overdone slightly. Their trajectories were puzzling a bit and the way they were flocking suggested some bird behaviour model. Not very realistic. Anyway, I can be easily wrong here.

Character development sucked. Basically this was one of the things that made the film seem so shallow. I couldn’t connect with any character and thus I couldn’g get what the drama was all about.

Overall, I consider this film to be weak and shallow. It doesn’t hold much value for me personally and I am glad that I saved some money on my cinema ticket.

2 thoughts on “Kingdom of Heaven”

  1. I’m disagry with you. The movie is excellent (especially after my visit to Jerusalem :) ) I like even Orlando Bloom in that movie.
    What there were good in Kingdom of Heaven for me:
    – the view of Jerusalem and others cities of Kingdom of Heaven;
    – staging of battles – very natural, mighty and realistic;
    – the story is very interesting;
    – the special effects are excellent.

    Also, I’d recommend to watch that movie in the cinema!

  2. Maybe the movie looks more appealing to you after your visit to Jerusalem. I’ve never been there and I find it hard to relate to currently.

    Orlando Bloom was indeed acting good. If it wasn’t for him, I would’ve fell asleep right in the beginning of the movie.

    On your other points:

    – views of Jerusalem, as I said, are interesting if you’ve been there yourself. Otherwise it looks like yet another Asian city. It is also hard to tell if the city is real or a decoration/computer graphics.

    – staging of battles sucked. First of all, there were like two battles only both of which took like 10 minutes of screen time. Is it worth arguing about? Out of those 10 minutes: lots and lots of flying arrows which looked like a bad copy-paste operation; same goes for fireballs from thunderbolts – these looked like they were fired from “Katyusha” or something; no details on the crowd what-so-ever; something was also wrong with their horses.

    – the story is very interesting. But it was very unerdeveloped. The movie was losing the story line in several places and switching to something unrelated and uncontinued.

    – special effects weer excellent? where?

Leave a Comment