Sunday, May 08, 2005
Film Review: Kingdom of Heaven
"you call this heaven?"
Kingdom of Heaven (15)
Dir. Ridley Scott
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“Welcome to a new world, a better world than has ever been seen, where you are not what you are born but what you have it in yourself to be. This is a kingdom of consciousness, peace instead of war, love instead of hate. That is what lies at the end of Crusade.”
Sounds good right? Worth fighting for… and Kingdom of Heaven has a serious amount of fighting courtesy of director Ridley ‘Gladiator’ Scott. However, it is only really the battles that make Kingdom of Heaven stand out. And whilst there is something undeniably exciting about seeing heroic warriors taking on masses of enemies, or strategic genius brilliantly implemented on a desperate battlefield, you need something more if you’re aiming to be a truly epic spectacle. When the dust settles here and the dogs of war are safely locked up, things get much too ‘ho hum’, much too quickly for my liking.
The ingredients are all promising - pretty Brit Orlando Bloom, steps up for leading man duties after a string of excellent supporting roles in films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And as I mentioned we’re in the hands of Ridley Scott - a master at delivering blood drenched, unbelievably realistic battles. Add to this the beautiful Eva Green as the cracking love interest Sibylla and quality support from top actors including Liam Neeson, Edward Norton and Jeremy Irons… I can’t quite work out why I wasn’t more excited and why my overarching impression of Kingdom of Heaven was ‘nice battles, shame about the rest’…
It probably didn’t help that I saw another film this weekend – a certain ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and that it was such an endorphin overload of tasty Jedi action, it immediately made all thoughts of Kingdom of Heaven disappear like some sort of Phantom Menace. More of that next week.
Anyway, the Crusades are a potentially fascinating era to explore, and Kingdom of Heaven works hard to present an even handed appraisal of the Christian vs Muslim struggle for Jerusalem (when not showing slow motion shots of swords meeting heads)... I have to say though that Bloom failed to generate the levels of leadership charisma required and his ‘stirring’ battle speeches lacked conviction. In the end, Kingdom of Heaven is certainly great to look at but it only really engages when it draws its sword and rushes headlong into the midst of frantic battle.
Darkmatt Rating: ööö (less if you don't like battles!)
Posted by Matt Adcock at 10:23 pm