It is the time of the Crusades during the Middle Ages - the world shaping 200-year collision between Europe and the East. A blacksmith named Balian has lost his family and nearly his faith. The religious wars raging in the far-off Holy Land seem remote to him, yet he is pulled into that immense drama. Amid the pageantry and intrigues of medieval Jerusalem he falls in love, grows into a leader, and ultimately uses all his courage and skill to defend the city against staggering odds. Destiny comes seeking Balian in the form of a great knight, Godfrey of Ibelin, a Crusader briefly home to France from fighting in the East. Revealing himself as Balian's father, Godfrey shows him the true meaning of knighthood and takes him on a journey across continents to the fabled Holy City. In Jerusalem at that moment--between the Second and Third Crusades--a fragile peace prevails, through the efforts of its enlightened Christian king, Baldwin IV, aided by his advisor Tiberias, and the military ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
excellent, fair to islam, sweeping, narrative could have used tightening...
I really enjoyed this movie. The way the movie started in Europe and how dark it was there... and the journey to Jerusalem... just wonderful stuff up to that point.
Liam Neeson, as usual, is just SO GOOD, you wish he had more screen time.
Orlando Bloom, actually surprisingly, was able to carry the movie as
a lead. I was surprised he had the heft to do it, but I agree with the critic who said that the beard helped. He was a man, not a boy.
Battle scenes... incredible. I was really surprised that they could
wow me, since we've been numbed by the quality of battle scenes in so many previous movies, but they did a great job.
Portrayal of the Muslims. EXTREMELY fair. In being "even-handed" to
Christians and Muslims there, if anything, they emphasized the Christian fanatics (in the form of the Templars in particular, to simplify things) as being the "badguys" more than anyone else... (which is historically accurate to some degree, in my understanding). I was surprised and pleased that they tried to be accurate, and didn't try to emphasize some "BAD MUSLIMS" to make it "even".
Movie is very secular in it's moralizing.
And it portrays Christianity particularly religious men, VERY badly (the Priest who steals the cross from Bloom's wife's corpse... the Bishop in Jerusalem who's ready to convert to Islam at the first sign of defeat... and who also wants to abandon the civilians... the knights templar...) I thought this got a tad gratuitous. There were really NO GOOD Christian FIGURES IN THE MOVIE. The only good purported Christians were basically acting Agnostic (Bloom, Neeson, etc.) The actual religious Christians were made out to be hypocrites.
Meanwhile Saladhudin was a man of honor.. but also somewhat moderate.
Movie could definitely have a little more narrative focus and maybe
have a little more of an emotional circle for Orlando Bloom character. The emotional arc is ALREADY complete fairly early in the movie (Bloom becomes a man of conscience)... and it's kind of boring since the character doesn't really move after that.
But the movie tackled a HUGE topic and tackled it fairly well. I just wish there was a better script to handle the compelling personal journey for Orlando Bloom (from widower, murderer seeking redemption, lost bastard son) that was PROMISED at the beginning.
It seems that as soon as he brings water to his father's old land, he's just about done his journey, and it turns into a simple historical battle movie. (but a darn good one)
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