Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.
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)
- May 7, 2005