Kingdom of Heaven
In My Opinion…
Running time: 144 minutes
Recommended viewing: 15 +
Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams
It took me a while to decide what to rate this movie. Mainly because the cinematography was brilliant – and yet it was one of the most boring films I have watched in a long time. Frustration. I settled on the 2 stars, because, really, you can make a movie (or a book) with creative effects and detailed touches and absolute brilliance – but at the end of the day, if it doesn’t strike a chord with your audience, what have you really made?
Usually, I don’t mind a long movie. (The 2010 Robin Hood kept my eyes riveted to the screen and haven’t most of us sat through The Lord of the Rings at some point?) But for Kingdom of Heaven, I figured it’d played out all it could after 40 minutes. To put it simply, I was bored.
The scenes are repetitive. Battles, blood gushes, the good and noble fall to a well-placed arrow, and the main character sticks doggedly to his oath of being a “good knight”. While everything is well acted and realistic, with the clash and bam of a riveting battle, it goes on forever. There is too much.
Battles end and then slow scenes ramble along until (if feels) everyone concerned is bored, so they bash out another battle where everyone you know and love (who didn’t die in the previous ones) dies. Except for the main character, Balian. He’s invincible, even if he is just a blacksmith – and how did a blacksmith learn to fight with a sword? Oh yeah. Our main character is played by Orlando Bloom. Who also plays (in Pirates of the Caribbean) a guy named Will Turner, a blacksmith, who is uncannily good with the sword. How very strange.
But, the poor development of the movie aside, the filming is something to be admired. The angles, the shots, the blurry stagger during battle scenes, and the careful retaining of light in all the right places – from a filming and creative viewpoint, it’s a brilliant movie. I especially liked the focus on the faces and eyes. The actors (who cut out all their lines?) had to put a lot of emotion out there, and they succeeded. The camera lights up their eyes and catches that ripple of grief to anger.
It has the makings of an epic film. Renown actors (like Liam Neeson as Godfrey, Balian’s father). Historical settings. Vibrant adventure. Indisputably well constructed sets. Marvellous cinematography. Brilliant soundtrack. It just missed the mark, somewhere between all it’s “could-bes” and “what it ended up as”.
It’s just a pity they forgot to give anyone a decent line. Except for maybe at the end, when the Princess tells her brother, the king (who is dying of leprosy and is now disfigured and grotesque), that he was always beautiful. Even if I felt detached and uncaring to the circumstances throughout the movie, that line struck a chord.
While the movie had its moments and angles of brilliance, and remarkable acting, I wouldn’t be able to sit through it again. Unless you bribed me. With chocolate.