After a slew disappointing of historical/mythological war films in the like of Troy and Alexander, Ridley Scott goes back to grab a sword and show these other directors how to do a Historic war film – well almost.
I had no idea what “Kingdom of Heaven” is all about when I went to the movie house to see it. I only knew that it was a War film and that Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) directed it, so I could not miss this. It turns out that this is the story of the last stand of Jerusalem before Saladin conquered it. It was also the story of Balien (Orlando Bloom) a blacksmith turned Knight, after his father Baron Godfrey (Liam Neeson) arrived, shortly after Balien’s wife died of suicide. His father offered him Knighthood and soon sets to follow his father to Jerusalem to redeem his and his wife’s sins. An unfortunate event though that Godfrey died early, leaving him to be the next Baron and a Knight in the service of the King of Jerusalem. And that is the beginning of his journey to becoming a “Good” knight.
Like I said earlier, it was refreshing to watch this film after those other disappointing films that preceeded it. After LOTR, a lot tried to top the amazing visual battle scenes of the said movie but everyone fell short, even Troy himself. I’m proud to say that I wasn’t disappointed with the battle/ action scenes in this movie. Ridley scott knows how to feast our senses.
What this movie lacks though is the character. What made “Gladiator” great is the the character drama that the people really felt for Maximus until the end. Balien seems too flat… I don’t know, probably Orlando Bloom didn’t deliver that much in the acting department, or the “good” knight was just too good to be interesting. Yes, we see that for a blacksmith, he’s got talent. But that is not enough to capture the emotions of people.
Despite the shortcomings Ridley was able to make up for it with good storytelling. I don’t know much about the history of Jerusalem or the famous Saladin, but he managed to make it really interesting that after the movie, I had to research about the event and read about it. I think that’s the important factor in this movie — to pique viewer’s interest and curiousity.
To sum it up, “Kingdom of Heaven” is one of the better films that came out. It’s not as grand as “Gladiator” but it sure is a lot better that “Troy” and “Alexander” combined. It proves that Ridley doesn’t need a famous historical or mythical Icon to sell his movie, but a good story in hand.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.