Kingdom of Heaven

Last night we went to see 'Kingdom of Heaven', an Orlando Bloom film. Orlando wasn't the 'fresh faced lad' in this film, he was an unshaven blacksmith who went off to fight in the Crusades.

The film's essential thrust was about the conflict which religion has given rise to over time. It is a little heavy handed in this at places. For example, the final sentence is a little over the top - about problems in Jerusalem continuing to today (we know). There is also Orlando's speech about Christian monuments built on Jewish monuments, with Moslem monuments built upon that, and how they all have a claim to Jerusalem.

The film had big action sequences of the type that has become commonplace since Lord of the Rings, that said, the action sequences were very well done indeed. Probably one of the best efforts since Helm's Deep, the CGI used was more convincing that anything I've yet seen - I did not see any CGI in the cinema, even LOTR occasionally jolted me from the illusion.

The Knights Templar were not portrayed in a good light, creating dissent amongst the crusaders as the Jerusalem King tried to keep the peace with Saladin.

The film, though following the Europeans primarily, ended being more balanced than I would have guessed going in. I can see why it didn't do too well in the USA.

Saladin himself, initially portrayed as a distant menace was presented in such a way that one could empathise for his viewpoint, though he didn't get a lot of screentime. This, in and of itself, is likely to get some folks in the US a little riled up.

Yes, it did present some of the crusaders in a bad light, but only some of them, it did show internal dissent within Jerusalem (as well as hinting at similar dissent under Saladin). There is a line in the film about how fanaticism has been exhibited by all faiths.

Whilst I can't vouch for the detailed historical accuracy as it's a period which which I'm unfamiliar - however, like Troy (a worse film) it has made me curious to learn more.