Kingdom of Heaven - Orlando Bloom

Sometimes there are actors that the press and fans love to abuse, for whatever reason. Whatever that actor's in, they look for ways to poke fun at it, even if they give some slack to very similar movies with other actors in it. It seems to me that this is what's happened to Kingdom of Heaven.

The story is an interesting and timely one. Back in medieval days, there was an uneasy truce between the Christian king who held Jerusalem and the Muslims which surround the city. Not all Christians believe this friendship is wise, and soon enough there is a large scale war going on for the city. Only Orlando Bloom, in the shape of a young bastard blacksmith named Balian, can step in to try to save the population from being wiped out.

I admit that after several watchings there are still a few things which strike me as very funny or odd. The fact that Balian's father, Godfrey (Liam Neeson) shows up and says "Hey there, I'm the one who raped your mom. Although she protested, I don't think she really minded". The way Godfrey trains his son in all the arts of fine swordsmanship in one 15-minute session.

When Balian goes out to his father's lands, he finds a dry desert, with many families living on it. He promptly decides to dig a well in about 2 hours they have a well with water and full irrigation going. What, none of the locals ever thought to try digging to find water? Were they all standing around, like little AI-less villagers in a badly designed video game, waiting for someone to click on them? It seems like only days afterwards that the entire landscape is green and lush.

You really can't blame Orlando Bloom for any of this. He is told to read his lines and to go through his paces - he can't take responsibility for a poorly written script or odd dialogue. He does reasonbly well with the lines he's given - rage at a deceptive priest, angst over a lost love, courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

I love battle movies in general, and I greatly appreciated the cavalry charges, castle assaults and other such scenes in the movie. I did had to laugh at a number of very obvious Lord of the Ring similarities though. It's hard not to chuckle when you have "Legolas" up on a tower wall, watching the siege towers roll on in. You're looking for those cave trolls.

I also found it exceedingly convenient that a man who claims throughout the entire movie that he is of the utmost high moral character - to the point of risking the entire city of Jerusalem's safety in order to preserve his moral code - has no problem at all hopping into bed with a married woman. I guess morals can be set aside when you've got a sexy babe in your arms.

Still, all in all it was a fun romp through medieval days, and the supporting cast like Jeremy Irons were great. I like how the movie tells a fair amount of the story from the Muslim side, and how the Muslim ruler is the one to pick up a knocked-over cross and set it back upright. The message that respect can be found for all religions is a healthy one that I'd like to see more of.

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