Kingdom of Heaven : 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

Being a medieval history buff, I enthusiastically watched this film when it came out in 2005 and was disappointed, mostly because I didn't like how the story was re-written, and Orlando Bloom's acting. I remember the Director's Cut being a tremendous improvement.

10 years later (I gave the DC a viewing last night) and my opinion has become somewhat worse. Orlando Bloom's acting is barely watchable. There is nothing believable about his acting. The problem with Bloom is you can tell he's acting, ALL the time. He infuses too much drama in his voice and presence, almost as if he is more geared to do Shakespearean broadway plays as opposed to major feature films. Orlando Bloom was also an awful choice for the lead role. Why they would choose a guy who barely looks 23 to be the main lead in a film where the main character is suppose to be a wise military leader is beyond my comprehension.

A lot of Bloom's important dialogue in the film comes off as preachy, sort of like an overzealous university student trying to sell you marxist ideology. It felt cringey to my ears after all these years, especially his important speeches. In fact, I'd hate to say it, but his dialogue in many scenes was downright laughable. I have a feeling people will mock this film in years to come because of Bloom's cringey delivery of his lines.

Another fault of the film would be the subtle political correctness that pervades throughout. Anyone who has studied the actual history of the Crusades will probably detect this.

The over-arching message: "Muslims are peaceful and just want the invading crusaders to go home". The Templars are just fundamentalist war mongers too!
Of course all of this totally ignores the actual facts and politics of the Crusades. If Ridley was trying to infuse modern politics into the story, then he also failed at that, miserably.

Also, the whole Balian redemption story seemed ridiculous as well.
10 years ago I remember liking Edward Norton's character (King Baldwin), but after last night's viewing I was left not caring for him either. The face mask and his presence seemed overly grandiose, and his performance, though good, didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the film.

David Thewlis and the guy who plays Saladin did fantastic jobs.

The cinematography, sets, and atmosphere were fantastic, top-knotch in fact!
That makes this film all the more depressing. It had such potential, to be one of the best historical films of all time, but was hampered by a faulty script and a laughably bad lead performance.

I'd give this a solid 6.0, simply for the beautiful images we see on screen and the great costumes and sets, and great performances by a few of the characters.
I mostly have to agree with the critic reviews though, there were too many glaring mistakes in this film.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

I agree with you on almost everything. I had a laugh at the Shakespeare comment, that' is 100% accurate. Sadly it's probably the best role he's actually done. He's very lightweight and Hollywood and directors figured that out fairly quickly, hence why you barely see him in any credible films these days, apart from the Hobbit trilogy which he got on his past stock from the earlier LoTR trilogies.

It would have been great to have Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones Jon Snow) for this role. I feel he would have been a lot better than Bloom who was living off LoTR fame and having in 5 minutes in the sun.

The cinematography really helped this film, the 'bad guys' Gleeson and Guy de Lusignan were lazily written, over-the-top bad guys, Guys acting was over-the-top and not subtle enough. Ridley Scott can be funny sometimes, he can absolutely get it right, like Gladiators Commodus or have it too cheesey and Hollywoodish, it felt like a Bernard Cornwell book in places. The romance with Sybella was disrespectful to his late wife as well I felt, he barely showed any signs of respect or guilt about moving forward to easily, it seemed to completely contradict his character.

The battle scenes and some acting performances really beefed this up for me though. Thewlis is great, as well as Alexander Siddig and I was genuinely disappointed when Nessons character died at the point where you were really starting to like him, I felt the movie could have benefited from him being in it more, Blooms rush to manhood also ruined his character development, he's basically finished developing once he finds water for his land. Even the small cameo's like Lucius Vorenus from Rome and the German bloke who got shot with the arrow were interesting striking characters.

So I give the film a 6.5/10 and the DC which I watched last night as well coincidently beefs this up a little more to 7/10. But I am a sucker for historical epics, like Braveheart, Last of the Mohicans, Gladiator etc.

But this was definitely in the Troy category, a bit too cheesy and Hollywood, I haven't even bothered with that new one that came out recently with Christian Bale.

I am a Bernard Cornwell (historical entertaining wrtier) fan though and will watch the new TV series of his Saxon book series 'The Last Kindgom'. It sounds like you might enjoy his books as well, check him out if you haven't already and check out the new series, it's getting great reviews.

I think Scott could make a really good movie adaptation of his book about the English Longbowmen who fought in Azincourt as well, the battle the English over-came a huge French army of 30,000 with only 4000 Longbow men and 1000 men-at-arms led by King Henry V, Shakespeare actually wrote a play on it called 'Henry V'. It follows one of the Longbowmen Nick Hook who fought at Soissons and through to Agincourt. I would love to see a Scott adaptation of this, the book reads like a Scott movie.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

Harrington would have been an upgrade for sure. At least a more believable character. You are correct with Bernard Cornwell, he's great! Too bad "The Last Kingdom" is so miscast.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

I loved Bloom's preachy speeches.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

Remember that Bloom was trying to play the humble blacksmith. A well to do commoner in a medieval town, especially one with a castle and lord. He wasn't raised a noble, so his presence didn't carry the kind of gravitas one would normally associate with one of high birth.

It did bother me for the longest time, but if you look at it in that regard, then I think you'll be able to get some peace of mind.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

He wasn't raised a noble, so his presence didn't carry the kind of gravitas one would normally associate with one of high birth.

True. But in the Middle Ages a man who didn't exude the 'born-to-command' aura would find it very hard to get anyone to follow him, unless he exuded instead such an unmistakable personal force and charisma that people found themselves saying 'OK, he may not be noble, but even so this obviously is one heck of a man, we'll follow him into battle'. There are screen actors around who can convey this charisma, but Bloom is not one of them.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

Ah, someone tried to reply to me. Regrettably you are on my ignore list for some reason. I may have placed you there intentionally, or reported one of your posts in the past.

Either way I can't see what you wrote, and, based on what I know about people on my ignore list, you deserve to be there.

Thanks anyway.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

I don't think it was Bloom's performance alone; the Balian character was a ridiculously flat caricature. Bloom was given little to work with other than preachy statements guised under unflinching nobility. Who was this guy? What made him so special? He was a made-up character inserted into a "real" historical event and made instrumental to that history. Balian was the Forrest Gump of Jerusalem.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

There was a historical Balian of Ibelin. I believe he was in his 50's. They were a well to do family.

Re: 10 Years Later...KOH Revisited (A Review)

Re Orlando Bloom,

I think he was actually 3rd or 4th choice for the role of Ballian.

Although I probably like the film more than most (especially the DC) I do often wonder how much better it would have been with someone else in the lead role.

I seem to remember that Paul Bettany was Scott's original choice, not sure why he didn't take the part but he would have been way better than Bloom.