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War Kingdoms

War Kingdoms
War Kingdoms

“Kingdom of Heaven” Sought to Be an Epic Film, But Became a Disaster in Production

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

Kingdom of Heaven – 1 Star (Terrible)

Unfortunately for the “Kingdom of Heaven”, what started out as an ambitious epic film about a little known time in history, became an almost disaster at its release and was only average at best. There is enough blame to spread around.

First, there is a reason why the immortal “Gone with the Wind”, which involved a turbulent love affair in the American south during the Civil War and Reconstruction, took almost 4 hours to see. You apparently cannot make a quality, classic film about the Civil War in less time. Ken Burns’ acclaimed documentary film “The Civil War” consisted of 9 episodes and took 11 hours to view.

Second, there may be a market for a film in the Middle Ages about the Christian Crusades, a series of military expeditions by Europeans to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 11th, 12th and 13th Centuries. That market, regrettably, is very small compared to an epic about the Civil War, World War I or World War II.

Third, when 3-time, Best Director Oscar-nominee Ridley Scott (“Black Hawk Down”, “Gladiator” and “Thelma and Louise”) presented the film to the studio at 194 minutes (3 hours and 14 minutes), the studio execs demanded that it be cut to two hours, believing that moviegoers would not sit through a 3-hour film.

This proved to be a critical mistake in judgment. It was nearly impossible for Scott to tell the Kingdom of Heaven story in 2 hours, and when the movie received really mixed reviews and proved to be a financial disappointment in the United States, the error was clearly noticeable.

Fourth, not only was this film to be an epic story, its production cost was enormous. Most of the filming was in Morocco, and Mohammad VI, King of Morocco, provided 1,500 of his military personnel with accompanying equipment to help in the filming.

In addition, there were apparently 15,000 handmade costumes for the film that also required helmets, boots, gloves, chainmail, belts and scabbards. The flag budget for the film was $250,000. There were 7,500 weapons, 3,000 shields and 20,000 arrows used in the film. In one scene alone, there were 143 extras, 60 military personnel, 125 horses and 60 camels.

A massive replica of Jerusalem was constructed in the Sahara Desert, containing 28,000 square meters of wall that required 6,000 tons of plaster. The front set was 1,200 feet long and the walls were 56 feet tall. Good grief.

Fifth, writer William Monahan’s first draft of the script was 186 pages. Executive producer Lisa Ellzey thought Fox would never approve the script because of its length, so she cut it to only 20 pages before submitting it.

Sixth, Orlando Bloom was not ready to play the leading role as Balian of Ibelin, and his performance did not reflect the kind of command and presence necessary to pull it off.

Seventh, I had great difficulty as a moviegoer following the story as its presentation required much more help in context, or from a narrator, to understand what was happening when and why it was important.

Eighth, the sound in the film was terrible. There were times when it was impossible to understand the dialog and, without this essential element, there is no way the film would be rated good by my standards. Sound is too basic of a need to succeed and, when it goes unnoticed because it is well done, it is not an issue.

Ninth, this whole project was sad from start to finish. What could have become a good film could not overcome the obstacles along the way. Two bright spots in the film were the performances of Liam Neeson as Godfrey de Ibelin and Ghassan Massoud as Saladin, the great Muslim leader.

In his quest to be noble, Liam Neeson was able to deliver this dialog as Godfrey de Ibelin: “Be without fear in the face of our enemies. Be brave and upright that God may love thee. Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death. Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath.” (Spoken to his son, Balian, when making him a knight.)

History records that Saladin and his Muslim troops did recapture Jerusalem after defeating the King of Jerusalem at the Battle of Hattin near the Lake of Galilee. When Saladin’s soldiers enter the City of Jerusalem, they were not allowed to kill civilians, rob people, or damage the city.

In many ways, the Muslims come out looking better than the Christians in Kingdom of Heaven, and historically, they were.

About the Author

Read my movie reviews on “A Christmas Story” – “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” – “Secondhand Lions” – “The Chorus (Les Choristes in French)” – “Waking Ned Devine” and “Chariots of Fire”.
Also find FREE articles and advice on resumes, cover letters, job interviews, negotiating pay, education, careers, handling objections, and how to find the high-paying jobs regardless of your educational level.
http://www.edbagleyblog.com

Is Medieval 2 Total War Kingdoms fun?

should i get that or Empire total war or try both?

Kingdoms is an expansion pack for Medieval 2 Total War so you have to get the core game first. I don’t have the Kingdoms expansion yet, but Medieval 2 is a really fun game
Empire Total War hasn’t come out yet, but according to IGN, it will come out in November 2008. I can’t tell you how good it will be yet but it looks really cool so far. You can get more info on that one here http://pc.ign.com/objects/958/958390.html

fyi if Empire Total War looks appealing you but you can’t decide to get it, try Rome Total War. It’s not quite as good as Medieval 2, but it only costs $20 including the expansion instead of $40 for the core game and it will show you how the series works

Medieval 2 Kingdoms Teutonic Music – War of Kings


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