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HalfDrunkPoet

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  1. I've seen it twice now, once with the East Midland ka-Bloomies and once with 4 mates from university. I'll be going again either today or tomorrow with a close friend. So that makes it 3 viewings for me, equal to the times I saw POTC and ROTK in the cinema (I'm a student so I can't go live at the cinema, which is really what I want to do :paperbag:).

    I love KOH and the more I see it, the more I pick up from it in terms of actions, lines, expressions and events. The latest thought that came to me was that it shows an interesting balancing act between individualism and determinism, how far an individual has control and how far structuralist theory may be applied to what happens to an individual. This is not only for Balian but other characters as well, like Sybilla and Saladdin and Tiberias.

    This is one of the reasons I love this film. It makes me think and about/on different levels. It's a trademark, I feel, of Sir Ridley's films and the cast he hires that bring this across.

  2. I have to say that I have mixed feelings about different comments about the editing of the film. Some people have said Sir Ridley should not have done such heavy editing and that people would have been willing to sit through a longer film; but I have spoken to 10 people so far who said the film was too long even as it is now. So I don't know if Sir Ridley would have been able to.

    I don't know if comparisons to LOTR trilogy are very fair in this respect. One major difference between the two projects is LOTR has a cult classic following so the films were guaranteed an audience. Another is that LOTR is based on books and Peter Jackson could not have been serious about making that film project by cutting out half of the storylines in each of the books. FOTR is about 2 hours 85 minutes long. It was a smashing success and so the audiences in massive numbers for the next film were guaranteed, and when ROTK came along, well, you knew everyone would go see it so Peter Jackson had a freer hand in editing, I think, at least after FOTR.

    The subject matter of KOH is different, there is no guaranteed audience and it is a summer film release. People want to go in and wach a film and then come out and enjoy the sunshine and have an ice cream.

    I would have loved a longer theatrical version - heck, the full version - simply because I am a Sir Ridley fan, an Orlando Bloom fan, an Eva Green fan and a fan of the other cast members such as David Thewlis. I would have loved a longer version simply because I am a history buff, and because I love epics, worlds from the past I can immerse myself in.

    But I understand why Sir Ridley edited heavily and I don't think he had quite as much choice in the matter as perhaps one would think.

    And now I'd just like to say that please don't take offense at anything I've said, it is not intended that way. It's maybe just the Sir Ridley fan in me :paperbag: .

  3. Tina, you're the Balinese Goddess of Plenty, to quote Blackadder :notworthy: . Thank you so very much for these gems!

    Orlando looks tired, yes, because of jetlag and all the activity he has been doing promoting KOH. But he still looks beautiful and healthy. His hair especially looks absolutely faaah-bulous, dahlink :smoke:. I love his scarf, it's just the right, chic touch to an otherwise plain outfit.

    I adore Eva Green. It is so pleasing and refreshing to see someone so uninhibited, open and playful. She is so sweet and genuine, and it seems that she has a vivacious sense of humour. I think Orlando looks amused and affectionate with her, and comfortable because they did work together -and on intimate scenes/character relationship - for many months so maybe the covering-of-the-face is in inside joke (I'm reminded of the scarves Sybilla wears and then of the actors speaking of the sandstorms they had to work through!). I love that she is not afraid to show her bubbly, happy side. It is entirely possible that she is a bit tipsy and heady from the excitement/tired from the promotion rounds but this only makes her more endearing, to me anyway :wub: .

    I love her outfit and make-up as well, it is unusual and striking and Eva carries it off with panache. I don't know many people who could carry off that shade of red lipstick but Eva has the air of a free spirit, which enables her to do so.

  4. I have just returned from my first KOH viewing with Joseb, JuliaA and little_green, and may I just say first that I loved meeting you all, it was brilliant to sit around chat about The Pretty with people who understand :lol: !

    Right, now for the review. I'm doing it points because I think and write better that way, but if some of my thoughts and comments overlap, please forgive me.

    1. Overall comment: I loved 'Kingdom of Heaven'. It is a beautifully made, excellently acted, and superbly directed film with a soundtrack which alone moved me to tears. The clips, the trailers, the interviews - nothing prepared me for the film itself and it was a pleasure to be surprised in this manner. It is thought-provoking, layered, nuanced, paced, and rich in characters as characters but also as themes and illustrations.

    2. Orlando as Balian and my interpretation of Balian as a character: I think this is Orlando's finest performance to date; better than the one he gave as my favourite role of his before seeing KOH, which was Paris in 'Troy'. Orlando's acting was subtle, humble, intense, intelligent, and in-depth.

    He brought across Balian's deep depression at the beginning of the film with his lost, hard yet soft and tired eyes and his near-total silence that spoke volumes because that is what a depression is like: there is mostly and sometimes only silence because there is nothing one feels and thinks. I knew and felt that Balian was a broken man with nothing left who had to deal with a crisis of faith due to what happened. The first act, as it were, of the film is beautiful and moving because Balian in his depression is moved by events rather than having any control of them. This is truthful, I thought, because when one is in depression, the feeling is of things happening and one being carried along with them simply because one does not have energy or capability to think and feel and try.

    Orlando as Balian the reluctant hero was superb. Balian was a human being first and hero second. His humility and insecurity at what his actions could and would accomplish came through; his uncertainty of the meaning and reasons behind different situations, but the faith (rather than a particular religious belief) in actions counting in the end and lives mattering more than words and religions and stones, came through; his compassion and courage came through, but not the courage that springs from pride or experience but courage that springs from determination to do what is right, to do what can be done to save lives if and when the responsibility falls on his shoulders, though he takes no personal pride in it; his vulnerability and imperfections came through at various points and this made Balian all the more human, all the more a reluctant hero, all the more a man who wants nothing more than to think his life events through and live simply on his land but who will not shirk as the meaning of what could be a good human being. Does this make Balian the perfect human? I don't think so because he did not have a victory in the traditional sense and he was insecure and hesitant, he did not command or envision as a natural/traditional hero/leader. What came through for me if one is discussing a perfect person, is the idealist's theme that perhaps the perfection lies in the journey to it, what we do to try to be and Balian tried and that is why he may seem perfect. But he was not perfect to me and I loved that.

    As far as the question of religion and Balian goes, I think Balian was looking for redemption on its own, a a concept and as an emotion. I loved that at the end, and throughout, his was an agnostic belief but a deep faith, and that he found a cleansing of the soul and redemption though humanity rather than a particular religion/religious message.

    Orlando made me very proud and moved me to tears.

    2. The affair with Sybilla versus the Knight's code: Yes, the knight's code is one of honour and chivalry and honesty. But Balian is not the perfect knight and he is not the perfect man. He has been a broken man, and when the affair begins, he is finding life and purpose so I don't think it takes a great stretch of imagination to see why he gives in to temptation, to companionship, to close embraces and warmth. Perhaps it would have been more interesting and intense if Balian and Sybilla had not made love but one, I can't think of many films in which honour has kept men from having affairs; two, because the love story was edited anyway, there had to be some way of showing the strength of the attraction and love between the two and maybe it would not be objected to had there been more time given to the background and build-up of it? I'm not condoning adultery but because of the above mentioned factors that came to my mind, it was not quite as much of an objection to me. It probably would have been if Sybilla had been shown as the needy one in that relationship but to me, Balian needed and wanted her just as much as she did him and it wa she who approached him, having the courage to take the step so both of them could have at least some time of happiness and warmth.

    3. The pace: It may be editing to please the studios and of course, I want to see more of all the characters; particularly Sybilla because Eva Green is an intriguing actress and the character of Sybilla is intriguing and layered in the intensity of emotions she feels and the positions she is in throughout the film.

    But getting back to the pacing, I have to say that editing was not the explanation that came to me in an emotional way initially was that in a way, the pace paralleled what was happening to Balian as a character: first in his depression of having events happen to him rather than involving his activity in them and then the way Balian my have felt his life as the simple Baron of Ibelin was suddenly wrested from him by the actions of the others and he had to then take charge as the pieces fell, so to speak.

    Maybe this is just the Sir Ridley fan in me :paperbag: . Of course I want the extended DVD and I also wish the film had been left to go on longer but that is more of a desire to see more and less of a complaint.

    4. NOTE:- Connected to point one as it is about Balian: Balian becoming a strategist and tactician from a simple blacksmith, which is what a few critics' found annoying and unrealistic. Well, after the Midland ka-Bloomies' viewing, I think it was Joseb who pointed it out quite rightly that the equipment was already there and Balian just used his intelligence, as one who had to defend a city. There was nothing sudden or extraordinary about it. Balian simply used he resources available to him to defend the city as best as he could think of and those tactics worked. Desperation due to impending siege by a 200,000-strong army is the mother of invention :wink:.

    5. Political correctness: I don't think Sir Ridley Scott was too obviously or patronisingly political correct. I personally found it refreshing and pleasing that the focus was not on religious meaning behind this or that action but how religion was used to cloak greed for power and glory and superiority complexes. Balian's speech to rally the people of Jerusalem rang poignantly true and compassionate. If that is too much of a 21-st century spin on character and events, as some negative reviews have said, well, all I'll say is that the 21st century hasn't seen much of the understanding, adopting and practice of those values so I do not see any spin. The knight's code was to protect and serve the people and defend those who could not defend themselves, to be fair and just and that is what Balian was doing. I think I have said it before, but I wonder what those critics would have said if either Christians or Muslims were demonised. I should have thought that this sort of handling of the Crusades as a backdrop would be more acceptable and pleasing intellectually and ethically. To me, the film's themes in this context were power, greed and lust for personal glory and the use of an ideological tool to gain it, which in this case was religion.

    NOTE: I will say that I found it refreshingly different from traditional Hollywood fare that the Muslims were shown in a respected and favourable light. Saladdin's integrity and chivalry is a historically acknowledged fact and the scene between him and Balian near the end was a gloriously moving one because both characters were respectful, intelligent and compassionate.

    6. Point five brings me to performances other than Orlando. I think all of them were excellent.

    I can't wait to see more of Eva Green's Sybilla because she was an layered character: vulnerable, strong in willingness to take responsibility, intense, pained, guilty and innocent.

    Jeremy Irons was great as the honourable, diplomatic and pragmatic but weary soldier and adviser. Tiberias was loyal, experienced and intelligent and he saw through the grand words of religion and cause. He tried his best to avoid war with Saladdin but it happened and he lost hope. His age and experience gave him wisdom but also despair, and he did not see how Jerusalem could be saved. I did not think Tiberais a coward but a man who had been through too much, who had had to eal with the harshness of diplomatic realities both internally and externally as adviser to a dying king who was losing authority and so Tiberias had to shoulder a lot of responsibility, not only for decisions taken by for taking those decisions. And in the end, he could do it no more. I felt for him very deeply.

    Ghassan Massoud as Saladdin was superb. He brought dignity, strength, wisdom, compassion, courage, pain, diplomacy, forgiveness and understanding to the role, and I cried for and with him. He was a brilliant and persistent military commander; a wise, merciful and honourable leader; a mourning brother; and a careful king. Ghassan Massoud has a lot of screen presence and said every word with authority and conviction.

    Alexander Siddiq was equally brilliant. He performed the irony, compassion and honour and openness of his character beautifully. I would love to see, if in the extended DVD edition, there is more interaction between him and Balian. Somehow, those two struck me alike in many ways. Saladdin had a natural ability to lead and command; Imad was more in the background and he was quiet and thoughtful. He understood the politics but advised mercy as far as he could. He did not take revenge and accorded Balian with respect for an honourable memory.

    Brendan Gleeson and Marton Csokas were not multi-dimensional but perhaps this was an illustration of the themes of greed, hunger for power and personal glory? If it wasn't and it is just me being too much of a Sir Ridley fan/literature student picking up themes right, left and centre, then forgive me. I would have liked to see more of what could be motviating these two villains, but power and greed are powerful enough in their own right, especially as both men were rich lords anyway, in the circle of power, especially Guy as brother-in-law to the dying king.

    I found Guy's interactions with Godfrey and Balian interesting because his jealousy came through well in that, and it explained to me his behaviour to Balian at first sight. Guy was the traditional aristocrat with a superiority complex, plus the fact that Godfrey was respected and loved by so many, and that favour was transferred to Balian as his son, made Guy envious and angry.

    Liam Neeson was in the film for too short a time, as was David Thewlis! Both gave top performances. Liam Neeson gave Godfrey emotionality, nobility, a vision, authority, and conveyed the love he felt for his son, and the forgiveness he sought from Balian due to the past. Balian and Godfrey were totally believable as father and son and there was chemistry between. Liam Neeson had limited time but it was established beautifully that Godfrey became a rock of encouragement and belonging to Balian. With each scene the two had together, the exchanges between them and the emotions conveyed this and I was convinced.

    The Hospitalier was a joy. David Thewlis not only has a wonderful voice but you believe in him and his words because he gives such a trust-filled performance. You trust him as a character and as a voice, of conscience, idealism, reality, nobility and wisdom. He was philosophical, fatalistic, courageous and hopeful all as a character and as an illustration of those complex themes in a human being, in humanity, in emotion and in thought.

    Edward Norton was excellently effective as a saintly king but I can believe the saintliness because he is a leper and is dying. Mortality, and pain of death and disfigurement is a believable cause of saintliness. The contraditions of this character due to his illness and impending death and weakness were portrayed beautifully by Edward Norton: his focus on the after life and the soul yet world-weariness coupled with a sense of justice due in part to the meaning given to his disease and in part to his genuine fairness and nobility as a good king.

    7. The music. I HAVE to mention the music because it was a vivid, living force in the film. It was exquisite, subtle, powerful, haunting, silent and prominent at different moments timed perfectly, sorrowful, sweet and gentle and harsh. This is one soundtrack I am definitely buying!

    8. The battle scenes: Magnificent. I can't imagine what some critics were complaining about. It is Sir Ridley Scott at the top of his game and the battles were graphic and frantic. I am not one to usually squirm at battle scenes but I did squirm, which means to me anyway, that the battles were real, bloody, dusty, and powerful and memorable. I don't understand the charge of unoriginality, of a LOTR complex. What did the critics want to see? How many ways are there to conduct a siege in the 12th century? Catapults, fire and ropes and ladders have been used in siege sequences before and they will be used again.

    9. Gorgeous, gorgeous cinematography. Every frame is rich in colours, shapes, angles and profiles.

    I'm stopping now, I promise!

  5. The movie leans toward the cerebral — an uh-oh right there

    Last time I checked, a film that was thought-provoking and layered with multi-dimensional characters with pasts and weaknesses, and a grey-area-ed portrayal of reality rather than simplistic good guys vs. bad guys, was a good thing.

    I find it quite annoying that it is people like this critic who complain of the dumbing down of film fare offered by Hollywood and then when a film such as KOH is released, they turn off their brains when watching it, and think it makes them look 'intellectual' by bashing it.

    Well said, LenaLove!

  6. :paperbag: Yikes! Kathryn, I'm so, so, sorry for sounding like a picky know-it-all! I was just doing that for fun, I didn't know you had typed it rather than it being the reviewer's mistakes themselves. I'm so sorry, please don't be annoyed. I only meant it as a joke aimed at the reviewer.

    *slinks away*

  7. :lol: I can't believe you're complaining about 'vaster' - surely 'brutiful' *winces* is a far greater offense against the english language?

    Kathryn.

    Let's not forget the following:

    suc as Troy and Alexander
    - there is a period missing there as well.

    bklacksmith can make the swift transitin

    millennium

    Side note: This is fun isn't it :lmao: !

    more thant wo hours

    Beatiful

    I can't pick out any more, it hurtsss usss, preciousss!

  8. Is vaster a word :huh: ?

    :lol: Sorry. I'm a nitpicker, what can I say. Yes, the puns are bad but the review overall is good and for that, I am pleased. The comparisons to 'Gladiator' and Russell Crowe's Maximus have not been as frequent and annoying as I feared they could have been and that is also pleasing. I suppose I can live with the ones that are being made though it has become as oft a repeated refrain in my mind as Orlando saying "Balian is a relcutant hero" that there could not be two more different stories and characters :rolleyes: . But never mind.

    Thank you, Kathryn!

  9. I agree that the film is Balian's story and not a comment or telling/re-telling of the Crusades. I don't think Sir Ridley is naive enough to attempt that, not in today's world anyway.

    Yes, I think he had to be careful about the backdrop not only because it is a sensitive subject since many episodes in history may be said to be concurrent in any present time, and therefore it is bound to be scrutinised.

    However, I do not know if it there was no need for him to be that obvious, as you say; obviously, a major reason for my not knowing is that I haven't seen the film and you have, but I also am not sure because I wonder about what would have happened if he had not been this obvious. Maybe one of the reasons he was so careful was because the Crusades are a backdrop? The main character finds himself, as it were, during an episode in the Crusades so in the formation of his views against such a context prompted Sir Ridley to be so careful?

    Also, I don't know if I can put this logically and clearly into coherent words :paperbag: so please forgive me in advance: perhaps it was necessary/unavoidable to strive to be so objective because a lot of history is coloured by the views of the people in their time and context and world perspectives who are examining it, so Sir Ridley's 21st century outlook prompted him to do so? Much of history may be said to be interpretation and subjective so when one is presenting it in a film especially a historical event as the Crusades, then one must be doubly careful because there is little certainty in precise determination of what happened how and why and by whom and so on.

    Of course, this is all discussion on only the backdrop of the film, which focuses on Balian and I hope people whatever their political/religious affiliations remember that :shiny: . I'm very happy to hear that it is a great film, and I can't wait to see it!

  10. Thank you very much, Cazrider :2thumbs: .

    I will be going to see KOH later this week (with little_green in Notthingham hopefully!) and I have to say that I am looking forward to/hoping for the political correctness to being obvious. What I mean by this is that as it is Sir Ridley, I would not expect anything less than an interesting and multi-dimensional portrayal of characters. But also that, if one does get involved in the religious/political backdrop of the film, then to have a 'politically correct' version presented pointedly because apart from showing a conscious effort to be fair, it is also maybe says that conflicts often have two sides and deeper and wider causes and consequences than one may suppose at first and even second glance.

    I'll stop rambling now :paperbag: .

  11. Thank you so much for braving TeenHollywood for us, Jan :hug:. A feat of courage and endurance indeed!

    It's a pleasure to read interviews with Orlando in which interesting and genuine questions are asked so that he is able to give detailed and intelligent answers. His enthusiasm seems boundless and he is so well-spoken - even if I can now predict pretty much word-for-word what he will say in connection with the character of Balian :lol::wub: . It is very sweet and articulate nonetheless!

  12. Thank you very much, Jan!

    Besides his integrity and graciousness, one of the things I admire about Orlando is his down-to-earth maturity: he is wise and intelligent to see the culture of the 'pin-up', the 'heartthrob' that is created by the industry, and he is wary and careful of it. At the same time, he is genuinely caring and respectful of his fans, and is so courteous about them and with them. Obviously we do not know him, but from what we see and hear, he conducts himself like a gentleman :wub: .

  13. the lack of a simple 'good vs bad' theme

    I should have thought that this would be one of the strengths of the film :huh: ? Not only in the context of the subject matter but also in terms of multi-dimensionality of characters.

    Well, that's my view anyway, so another point on which I disagree with Empire's review. To me, it is part of the appeal of a Sir Ridley Scott film that he does not give in to simplistic good vs bad themes.

    I agree, kathryn: methinks we'll all have differing opinions to Empire!

  14. :huh: Is it just me being a biased fan or is there an air of meanness that comes through in Empire Online's review? Maybe they do not want to make the mistake that was made with 'Alexander', 'Troy' and 'King Arthur' when they gushed over these and neither lived up to expectations and hype?

    Then again, as LenaLove has pointed out, Ian Nathan is a picky perfectionist and that is what is coming through in this review.

    I'll refrain from any more comments since I haven't seen KOH. But it just seems to me that Empire's review is being coloured by their particular backdrop of experience with recent epics.

  15. :cry: I am definitely buying this soundtrack. I have only heard the clips but I am enchanted. I think it will be another element, which will make this film special. The clips I have heard are powerful, moving, intricate, layered, soulful and exciting in turns; even though they are only snippets, I can feel different emotions that they bring across.

    My favourites of these clips are: Crusaders, Swordplay, Ibelin, The King, The Battle of Kerak, Wall Breached, and Pilgrim Road.

    Thank you very much for the link, MovieImp!

  16. Look on the bottom banner bar.the words "the broadband experience" appear on that bar.it's below Brian's and Liam's little pictures.

    ETA: and it's Brendan Gleeson, not Brian Gleason. My apologies, Mr. Gleeson for totally trashing your good name. :(

    :w00t: I found it! Thank you Rebecca.

    I found it on the site when I chose 'English' as the language, not when I chose 'English outside North American' :blink: .

  17. :yahoo: Goodie goodie gumdrops! That is a great article, thank you Lianna for posting it.

    1. It is very pleasing to read such high praise for Orlando by a male writer. It is doubly so when the praise is of Orlando's acting abilities and not his looks, and to see him described finally, as talented leading man material rather than the hot young thing or pretty boy movie star.

    2. I am very happy about the opinions from the people who have seen KOH that both sides of this conflict have been treated with respect and fairness. From a purely story-telling point of view, it is, I think, one of Sir Ridley's strengths as a director and part of his appeal as a storyteller, that there are no simplistic lines drawn about and between characters.

    3. It is touching and fills me with pride that Sir Ridley had supreme confidence in Orlando, even at times when Orlando appeared not to have that confidence in himself. Sir Ridley may be grumpy but he's an actor's director, he knows what he has done, he knows what he is doing and he knows how to do it.

    4. To Lianna about 'Troy': I agree with you 100%, it always makes me angry at these sort of remarks about Orlando's performance as Paris. It makes one want to climb to a rooftop with a megaphone and yell out the explanation of the mythical character of Paris and how Orlando nailed it, and to tell people to use their brains to separate actor from character.

  18. :cry: I thought I could go to the premiere but I can't.

    I have a course presentation on Tuesday and I can't afford to miss out an entire day of preparation since it accounts for 60% of the module mark. It was supposed to be for Friday but my profesor rescheduled it because she has a conference to attend on Thursday and Friday.

    I'm going to sit in the corner and weep quietly now.

  19. :unsure: Could someone please tell me the approximate timings, if known? I've never been to a premiere before (I've never been in a country in which a premiere is happening). So, if I am able to come, would anyone know the approximate times I should book a train to come to London and then leave?

    Thank you!

  20. Is anyone else having trouble saving the desktops and the icons? I can't right click save, and when I click on it, I just hear a click. It doesn't take me to another screen or anything. :blink:

    That has happened with me a few times but I either refreshed or opened the site anew, and it seemed to be working then. I am still having a problem with saving the icons. :huh: I haven't a clue about what it could be.

    I am loving the musical pieces :wub: , and the addition of the actors' biographies and character descriptions. And that first Balian wallpaper is a beauty, with the emphasis on those glorious eyes!

    I love the wallpaper of Sybilla as well. She is incredibly beautiful and intriguing as a character.

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