Kingdom of Heaven
What is the deal with Liam Neeson and typecasting? Maybe I'm the only one paying attention, but it seems that in every role he plays, he's the sage who teaches some young apprentice how to fight. First there was his role as Qui-Gon in "Star Wars Episode I: Jar Jar Disaster." Then there's this film, where he plays the father to Balian (Orlando Bloom). Godfrey, Liam's character, just shows up one day and teaches Balian how to fight and what to fight for. Then there's Liam's role in the upcoming "Batman Begins" where he appears to teach Bruce Wayne how to fight and what to fight for. Anyway, that's screwed up. Liam needs a new agent. However, whatever he does seems to work as Balian appears to learn absolutely everything about being a noble Lord after merely whacking one guy with a sword.
So, did I mention that Godfrey shows up and teaches his son, Balian, how to fight and what to fight for? Frankly, I don't know shit about the Crusades or this particular time in history, but according to this film, it was all about one white guy holding off a shitload of Arabs so he could get laid. Balian basically goes to Jerusalem and ends up defending the whole place, which allows him to screw King Baldwin the Leper's (Edward Norton) sister, Sibylla (Eva Green), who is not a leper. Actually, he proves to her that he's an extremely moral person and kind of converts her to being a moral person and then, presumably, he sleeps with her.
When Balian arrives in Jerusalem, he's mostly concerned with speaking to God or something because his wife committed suicide and he's concerned she'll be condemned to hell. What he finds in Jerusalem turns out to be surprising. The King is dying. The man likely to succeed him is a dick. The King's sister is married to another dick, Reynald (Brendan Gleeson), who likes to run around slaughtering Arabs. And if somebody doesn't do something and fast, Saladin (Ghassan Massoud) is going to attack.
Not being a big fan of religion, I don't advocate inserting such things where they don't belong, but for a movie that's about the Crusades and all, "Kingdom of Heaven" doesn't seem all that interested in elaborating on the religious differences and beliefs of the participants. I could be wrong here, not being a Crusades expert, but I think it might have played a role.
Eventually, Saladin attacks Jerusalem and I'm pretty sure that director Ridley Scott, instead of wasting the special effects, simply spliced the attack on Minas Tirith from "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" and saved himself a lot of money, which is kind of admirable in a way.
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