Ridley Scott’s a director who has constantly dipped his toes into every single kind of film. He’s a director that has such incredible range, that he can simply go from making a film that is set in a futuristic depiction of Los Angeles, then head straight back to 44 BC to showcase a Roman General’s downfall and rise as a Gladiator.
This man’s range knows no bounds, and he’s constantly challenging himself to create art that he can be proud of. Though, with that being said, there are times when he’s taken missteps. Ridley Scott’s formula might be potent, but it’s not foolproof, and the Kingdom of Heaven is an example of that.
How to Stream or Download Kingdom of Heaven
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The Movie Review
This historical fiction drama is based on a very peculiar set of events, during the crusades of the 12th century after the Christian crusading inquisitors took over Jerusalem by force. Following the legend of Balian of Ibelin, the story showcases how a French farmer went to the Kingdom of Jerusalem to help fend off the Muslim leader Sultan Saladin Ayyubi who wishes to take Jerusalem back from the Christians. The story took a lot of creative liberties, and that’s where a huge amount of the issues arose.
It is hard to point out the specific problems of this movie because it is breathtaking to look at. Visually speaking, this film is as beautiful and as extravagant as you would want an epic period film to be. It’s a film that makes its subject matter quite seriously and showcases a story that proves to be quite misleading about the actual events. That wouldn’t be a problem though, but the story they’ve created here is honestly quite bland.
Ridley Scott’s direction would have saved this film from a lot of the clutter in this bland and overly produced script, but the film is just so long that it isn’t possible. The theatrical release was 144 minutes, which seems more acceptable yet it feels incomplete. Whereas the director’s cut is a whopping 199 minutes, which is impossible to watch due to a large number of filler sequences and overly long moments.
The film simply doesn’t know where to stop, as the length of this movie is hard to bear. The one aspect of this film that does help with making its story livelier is the acting. The actors here are genuinely fantastic at their jobs, and they do deliver some absolutely lovable performances.
The characters are underdeveloped and honestly quite bland but that doesn’t hinder Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neeson, Edward Norton, and Ghassan Massoud from delivering absolutely godly performances.
Visually speaking, this film is as striking as you can think it would be. It’s a Ridley Scott feature, so that means it will remain good-looking despite the film’s story and direction not being up to par. This film has fantastic color grading, Lord of the Rings’ level of cinematography, and action choreography, along with some of the best framing that you will find in a period epic. Not to mention, the production design here is breathtaking which just elevates the film even more.
The music is done by Hans Zimmer, so there’s nothing more to say about the quality. If you have Hans Zimmer involved in your film’s soundtrack, then you know you’re already in good hands. There is just no one better than this man, and he makes a soundtrack worthy of acknowledgment here. This music makes the battles feel even more grandiose than they seem, and the stakes feel that much higher.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Kingdom of Heaven is a misfire on only two fronts, its story, and its characters. These two aspects deter it from being an actually great film, and it’s genuinely impossible to immerse yourself into this world due to how horribly paced this film is and how generic the characters feel. When it comes to the retelling of the actual history, this film just doesn’t hit any of the marks.
- Great cinematography and color grading.
- Fantastic war sequences, life-like battles that feel immersive.
- An amazing soundtrack by one of the industry’s finest.
- Fantastic acting by a star-studded cast.
- Bland story; a poor retelling of history.
- Horribly paced, overly long, and has way too many worthless moments.
- Boring characters, underdeveloped and underutilized.