Kingdom Of Heaven Reviews
Ridley Scott's plaintive epic about the Crusades is an ostensibly fair-minded, even-handed account of one of the least fair-minded, even-handed chapters in human history.
As Balian and his people withstand the might of Saladin's fiery projectiles, siege towers and the usual computer-generated swarm of soldiers, it's hard not to think we're really watching The Lord of the Rings IV: Legolas Defends Jerusalem.
The movie does what any self-respecting politician would do: sidestep the issues, soft-pedal mortal costs, talk a fat game, and divert your attention away from history with exercises in spectacle and power.
One imagined that a movie about the Crusades would be gallant and mad; one feared that it might stoke some antiquated prejudice. But who could have dreamed that it would produce this rambling, hollow show about a boy?
Dramatically, the problem is it's a lot easier to root for someone battling tigers and gladiators than it is to cheer on a guy wondering about the meaning of life. This is why Waiting for Godot has never been made into a summer movie blockbuster.
The biggest shortcoming of this crusader story is not that Scott twists the facts (he does), but that he can't elevate the story to something more than an alluring re-creation.