I’ve enjoyed some of Ridley Scott’s movies, but Kingdom of Heaven was a piece! I can’t even justify it as a puny piece of crap. It was more like a rancid lingering fart. The actors were good… in other movies, which makes me think that their mediocre performances were Scott’s fault. There was no passion or humanity played in any of it. The editing was horrendous, probably due to trying to chop the movie down to size; but it was done at the expense of flow. The cinematography was completely uninspiring. And though the music often fit the genre, and in some other movie with better visual storytelling may have evoked the right kind of emotion, the end result was an utterly cliche soundtrack. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was the same music as in the Age of Empires video game I was playing the night before. But what’s the worst thing about this movie? The writing was excruciating. It was cliche, predictable and offensive. It was offensive because of the deplorably blasphemous philosophy and political commentary that was being passed off as a story.
The underlying message of the movie was that all faiths are created equal. Muslims and Christians are basically the same. They both hold sincere beliefs. They should be given the freedom to worship as they like and should affirm each others’ faith. In fact, they shouldn’t even bother with religion. Religious people get too worked up over what they believe. Don’t listen to what anybody tells you is right or wrong. You decide that for yourself. Ultimately, all God wants is for you to live a good life, at least more good than bad. Just be good to other people (the needy, your family) and you’ll win God’s favor. Don’t get caught up in trying to find “God’s will.”
What the movie fails to point out in depicting Christians as scoundrels is that the villianous “christian” crusaders were actually perverting the faith they claimed. Of course, I did not expect any different in the treatment of this issue. But I would have appreciated the respect of not sidestepping the complexity of the history and trivializing the motivations behind the crusader-jihadi conflicts.
Obviously, the crusades are a point of major objection for those who do not want to follow Christ. People point to the atrocities performed in the name of Christendom. And while this movie could have shed light and brought some balance to the issue, it actually tipped the scales by presenting the Muslims as wise, honorable men who only fought out of provocation.
This movie is a great example of what a subject of such great historical significance and human complexity looks like when it’s reduced to shallow religious pluralism dressed in crude imitation art.