Among the things in KINGDOM OF HEAVEN that annoyed this reviewer the most was all the motivational crapola about going to Jerusalem to find some great new land where "At the end of the World, you are not what you were born." Hogwash - it borders on simplistic to mention that everyone knew a Crusade was a harsh, dusty hardship tour- where a large percent of those setting out on the journey would die. The reason people went on Crusades was either out of religious zeal, feudal/Papal obligation, and/or opportunism - full stop.
While the earlier fighting scenes had the ring of authenticity, the final siege on Jerusalem was sheer cinematic mockery of historical fact and logistical possibility. Firstly, the walls of Jerusalem were gigantic; not less 80 feet high: Ridley Scott's Jerusalem looking ever so much like a leftover set from the Lord Of The Rings or an old Star Wars film - it's outer wall larger by an order of magnitude than any castle wall in Europe. Then Ridley expects us to believe his Arab hoards brought phalanxes of giant catapaults "across the River" from Damascus, and then hundreds of miles through the desert - said catapults capable of hurling huge fiery explosive charges over the walls of Jerusalem from a more than half a kilometer out. (Fiery explosive charges? Oh, come ON, Ridley...) We then see the Arab hoards also rolling up a dozen multi-storey siege towers that they also somehow brought through the desert sands which, again, somehow, were exactly the same height as the walls of Jerusalem ! It was such a preposterous anachronism, both technically and historically, that the audience began anticipating the Arabs were going whip out Zippos, flick them open, and light up their Marlboros.
The film's persistent moralizing (Be a good person, and you will be a good person) had me looking around in my seat to see if I had mistakenly walked into a bible study group. Also stretching the cringe-factor limit were the frequent "gallantry exchanges" between Balian (Orlando Bloom) and various Arab captains - said chats radiating appreciation of the other's heroic qualities and nobleness - once was stretching it, more than that we enter vomitville.
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