Thursday, December 01, 2005

Brain Candy from Netflix

Like most Ridley Scott pictures, Kingdom of Heaven serves up a sumptuous buffet of gorgeous visuals and stirring imagery. Like some Ridley Scott pictures, it's also painfully adolescent, riddled (ridley-ed?) with overly convenient cinematic clich├ęs. Everything happens at just the right moment, and every person encountered is (not-so-) surprisingly encountered later at just the right moment, and every peasant blacksmith given a 10-minute fighting lesson at just the right moment is able to slaughter 5 of the Bishop's best men and any fully armed veteran Saracen immediately...You get the point. Turn off your brain during this film, because that pruned organ stewing in its intellectual pretentions will only get in the way.

It's still worth seeing, and was precisely the sort of mind-candy I needed to kick Bergman and Kurosawa and Fellini for a bit. Plus, Kingdom of Heaven features actors I adore (Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons), which is a plus, though the star (Orlando Bloom), while convincing as an Elf, fails to register as a valiant Crusader knight who can kick anyone's ass. He's too puny, too obviously puffing out his chest, too obviously trying to deepen his voice.

Watch it for the fight scenes, and try to ignore the pithy dialogue, where everybody happens to utter the exact pseudo-profundity needed at just the right moment.

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