I sometimes marvel at how generous of spirit I can be. It's a marvel, because it leads me to do stupid things, like give Ridley Scott another chance to convince me that he can make an historical drama.
I watched Kingdom of Heaven over the weekend. I couldn't finish it. The scenes establishing Orlando Bloom's awesomeness (usually accompanied shots of Eva Green leering at him like an overfed cat) were bad enough. But why, oh why, did the director see fit to mangle the history to no good dramatic effect?
For example, Eva Green's character, Sibylla, was in real life a much more interesting character than the nymphomaniacal sidekick depicted in Kingdom of Heaven. And Bloom's character, Balian of Ibelin, was no medieval Horatio Alger. Had he been depicted as who he really was, the acknowledged son of an Outremer noble, his leading role in the events of Kingdom of Heaven would have made much more sense.
Equally nonsensical was his purported ability to tell the new king of Jerusalem to get stuffed, he wasn't going to join him in the march against Saladin that turned into the hattin disaster. On what grounds, then, was a disloyal subject given the authority to run Jerusalem's defenses? Again, the reality was far more interesting: Balian, who was captured along with other knights at Hattin, swore he would not take up arms against Saladin if he and his family (not depicted in the film) were released. After the citizens of Jerusalem begged him to stay and help defend the city, Balian broke his oath.
Of course, you'd have to give your audience credit for having some intelligence to understand this kind of drama. Instead, Scott gives us ridiculous villains like the fictionalized Guy de Lusignan, who provokes war with Saladin because....um....er....well...It's not altogether clear why, other than he's eeeeeeevil.
Ugh. Will no one ever make a decent movie about the Crusades?