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Awake In The Dark
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Old April 20th, 2005, 10:58 AM   #46
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no brad pitt =).
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:09 AM   #47
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What about Heath Ledger? You can't have hollowwood, I mean hollywood swordplay in British form without Heath Ledger can you?

I guess I shouldn't be so sarcastic. At least they're not putting shoe polish on caucasian actors like they used to in epic pictures in the past, to make the 'middle eastern' look.

God I hope this isn't the vacant drivel it's starting to sound like from the trailers. It would be such bad timing for that.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:14 AM   #48
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I know I made fun of "A Knight's Tale" (which had Heath Ledger) before but actually I enjoyed it for what it was, and the contemporary music was an added dimension of funny. Ledger was pretty good in it and if you ask me he has more substance than Orlando Bloom.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:25 AM   #49
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Yeah, Orlando Bloom will forever be Legolas with different hair.

You can only keep switching sentence structure around to put the adjective first so many times before you get typecast into that cookie cutter 'period' dialogue.

i.e.
I have waited for this for a long time.
...becomes...
Long have I waited for this.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:35 AM   #50
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As a former owner/producer/performer of Medieaval Joust Troupe, I got asked a lot about Knights Tale... "How realistic was it?" I tell them the movie is a perfect example of what a modern day jouster goes through, but bears almost no relationship to the era it pretends to portray. The endless parties, the groupies, the injuries... the petty backstabbing.

Yeah, I remember those days.

In fact, that's why I decided to shoot my documentary "American Jouster" over the last year. Because people kept asking me "What was it like?" even after I retired ten years ago.

It's tough to watch some of these flicks. Of course, compromises always have to be made, and I was rather impressed with the horse work in ARTHUR, even if they did have stirrups.

Just registered the domain name, americanjouster.com. So look for a website and info soon.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 11:51 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Locke
Okay... I'll be the first to say it. I LIKE the music. So sue me. ;)
No problem, everyone his own opinion off course :-)
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Old April 20th, 2005, 01:13 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
As a former owner/producer/performer of Medieaval Joust Troupe...
Dude that's way cooler than any job I've ever had...

Lucky!
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Old April 20th, 2005, 02:35 PM   #53
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Yeah well... it was fun for a while.


But it hurts.


A lot.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 10:31 AM   #54
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This movie also has the beautiful French actress Eva Green. And anybody who saw Bertoluccis 'Dreamers' will know why she is worth watching. (Trying to keep it G rated folks). If you haven't seen it, rent it and get to the Venus de Milo scene. You will understand what I'm talking about.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 10:46 PM   #55
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i agree joe, her body is something to behold for sure =^). but i think we'll see MUCH less of that in KOH.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 12:46 PM   #56
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seen it

I saw it Saturday. Overall, an entertaining production but pretty shallow.

Good:
- Cinematography: it was very good and actually restrained. John Mathieson ("Gladiator") was the DP. The design of the shots was quite nice. The interior lighting beautiful. Many of the establishing shots are painterly. The combat scenes are shot pretty well, even restrained. Again they are going more for the 'confusion in battle' experience versus the Asian composition showing all of the moves.
- one of the shots shows the influence of "Hero". This is an establishing shot of Salah-al-din's army where it surrounds a spot where cavalry are racing around in a circle awaiting the crusader army, stirring up a storm of dust.
- CG: the integration is getting better and better. I don't like the overt composition of the armies against the whirling clouds or sun breaking. It is too noticeably composited. But without CG you won't get the spectacle of the dozens of trebuchets and other war machines pounding the walls of Jerusalem. It is a matter of taste but I much prefer the CG choices in this versus "The Return of the King". Different types of movies, I know.
- Editing: again Ridley Scott and his editor Dody Dom have overcome some bombast from previous productions and have shown a more restrained hand. I think the movie could have been longer because as far as the story goes, there seems to be a lot of missing scenes. See my notes on the story.
- Politics: It's been a long time since I've read a history of the crusades but the modern take on the politics in this movie at least are pretty balanced. Those afraid that this is a Bush-pleasing piece of propaganda can feel relieved. The main political stand is against extremists. Basically, 'trust in the good' no matter what the political or religious expedience. The character of Salah al-din is shown respectfully (though I don't remember the real histor about him) as a leader who is pushed to war by the machinations of the vain crusader rulers. I don't remember what exact events "Kingdom of Heaven" is attempting to portray or even, beyond Saladin and Richard the Lion-hearted, if any of the characters were real. In sum, the treatment of the period is fair but shallow.

Bad:
- Story: - The big criticism is... how the hell did Orlando Bloom's character become such a great knight? This is where I believe the editing left some character development on the floor. As it stands, "Kingdom of Heaven" assumes a lot of Hollywood shorthand. By this I mean we are skipping over some questions on how the protagonist got from zero to hero. Bloom's "Beylin" character seems to have had only a few minutes of sword training before he becomes the perfect knight from being a blacksmith that morning. The Hollywood shorthand usually is that we see the hero character go through a training phase. More realistically, making mistakes as well. However, we get none of this. Instead, he seems to be parachuted into the Holy Land already an accomplished warrior, diplomat, tactician and leader of men. Although the audience should expect this to happen, we don't see any journey at all for the hero. He arrives as perfectly as he began except properly clothed. We never see him train after that first scene, never see him pick up a book or even talk to his subordinates about what to do. I guess he was just born awesome.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 01:36 PM   #57
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I bit the bullet and went to see it, and I think I agree with you pretty much on all counts, Keith. I think the biggest overall failing was the character development, on all counts. The characters were all very obviously filtered down to a simplicity easily ingestible in a couple of short hours. They skipped most folks' motivations entirely, and reduced the whole conflict to just errors in judgement. The script didn't try to tackle what really made people want to die for this chunk of land (and still do), and that part is critical if you want to really show the futility of it all and convey KOH's ultimate lesson - that religion is in the heart and mind, not in a chunk of land.

As far as history, and as a Muslim myself I feel I can say this - they made Salahudin look like a much nicer person than he really was. What the script actually did was take the historical Muslim rules of war, which were rather civilized for their time, and mush them down into this one person who is then supposed to resemble all of Islam. Unfortunately, Salahudin himself was guilty of ruthlessly and brutally killing many others, and other Muslims even - Shia muslims that is. He tried his best to vanquish this sect that refused to give alliegance to him. And he's guilty of much else that sure makes him look less noble. So the point is, he didn't represent all of Islam by any means. He was just the wielder of power of his time.

So in a nutshell, it was just entertainment. Because both the Christian and the Muslim characters were all equally washed out, and the overall message was to deflame not inflame, I would say this film is, as the Guide would put it, "Mostly Harmless."

Unfortunate though, for a fascinating piece of history to be washed down into a glorified Lord of the Rings type movie.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 02:18 PM   #58
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Imran, harmless is a good way to put it. Thanks for the insight into the real Saladin. In the vast majority of historical films featuring real people we can expect most elements of dimensionality to be taken away.

Film biographies have a real problem with trying to get across the idea of people in their times. Your example of Saladin for one. Yes, the man can be ruthless but in the context of the times, maybe he was actually relatively progressive. I'm just grateful that he doesn't come across as some barbarian.

I just finished a book about Genghis Khan which shows him to have quite a few redeeming features. But, like almost every other conqueror of his age, he was extremely ruthless in war. It was in his administration of his lands that he showed progressive elements.
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Old May 16th, 2005, 02:29 PM   #59
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You're right about Salahudin's context in this particular chunk of history - viewed solely on this moment, Salahudin was a progressive force, and kept the situation from being much worse. I think this is why this particular portion of the crusades was selected, because it's the least inflammatory. Pick another moment just before and the Christians were being extremely brutal and unjust - pick a moment just after and the Muslims were being extremely brutal and unjust. They went with this one because it would hopefully not tick off too many people and allow for an opportunity to present a lesson with civility.

Oh, and here's a wiki link that quickly surveys the history of Salahudin:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saladin
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Old May 16th, 2005, 03:02 PM   #60
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I agree with most of Keiths points on the film. It LOOKED like a Ridley Scott film, lots of 'atmosphere' and light. Some good images.

The combat was mediocre. The best combat sequence was the forrest ambush. The rest of it had little bearing on true period combat. Event the cavalry charge against the muslim ranks was poorly done. But, then again, I'm speaking with a more critical eye than most. Frankly, I'm tired of the high speed shutter look in combat scenes... I'm ready for it to go away. But then, I'm tired of wired fight scenes too. Also, I'm not a fan of the 'confusion of battle' editing technique for all the fight sequences. I like to stand off and see the action develop... see the fight flow... like hearing dialogue instead of chopped up words. But, that's my preference that comes from being a fight choreographer.

STORY- Dissapointment. Great leaps of logic. So big in fact, that I am convinced at least forty five minutes are on the cutting room floor. Look for them in the Directors cut. They did that with one of Scott's early films, LEGENDS with Tom Cruise. Another fantasy epic that didn't make much sense unless you see the directors cut... where, indeed 45 minutes was restored to it. Frankly, I think the reason we didn't see montage sequences to explain the developing characters, is because some nice scenes were probably shot that were ultimately cut out.

Worst character - The French bad guy... Guy somethingorother. Totally unbelievable as a heavy.

Best scene - The mass knighting, that unfortunately was shown in the trailers.

Overall - B+ , but I expect more from the DVD.
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