Went to see the new Ridley Scott masterpiece today. My official rating line is it’s a mediocre excersise cloaked in money with occasional touches of class. Yes, I do talk a lot of wank.
The film is a big budget epic of the old school, telling the stories of Balian, a blacksmith from nowhere whose fortuitous parentage eventually leads to becoming the defender of a Jerusalem being beseiged by Saladin.
Inevitably, the production values are high, with only one or two slightly inferior blue-screens and CGIs detracting from the most real looking unreal massed action scenes. The film does suffer a bit from the “too clean” look of its cities and characters, but that’s only really noticeable a few times. The cinematography is also excellent, and one scene, where an army becomes visable through a heat haze, is just about the best I’ve seen.
The scripting is solid, but lacking any real memorability. The characters all talk in a consistent way, and only some of Godfrey’s simplistic moral preaching is actually cringe-worthy. The characters are about as detailed and explored as you’d expect in a big budget war epic – not very. All of the actors try to bring something to their flat characters, Ed Norton’s Baldwin is completely believable, and Jeremy Irons is always reliable. Orlando Bloom though just can’t quite carry the movie’s emotional centre with conviction – he just lacks the screen presence. Kudos to him for doing the best he can though.
Where the movie is let down is in it’s plotting and internal logic. The plot unfolds in an absolutely predictable way, with quite a few actions feeling dictated by plot requirements rather than by internal logic. The distances and travel times are also jut about as muddled as they were in LOTR, less forgivable for a movie set in a real place.
Overall, I’d say it was an entertaining way to spend 2 hours, but will disappear in the sands of time without further ado. BTW, the IMDB rates it 7/10, which I think is about right, possibly a bit generous.
Otherwise, my life continues as normal. I am working tomorrow, which will be profitable; in all other spheres, I make progress, but slowly. 🙂
BTW, Margrave, the top 5 IMDB movies:
1. The Godfather
2. The Shawshank Redemption (which I forgot)
3. LOTR: ROTK
4. Godfather II
5. Schichin no Samuri
I’m pretty sure Casablanca used to be 5th.. 🙂
6. Schindler’s List
8. Star Wars
10. Pulp Fiction