Saturday, May 14, 2005

the swollen eyeball on the kingdom of heaven

with my current visual travails i am forced to come forth with my true identity: i am the Swollen Eyeball, seer of secrets & collector of conspiracies.

if you must know more about my secret second life, seek ye out Invader Zim, & ye shall learn the Truth. as it were.

went to see Kingdom of Heaven on Thursday. er, don't pay theater prices to see this. it proves that sometimes screenwriters can get away with anything. the only characters i cared about were all dead halfway through.

though on the plus side, i almost bought into Orlando Bloom. mind you, he really needs to stop replaying the same character (a blacksmith in search of his father what?), but he seems to have it down to an art, much more so than in Troy (which i dug for its poetic & historic roots), though i guess his character was meant to be a pansy.

Liam Neeson is always good for something, & absolutely makes one of my favorite scenes in the movie (the one in which Balian is knighted.)

my favorite character was Hospitaler, played magnificently by David Thewlis, who is one of my favorite people in film. he always surprises me. he was the last to die in this film, via decapitation. oh, yes, did i mention the Tarantino-esque gore? the bloodshed & body count in this film were positively Biblical.


the cast also included Jeremy Irons as the Marshall of Jerusalem, & Edward Norton as the disfigured King.

he looks very Mordred-from-Excalibur here. the mask made for some intense images.

which brings me to my favorite aspects of the movie: the imagery &, oddly enough considering the abysmal writing, the emphasis on language.
there are a number of theological discourses, as one can expect, but there was a symmetry & a kind of reprise-like repetition, a fugue, if you like, of declarations of faith (& the lack thereof). the power of language is really what's being demonstrated in this film, e.g.
"Does making a man a knight make him a better fighter?"
(you see what i mean about the writing?)
photographically speaking, there are some stunning & highly archetypal moments: if you do see it, watch for the scene with Saladin's sister in the grass, & one where Balian is under a palm tree as several Knights Templar move in to ambush him.
there were many others, but a movie can't survive on imagery alone.
point of fact: my least favorite aspect of the movie (aside from the writing).

Eva Green as Princess Sybilla.
A lovely actress, to be sure, but in the most objectified, minimalized, & absurd role for a woman that has been seen in these sword-&-sandal flicks for some time.

in other words: engh.

on a side note, & because i was thinking about walls, my neighbor has been replacing the chainlink fence that surrounds our back yard (the one my landlady won't let me have a key to, thereby dashing all hopes of creating a garden or having a place outside this summer), & the poem Mending Wall has been revolving in my head since he began, hammering his metal poles into the grass all yesterday afternoon:

He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down!"

Robert Frost.

8 little fish:

Blogger tescosuicide swam up to say...

My wife is about Orlando Bloom, I figured she would have seen this by now... she has not...

I have no problem with fences... of course, I have a dog that would escape from the back yard If I didn't have one!

I DO love Robert Frost.

See, we have so much in common!

7:38 PM  
Blogger Carpathian swam up to say...

It's something when it sounds like your review is better than the film.

Can we have premiere tickets to your next review please !

6:29 AM  
Blogger Carl V. swam up to say...

For some reason I never really get too excited about seeing these epic period pieces at the theatre. Braveheart was my favorite and an exception to the rule and few, if any, of these types of movies can hold a candle to it. I've heard many poor reviews for the movie.

I'm embarrased to admit that I haven't seen Invader Zim eventhough I'm a fan of JTHM and Squee!

9:45 AM  
Blogger forgottenmachine swam up to say...

Saw Kingdom of Heaven yesterday. Would have seen it even if I had read your review beforehand, not because I disagree, I actually agree entirely, but because I was only ever going to see it for the aesthetics. From the second I saw David Thewlis' face, I knew he would probably be tops on the acting front.

In other words, yep, your review is spot on.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Luke swam up to say...

I love the way you say don't pay to see it in a theatre but then give it a full-on glossy magazine Oscar-contender review!
Orlando is a dish, I'm looking at his pic on my wall right now but hell, the poor fuck can't act his way out of a paper bag. It looks very sumptious and as it was directed by the same dude who did Gladiator, I'm sure I'll like it enough but I will probably watch it on DVD.

5:47 AM  
Blogger mysfit swam up to say...

you'd think with this kind of cast and the beautiful images you lavish your stunning compliments on, this movie couldn't fail - i haven't seen it, was the writing that bad?

10:10 AM  
Blogger mysfit swam up to say...

ahem - YAY ZIM!!

10:29 AM  
Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

tesco: i never doubted that similarities would arise. i'm sure there are many more to come.

carpathian: all movie reviews delivered live, here on the fish, for your viewing pleasure. with tap-dancers & special effects, sometimes.

carl v: sword-&-sandal flicks are a time-honoured cinema tradition, & like any other tradition, it has prime examples & dismal ones.
Braveheart is definitely up there though.

f-machine: thank you. i'm generally right about everything. & the aesthetics are definitely an excellent reason to see this sort of flick; that & the sort of dialogue that would never, ever work in a screenplay set in modern times. of course, sometimes the dialogue fails in ancient times too.

Lucretia: it's odd, i find i tend to have more to say about movies (whatever) that i feel very engh about than the ones i really love, where i tend to sum it up with "oh my god. see this now."

mysfit: yes, it was that bad, except for occasionaly moments (mostly theology or chivalry related) of discussion. however, discussion does not a dialogue make.
(you'd think it would, but you'd be wrong:)

11:29 AM  

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