05-17-2005, 09:56 AM #1
NEW CRUSADES MOVIE DEPICTS MUSLIMS & ISLAM "POSITIVELY" !
By Dilshad D. Ali**
May 11, 2005
Orlando Bloom plays Balian, who symbolizes the face of tolerance in Kingdom.
“To kill an infidel is not murder. It is the path to Paradise.”
With this advice given to Christians joining the Crusades to defend their hold on Jerusalem, one may think that the opposing Muslim army is being set up as a murdering, marauding lot of barbarians. But in Ridley Scott’s new film, Kingdom of Heaven, nothing could be further from that.
Scott has made a career out of putting his “action movie with a conscience” spin on historical events—from the incident of a 1993 downed US helicopter in Somalia in Black Hawk Down to the downfall of early Texan fighters in The Alamo. And so he strives again to preach a message, to show what should be between faiths with Kingdom of Heaven.
By focusing on the Third Crusade in the 12th century, when Christian armies who held Jerusalem sought to expand their base at the expense of the treaty their king had with Muslim leader Saladin’s vast army, Scott draws a direct correlation between the events of then and the political and religious troubles of now.
In fact, the film is such an obvious parable for the present world situation that it belies the need for depth. You don’t have to search for the symbolism nor do you need to figure out what Scott feels about the emptiness and ludicrousness of religious fanaticism juxtaposed against a war mired in material greed.
It’s just about as obvious as it can be. This has its benefits and drawbacks. Of course for a Hollywood blockbuster that’s starting the crucial summer movie run, it’s certainly admirable to have a sympathetic film with politically correct speeches—like how Jerusalem’s Islamic religious monuments are built upon Christian built upon Jewish ones, and thus the city should belong to all.
Set against the backdrop of the Third Crusade, the film tells the story of a poor blacksmith, Balian (Orlando Bloom), who discovers he is the bastard son of the noble Knight Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson). Godfrey convinces Balian to join him in Jerusalem doing “God’s work.”
Balian, hoping to find his religion and do penance for the sins of his dead wife, joins Godfrey. In Jerusalem he gains favor with the Christian leper king, Baldwin VI (Edward Norton), and quickly rises in respect and rank. Ultimately he is the man who is charged to defend Jerusalem when Baldwin’s successor, a war-hungry fanatic, breaks their fragile peace with Saladin (Ghassan Massoud). And so it comes down to a final battle for Jerusalem.
Set in the 12th century crusades, Hollywood’s Kingdom shows a new side of Muslims.
The righteous heroes of the film speak prolifically about the similarities between Muslim and Christian worship, and how the mistakes of previous armies should not dictate how the two sides of the Third Crusade should deal with each other. “As-salamu `alaykum—peace be with you” really gets a workout in this film. It’s not just a greeting, Scott seems to say, but a real message of peace.
And more than anything, it’s plain wonderful to see Saladin and his Muslim army portrayed with such dignity and shown to be battle savvy and merciful in victory. Truly it’s probably the first time a Hollywood film strives to follow historical evidence that speaks of Saladin’s mercy and courage instead of reducing him to the silver screen standard of a terrorist Arab.
Indeed, there are many wonderful speeches in Kingdom of Heaven acting as blaring lessons for today’s politicians and men who interpret faith to violent means. Scott really makes a stand here for the individual search for God versus living a life of extremism without tolerance. “Protect the weak; trust in God; tell the truth, even if it leads to your death.” This is the motto of a true warrior of God, according to the film.
However, this careful structure of political correctness, in serving a noble purpose for today’s society, may be the downfall of the film in the box office. Yes, there are villains in the film—minor characters in the Christian armies such as the successor to Baldwin. But they are so two-dimensional that you can’t drum up enough disgust for them. Where’s the depth to their evilness?
In such films the obvious thing would be to make Arabs the dirty scoundrels, and that’s how you get movie goers to root for the victor. You paint things black and white, which is not the case with Kingdom of Heaven.
So who’s the victor in this film? History is shown accurately with Saladin and his vast army winning Jerusalem at the end. More importantly, the mercy of Islam is shown as Saladin allows the Christians of the city safe passage back to Christian lands. But it would be asking too much to have Saladin be the victor of this film.
Thus Scott is careful to place the shining light on his hero, Balian. This is the man we should be hoisting up. Scott took a gamble in choosing Bloom, in his first leading role, to carry the film. Bloom tries hard—he is as noble, honorable, and just as he can be. But he does not have the stature to carry the film. Why are all the other characters magnetically drawn to him? How did he become so worthy of respect? It is a mystery.
In choosing Russell Crow as Maximus to carry his film Gladiator, Scott guaranteed a true financial and emotional success. But with Bloom as Balian in Kingdom of Heaven, success is much more shaky. And will American audiences flock to a film heavy with didactic lessons for today’s world? I hope so, but I doubt it. The box office will provide the end to this story.
* Dilshad D. Ali’s writing reaches across the United States to address lifestyle topics pertinent to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Ali has covered movie premieres, film festivals, art exhibitions, concerts, and numerous other cultural stories, including the effect of September 11 on New York’s cultural landscape for IslamOnline. Ali, a 1997 University of Maryland journalism graduate, resides in New York with her husband and two children. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
05-17-2005, 10:01 AM #2
I look forward to seeing the film, I'm not a big fan of Bloom, but the preview looks great.
05-17-2005, 10:18 AM #3
I liked the movie, but it wasnt historically correct, but that should be expected of a movie. One small example is that the true Balian didnt like Muslims.
But what Muslims really need right now is another Saladdin.
Saladdin really did send his doctors to the enemies king, when he needed it. Because Muslim medicine was way far advanced compared to Western Medicine. And when Saladdin died, they found his tresury empty, because he gave all his money away to the needy.
05-17-2005, 10:28 AM #4Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
05-17-2005, 10:30 AM #5Originally Posted by singern
My sincere thx to all the hollywood ppl who told as much truth to history as they could ..............
05-18-2005, 03:43 PM #6Originally Posted by ZOAIB
-Listen to what you guys are saying, then relate it to present day events.
-Christianity has a sad history, but this is not the logical outworking of what Christ taught.
05-18-2005, 03:46 PM #7Originally Posted by ZOAIB
-You give thanks to hollywood, yet condemn it for most everything else it does.
-Hollywood to some extent represents materialism.
05-18-2005, 03:48 PM #8Originally Posted by ZOAIB
-Is it ok for muslims to fly airplanes into buildings with innocent men, women, and children. FCUKERs.
05-18-2005, 07:13 PM #9Originally Posted by books555
its not relevant if i condemn one hollywodd movie and like the other , hollywood is comprised of individuals who project their own views into the movies , like mel gibson when he made passion of the christ , wasnt that a positive thign to do , so yes they will get praised for the good things and bashed for the wrong things ................ its pretty simple , i dont care how materialistic hollywood is , or hypocratic ..................i am just surprised they depicted muslims in such a good way , during these time .
05-18-2005, 07:17 PM #10
It was a good movie. I don't even like Orlando Bloom that much but I still thought it was good. In this he didn't seem like such a fairy like he did in his other movies. Its definitly worth watching in the theatures.
05-18-2005, 07:19 PM #11Originally Posted by UrbanLegend
05-19-2005, 02:24 PM #12
I think the movie was hmmm well hmm hmmm well acceptable!
And yes Bloom looks like a man in a movie for a change LOL
anyway if you like seing christian and muslim butchered eachother for 2h.....
05-19-2005, 02:29 PM #13Originally Posted by 3Vandoo
05-19-2005, 02:40 PM #14Originally Posted by ZOAIB
history. factual correctness : 2 out of 10 doodoos
05-19-2005, 05:01 PM #15
I think the movie sucked but I found it refreshing that the muslims wherent barbarians in it.
But the battles where dull, the acting incredibly stiff and the entire movie feelt like battle scenes fumbled togheter with pompous speaches.
05-19-2005, 06:36 PM #16Originally Posted by 3Vandoo
but thx for the spoilers ! ............ johan its already out in sweden ???
05-19-2005, 09:17 PM #17Originally Posted by ZOAIB
Its not that great!
yep in Sweden, bouncer should be able to see it around 2008
05-20-2005, 02:58 AM #18Originally Posted by ZOAIB
My first question is, when is jihad justified?
I agree with you on the second part, I made a mistake, you are right.
05-20-2005, 03:31 AM #19Originally Posted by ZOAIB
I have another question. Will Caus, and yourself condemn the actions Osoma Bin Laden has commited in the name of Islam? Yes or No Please.
05-20-2005, 04:08 AM #20Originally Posted by ZOAIB
05-20-2005, 05:09 AM #21Originally Posted by books555
cause islam does not teach us to kill innocent civilians under any circumstances. so my answer is YES i condemn his actions in the name of ISLAM .
05-20-2005, 05:12 AM #22Originally Posted by books555
05-20-2005, 05:14 AM #23Originally Posted by johan
05-20-2005, 05:16 AM #24
lol yeah I just convert into dollar so that everyone here will understand what Im talking about. 100kronor doesnt mean much to you guys ;(
05-20-2005, 07:36 AM #25
It was jsut a movie- action was decent- costumes were great- scenery was outstanding...a bit preachy in our times- yes! it is funny that of all crusades that the writer chose the third!
05-20-2005, 08:17 AM #26
What I miss was a big battle army against army out in the fields.
POSSIBLE SPOILER FOR ANYONE THAT HASNT SEEN THE MOVIE!
Its boring that they didnt show the fight when saladins army crushes the christian army.
05-20-2005, 09:11 AM #27Originally Posted by johan
05-20-2005, 12:18 PM #28
This movie also shows, that Muslims will never give up Jerusalem, especially not to Israel. Never.
05-20-2005, 12:28 PM #29Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
thought my ancestors the roman kicked them out of there some years before!
05-22-2005, 02:40 AM #30Originally Posted by ZOAIB
05-22-2005, 05:24 AM #31
I will watch it on DVD , but me as a shiite muslim I have a problem with salah el din because he supressed the shiite known as fatimiyin , during his era many shiite books were burned, many shiite clerics and leaders were burned and beheaded. The word "Assassin" came in the era of salah el din because a group of ismailite shiite assassins called " hashashine" tried to assasinate him three times and they failed.But after all salah el din have many posistive things espacialy in the war to get jerusalem.
05-23-2005, 01:30 PM #32
You gain some understanding of what went down many moons ago.
05-23-2005, 01:56 PM #33
The Revenge of the Sith has more political messages
05-23-2005, 03:50 PM #34
damn those catapult throwers in the movie are way way overexagerated its like they are launshing cruise missiles lol
05-23-2005, 04:24 PM #35Originally Posted by MilitiaGuy
05-23-2005, 05:48 PM #36Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
So may I ask what U think Iran's
intentions are with a nuclear weapon?
And why they are purposely mis-leading the UN..
Please...if u say for defence, please explain your opinion.
They are a state that sponsors terrorism, What would
keep them from simply destroying Isreal ?
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