Archive for May, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

Posted By yonghow on May 14th, 2005

When I first read about the plot summary of Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven at Cinfex.com many months ago while it was still pretty much in production, the immediate thought that crossed my mind was a biased one; how will the filmmakers portray the legendary military general Saladin ? My impressions were swayed in the direction that he would be misrepresented as a tyrant, merciless in his war against the crusaders, given the many instances in past Hollywood films where Muslims are often depicted as terrorists or religious extremists, ie the bad guys. Certainly I am no expert in the history of the Crusade but in watching this film a little background knowledge in the real history behind the story really does make the film significantly more enriching. ( perhaps this is the reason my classmates found the film largely boring, having never heard of Saladin nor the Crusade. )

For example, the famous scene where Saladin offers the king his physicians is a big nod to a real historical event, although it was offered to Richard the Lionheart ( the guy who announces himself the king of England at the end of the film ) rather than Baldwin ( the leper King ). Saladin was also known in history as a chivalric and merciful leader who generally left the Crusader Kingdom – Jerusalem – alone until the Crusaders repeatedly provoked him, attacking caravans of pilgrims, including one, yes, where his sister was travelling in. When they opened Saladin’s treasury after his death they found there was not enough money to pay for his funeral; he had given his money away to those in need.

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The Village

Posted By yonghow on May 11th, 2005

A mere five minutes viewing into Night Shyamalan’s The Village and I could have swore the dvd was worth buying almost on pure account of DOP Roger Deakin’s most handsome photography work. This must be Night’s most aesthetically pleasing film to date, plot notwithstanding. Despite setting out watching this film with full knowledge of its eventual plot development credit certainly must be given to Night’s attuned ability to craft scenes crammed with suspense and fear, when actually most of the time little was actually happening.

2 things that I found extremely displeasing – 1) *SPOILERS” Noah chancing upon one of those spook suits. “He found one of the suits under the floor board !” How very convenient for plot advancement ! This is as shoddy as anything, see Mr Mckee shaking his head in resignation. 2) Night’s cameos. Now we all understand Hitchcock did it too for most of his films, and it was fun to watch him, almost like a cinematic Where’s Wally Game, but here Night’s appearance is terribly irritating, given how obtrusive and deliberate his cameos are, even if its just a reflection.

Film production discussions aside, I simply don’t agree with the story’s Luddite point of view. To deny one’s own offspring the wonders and beautiful knowledge of science is an infinitely selfish act. Now this ranks just right below on the hate-meter for me for anyone who strives to promote fatalism, but you’ll have to watch Night’s previous film for that.

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