Preview by: Jack Foley
CAN Orlando Bloom really act? Having made such an amiable impression
in the likes of the Lord of
the Rings trilogy and Pirates
of the Caribbean, the actor took a few steps back following
the disastrous Calcium Kid
and the lukewarm reaction to Troy
(which we loved!).
And has the historical epic had its day? Another worthy question
given the lacklustre performance of Alexander
(which many have predicted will spend the end for this sort of
One of the biggest films of the coming months, however, will
look to provide answers to both questions in the positive.
Kingdom of Heaven marks Sir Ridley Scott's first epic since Gladiator
and puts Bloom on the cusp of movie greatness.
Set in the 12th Century AD, the film follows a French blacksmith
(Bloom's Balian de Ibelin) as he unwittingly becomes enlisted
and shoved off to fight in The Crusades.
Trapped in an alien culture, de Ibelin has no choice but to fight
for a doomed king in a war that will last for decades, but finds
love in the form of a princess (played by Eva Green, of The
Dreamers fame), despite being warned against doing so.
His heroics on the battlefield, however,
eventually see him given the responsibility of protecting Jerusalem
from an overwhelming force, while simultaneously struggling to
maintain the fragile peace that exists within his own city.
And the ensuing spectacle could well place Bloom back on Hollywood's
A-list, while providing Sir Ridley with another glorious epic
to rival Gladiator.
It certainly looks impressive, from early footage and photos,
while the strong support cast includes Liam Neeson, as Bloom's
father, Jeremy Irons, as Tiberias, Edward Norton, as King Baldwin
IV, and Brendan Gleeson, who previously gave Bloom a hiding in
Given the religious mix involved in the story, however, it comes
as little surprise to find that the epic has already attracted
its far share of attention in America, where the New York Times
reported that there were growing concerns about possible misinterpretations
of the Islamic faith.
The film has also been accused of providing stereotypical and
degrading representations of Arabs.
An on-set fire, during filming, also caused havoc, when crew
members initially thought it was a bomb and Bloom had to be evacuated.
Sir Ridley, too, is reported to have received death threats.
It should serve to ensure that the film attracts considerable
publicity ahead of its May 6 release in the States, while furthering
its chances of laying the ghost of Alexander to rest.
But co-star, Neeson, remains convinced the quality of the film
will win through over such arguments.
He stated during a recent interview for the film, Kinsey:
"It’s going to be a very special film. I can feel it.
It’s about the Crusades – an event that happened after
the Second Crusades, the battle between Islam and the Crusaders."