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Kingdom of Heaven - Preview



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 thing).

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 Troy.

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."

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