Ridley Scott‘s Kingdom of Heaven comes out this Friday, and we’re already getting that slightly twitchy feeling we get when we’ve read too much coverage of any particular film. Particularly when that coverage makes it clear that, in the minds of some, this is an Important but Accessible movie, a movie that, despite its non-award season timing, might still be considered for an OscarÂ®, might even be the movie, nay, film that kicks off this year’s endless round of OscarÂ® buzz. In the Christian Science Monitor, there’s a piece on how "Kingdom" presents a more positive representation of Muslims than has been the case in films lately, though it’s implied that this is carried through to the equivalent of the typical Hollywood portrayal of Native American, in which whole herds of dusky-skinned people are reduced to stiff, sad-eyed, constantly noble and impossibly self-sacrifice prone stereotypes, a minor step up from the savage, violent stereotypes that came first.
Reuters has a hilariously unenthusiatic good review of the film by way of the Hollywood Reporter – the writer does detail how perfectly cast and produced "Kingdom" is, how it will probably do very well, box office-wise. Anthony Lane in the The New Yorker rather unsurprisingly does not like the film, and spends some time belittling Orlando Bloom‘s performance before moving on to "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy":
There will be two completely separate and, I might add, mutually
hostile audiences for the resulting film. One will be composed of "Hitchhiker" fans, millions strong, who will interpret every minute
discrepancy between what they are watching onscreen and what they once
read on the page as a heresy punishable by law or, where possible,
stoning. These people are lunatics, and I am one of them.
Yay! The Boston Globe devotes an entire article to Mr. Bloom and his path to leading man-dom, including how he first caught Ridley Scott’s eye with a small role in "Black Hawk Down" (we don’t remember, but suspect that he died fairly quickly), and how he’ll finally be putting the froofy period costumes away with Cameron Crowe’s "Elizabethtown", which is due out in October. And the Guardian has words straight from Scott himself – they’ve got an excerpt from the upcoming film tie-in book in which he talks about what he wanted from the film.
+ Finally, a film sheds Muslim stereotypes (CS Monitor)
+ Kingdom of Heaven (Reuters)
+ Personal Battles (New Yorker)
+ For ‘Kingdom,’ he’s asked to carry not just a sword but the entire film (Boston Globe)
+ When worlds collide (Guardian)