Logipundit, while I’m not watching the Kingdom of Orlando Bloom, I was curious about one thing. This question goes out to everyone. Was “Kingdom” a sneaky swipe at the Bush administration? I specifically mean the crusade angle and the son inheriting the mantle as chief crusader almost by accident. The moral equivalence of the whole movie is a bit weird, though, if I read Logipundit right. Why not lampoon the bloom character a la Clooney in “O Brother”? That is, besides the fact that Ridley Scott can’t have any comedy in any of his movies (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down…yeah, all downers)? The more I think about it, however, I could definitely see the unintentional comedy factor being high here, kind of like DiCaprio fighting Daniel Day Lewis in “Gangs of New York”.

Posted at 09:01 pm by Johnny B

Posted by Rothell @ 06/04/2005 12:38 PM PDT
I read an extensive article about The Kingdom, its evolution from idea to movie, and I’d be willing to say that there is no conscious parallel between the story of the movie and the Bush dynasty. If I remember correctly, the movie was written right around that time that Bush first entered office (note: I do not say he was elected to office). Unfortunately I don’t have the L.A. Times article at hand from which I’m drawing this info, but read it about a month back. In it there was this question directed at Ridley Scott as to whether the movie was a comment on the West’s current relationship with the Middle East. Dare I call it relationship? Scott insisted that neither he nor the screenwriter are any reference to current politics. If that’s true, then shame on them. Why not take the opportunity to draw make parallels clear enough to provoke a little more thought. Then at least the film might not have been so utterly ridiculous.

If the Orlando Bloom character had been a fictionalized Bush to the extent Citizen Kane was for William Randloph Hearst, then he might not have had so many inherent positive qualities. Instead our Middle Ages “W” would have been tottering at the heels of his father, an opium addict, possibly a womanizer (and consequently a leper himself?), certainly not a warrior (he would send other men to war while avoiding any direct contact with it himself).

The film’s hero rather seems to rise to greatness despite his previous lot in life: poor, provincial, a “bastard” child, etc. While the notion of rags to riches by means of hard work and honesty and bravery is really nice, appealing especially in a very “American Dream” sort of way, here it’s taken to a ludicrous degree when you sum it up and think about it: he finally meets his father, a noble Lord, who acknowledges him and embraces him warmly; he magically learns English, I guess, despite living in south France; he learns how to be a great sword fighter in just one quick forest sequence; he is bequethed his father’s entire estate with one slap in the face; he rides into his new town, meets the Princess of Jerusalem, and she literally throws herself at him, despite her being married (of course he verbally refuses her [we don’t want to piss off the Baptist audiences] before going on with the heated affair); he builds a well with his bare hands in an otherwise waterless strip of arid land; he becomes a war leader, war genius, and war hero, though, as far as we know, he’s never seen a war; and, this is my favorite, the King himself offers to have his own brother-in-law killed so that he can marry his beautiful sister and become King of Jerusalem. This guy refues the last offer, but goes on to fight with other soldiers, surrender their stronghold, and thus save lots of lives. That sounds to me nothing at all like our current president and his administration. It is nothing more that man-fantasy.

Who and what was interesting in this movie? Pretty much nothing and nobody on the Western side, for they were just about all grizzled and hard-boiled from the endless years of wars. In fact, it was the leader of the other side, whose name I forget, who was by far the most interesting character. He was in a much tighter spot, provoked repeatedly by the war-mongering gringos, and pressured into capturing Jerusalem. Wise. Educated. Genius. Compassionate too? Why weren’t we following him? Why wasn’t he the central character? That’s easy to answer.

Posted by JohnnyB @ 06/04/2005 02:23 PM PDT
I turned on the TV last night and guess who was on David Letterman, and guess which movie he was promoting. Sounds like Scott is pretty inflexible. On two occasions Stanley Kubrick completely changed a movie in the middle of production (Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket). After posting I saw Bloom give his “Braveheart” speech, which was so bad I couldn’t even appreciate the unintentional comedy. Seems like Scott mailed this one in.

Posted by BP @ 06/05/2005 11:34 AM PDT

Starting with “the film’s hero…” I agree with you 100 percent. Especially the part about the Muslim character…the actor’s skills were much more impressive and his character much more interesting.

However, one thing you failed to mention was the actual historical accuracy of the film. I’m pretty sure that the Muslims and the “war-mongering gringos” didn’t part friends and give each other horses after the city was surrendered.

Anyway, I don’t think one needs to look for political parallels. Not only do they not apply, they are irrelevant (to me anyway) to the quality of the movie. People are talking about the political parallels of Revenge of the Sith…and I say…who cares. There are plenty of things to enjoy and make fun of both without noting that George might have inserted some anti-bushisms in with the other horrendous dialogue.

Kingdom of Newsweak
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