Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven nothing more than PC propaganda?

Media: Nice to see Ridley Scott takes the Crusades and turns it into PC liberal nonsense to be "fair." Going by the review of the Telegraph of India, Scott did a bangup job with the White Christians evil and Muslims all good guys which is about as dishonest as you can get with the Crusades. Both sides were cruel to each other and fought like crazy because they both believed they were right. But he takes it and turns it into garbage.

Telegraph India: "Well, the movie is not meant to show that Christians and Muslims have been at one another’s throats for centuries. Rather, by dwelling on the extended, turbulent holy war known as the Crusades, Ridley said he hoped to demonstrate that Christians, Muslims and Jews could live together in harmony — if only fanaticism were kept at bay. To that end, for all the furious battle scenes in Kingdom of Heaven, Scott and screenwriter, William Monahan, have tried to be balanced. Muslims are portrayed as bent on coexistence until Christian extremists ruin everything. And even when the Christians are defeated, the Muslims give them safe passage to Europe. “It’s actually about doing the right thing,” said Scott, 67, whose screen combat experience includes directing 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Black Hawk Down and Gladiator. “I know that sounds incredibly simplistic. It’s about temptation and avoiding temptation. It’s about ethics. It’s about going to war over passion and idealism. Idealism is great if it’s balanced and humanitarian.” "The facts are that during a period of relative peace, Baldwin IV, the young king of Jerusalem, again opened the city to all faiths. But after his death in 1185, militant Knights Templar began attacking Muslim desert convoys. In response, the legendary Muslim warrior Saladin, leading an army of 200,000, laid siege to Jerusalem. Balian of Ibelin, the Christian knight who surrendered the city on October 2, 1187, is the movie’s hero. Little is known about the real Balian. Played by British actor Orlando Bloom, Balian is handsome, loyal, brave and the perfect match for King Baldwin’s stunning sister, Sybilla, played by French actor Eva Green (The Dreamers). Their clandestine love blossoms, but everything else soon falls apart. In the final confrontation with Saladin, played by veteran Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud, Balian gives up, as huge boulders and balls of fire batter the walls of Jerusalem. “He ultimately surrenders Jerusalem to Saladin to save the lives of the people,” said Bloom, 28. “The conduct of the knight is: be brave that God may help thee; speak the truth even if it leads to your death; and safeguard the helpless. That is the oath, and he follows it to the bitter end.” Still, there is a political message, one that Green, 24, interpreted with characteristic French directness. “It’s a movie with substance. It’s very clever and brave, and I hope it will wake up people in America.” To what? “To be more tolerant, more open towards the Arab people,” she said. Well, it wasn’t exactly what Scott had in mind, but why not?
Actually that is not what Scott had in mind as noted last year by the Daily Telegraph where he got ripped apart by historians who said his movie is full of it.
Daily Telegraph(1/18/04): Sir Ridley Scott, the Oscar-nominated director, was savaged by senior British academics last night over his forthcoming film which they say "distorts" the history of the Crusades to portray Arabs in a favourable light. The £75 million film, which stars Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson, is described by the makers as being "historically accurate" and designed to be "a fascinating history lesson". Academics, however - including Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, Britain's leading authority on the Crusades - attacked the plot of Kingdom of Heaven, describing it as "rubbish", "ridiculous", "complete fiction" and "dangerous to Arab relations". ....The Knights Templar, the warrior monks, are portrayed as "the baddies" while Saladin, the Muslim leader, is a "a hero of the piece", Sir Ridley's spokesman said. "At the end of our picture, our heroes defend the Muslims, which was historically correct." Prof Riley-Smith, who is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, said the plot was "complete and utter nonsense". He said that it relied on the romanticised view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics. "It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality." Prof Riley-Smith added: "Guy of Lusignan lost the Battle of Hattin against Saladin, yes, but he wasn't any badder or better than anyone else. There was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians. That is utter nonsense." Dr Jonathan Philips, a lecturer in history at London University and author of The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, agreed that the film relied on an outdated portrayal of the Crusades and could not be described as "a history lesson". He said: "The Templars as 'baddies' is only sustainable from the Muslim perspective, and 'baddies' is the wrong way to show it anyway. They are the biggest threat to the Muslims and many end up being killed because their sworn vocation is to defend the Holy Land." Dr Philips said that by venerating Saladin, who was largely ignored by Arab history until he was reinvented by romantic historians in the 19th century, Sir Ridley was following both Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad, the former Syrian dictator. Both leaders commissioned huge portraits and statues of Saladin, who was actually a Kurd, to bolster Arab Muslim pride. Prof Riley-Smith added that Sir Ridley's efforts were misguided and pandered to Islamic fundamentalism. "It's Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists. Amin Maalouf, the French historian and author of The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, said: "It does not do any good to distort history, even if you believe you are distorting it in a good way. Cruelty was not on one side but on all." Sir Ridley's spokesman said that the film portrays the Arabs in a positive light. "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."
If Ridley Scott wanted to be fair, he would have gotten it correct. He wants to be biased.

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