The Unswung Bat

Thursday, April 21, 2005
 
I need a title for this post.

Oh, good, they've rolled out a movie about the Crusades. Sorry, a Crusades movie. Heaven forbid anyone should think that Kingdom of Heaven is meant to teach anything about the Crusades. No, much like a baseball movie focusses intently on the emotional theatrics that can be justified (or not) by the backdrop of a hard-fought series, and is minimally, if at all, concerned with conveying such salient details as the infield fly rule, so promises this historiesque comedia del'arte to be not so much about history as around it. Or in front of it. Standing, waving and doing cheap cartwheels, directly between the audience and the actual Crusades.

"I'm not fighting another holy war here," says the director, Ridley Scott, "I am trying to get across the fact that not everybody in the West is a good guy, and not all Muslims are bad."
"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

As touching as those words are, the trailer for the movie does indeed seem more than a little preoccupied with the idea of holy war. Also, casting the damned elf and surrounding him with blazing fireballs and speeches about honor and steel does little to diminish the sense that the movie wants nothing so much as to make a sensation, any damn sensation. And then there's Saladin, decked out like a Dark Lord of the Sith.

My first reaction to the concept of this movie would involve a lot of question marks and explanation points if it were to be transcribed. I wrote a post on it yesterday just after seeing the trailer, so of course it was junk and I didn't put it up. It generally turns out better if I can wait a day and see if I've calmed down at all, but I just watched the trailer again and I'm as angry as I was the first time. Thankfully I'd already articulated most of this post by then. But look at that. Honestly, look at that. It even has hacky rock music. And a giant ripoff of the Helm's Deep battle sequences. And check out the end of the trailer, when, also just like in Lord of the Rings, "they're here." Only instead of evil orcish hordes, there's Muslims. But it's all in the name of history, to show that They're not all bad and We're not all good. Plus they're filmed at a distance, so you can't see their faces.

So, you know, it's okay.



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