The Kingdom of Heaven: Hollywood vs. Reality
By Brendan Zinser
As it is with many Hollywood movies based on true stories, The Kingdom of Heaven was greatly embellished for the sake of making an interesting film. It was directed by notorious action film director Ridley Scott, director of such huge-budget time pieces like this one that were based on true stories such as “Gladiator” and “American Gangster”. However, Kingdom of Heaven was by far the most historically inaccurate film and definitely does not do the remarkable true story justice. It is obvious that Scott did not think about huge historical inaccuracies in the film such as the main character Balian and the leader of the defense against the attacks on Jerusalem, was in fact, in real life, just a very good warrior in the battle and served a very small part in the actual story. The film depicts Balian as a black smith commoner who was thrown into the world of royalty and kings when his illegitimate father dies and makes him continue his work as a lord. However, in real life, Balian knew his father well, was not a commoner, but was raised with the royalty and the elite and not a commoner or a blacksmith. This was obviously left out because making Balian a regular average guy who was forced to carry on his fathers legacy, but an elitist that was trained from a young age to be a warrior. Moreover, there were also great directorial mistakes that Scott made that are bafflingly inaccurate, like the fact that Jerusalem in the film was completely flat, making it perfect for attacking armies, when Jerusalem is actually one of the most mountainous areas of the world. Also, the depiction of the relationship of the Christians and the Muslims was greatly offensive, depicting the Christians as great bullies trying to get Muslim land, when in real life, the Christians and Muslims mostly stayed out of each others ways. In Conclusion, it is clear to see that Ridley Scott put half of the effort into the accuracy of the story as he did spending millions of dollars and lots of time on making the epic battle scenes. In my opinion, I did not like the movie at all because I thought it made a film that was way too long, out of a main character that served little purpose in the real story, and although the battle scenes and sets of medieval times were great at depicting at what it looked like, the script and acting gave the viewer very little in what it actually felt like to be in Medieval times.