Kingdom of Heaven Ridley Scott

Not content to have travestied Imperial Rome, Ridley Scott now turns his attention to the Crusades with completely disastrous results. Orlando Bloom plays the knight trying to blot out his past by joining the march to Jerusalem, only to find chaos and certain doom. Unfortunately, chaos and certain doom also await the poor suckers who pay money for this bewildering and inert spectacle of a movie. The Jerusalem set is very nice indeed, and you could hang every delicious shot on your wall, but the intrigue between Saracens, Knights Templar and assorted other participants will be all Greek to the uninitiated, with no real excitement to compensate for it. The humourless Scott treats everything as if it were high mass at the Church of Hollywood, meaning there's nothing but gorgeous boredom for well over two hours. Bloom has taken a lot of flack for his lead performance but nobody could energise the dialogue's empty pomposity, and the rest of the capable cast (including Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons and a sadly wasted David Thewlis) can only wait for the enormous but strangely unimpressive final battle scene. I somehow managed to make it through the whole thing, but it was rather like being suffocated by a sleeping gorilla. The two-disc special edition features a sort of pop-up commentary for the feature involving historical and production details, a "grid" of extremely thorough documentaries dealing with all aspects of production from the point-of-view of the director and cast and crew (which makes you yearn for a better movie), an episode of A&E's Movie Real that gives all the background you need to understand the action, an episode of the History Channel's History vs. Hollywood that's somewhat less edifying, four internet featurettes that are pure promotional blather; and the trailer. (Fox)