Kingdom of Heaven (Director’s Cut) (2005)

Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven is set in the twelfth century and follows the story of Balian (played by Orlando Bloom), loosely based on Balian of Ibelin, a crusader nobleman who lived from approximately 1143 to 1193 CE.

In the film, Balian leaves his job as a blacksmith in France in 1184 CE and goes to help the Kingdom of Jerusalem (a crusader state created in 1099 CE after the First Crusade) defend itself against Saladin, the Ayyubid Muslim Sultan.

If you haven’t seen the film before, you may think that it beats you around the head with religion, but it doesn’t. There are other elements of it that make it interesting and compelling. These include family, friendship, and politics. I think Kingdom of Heaven has a strong Game of Thrones vibe to it.

The film premiered in May 2005 and was met with mixed reviews. But director Ridley Scott disliked the theatrical cut. Before the film’s release, studio executives ordered him to cut the film down by forty-five minutes, which inevitably streamlined its narrative and placed a spotlight on Balian. Neither of these were what Scott had intended.

A few months after theatrical version was released, a director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven was released. There’s more of a focus on all the characters, not just Balian. The narrative is also more complex and has deeper meanings to it, like the bond between a mother’s love for her children, as displayed by Princess Sibylla’s (Eva Green) love for her son.

Many people agree that the director’s cut is far better than the original theatrical version. Reviewer James Berardinelli even says that “there’s no reason for anyone to watch the […] theatrical edition” since the director’s cut has been made available. I agree with Berardinelli. The director’s cut should be version of Kingdom of Heaven that people watch.

Like all films, the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven isn’t perfect. Despite having more depth and scope than the theatrical version, it can be slow at times.

The cinematography and the film’s overall production design is spectacular. Kingdom of Heaven was filmed entirely on location in Morroco and Spain. The landscapes that feature in the film mirror that of France and Jerusalem (the primary settings of the film) and seem to not have aged at all since the twelfth century. The props and costumes appear authentic, almost as if they were plucked right from the twelfth century. All this completes the ‘feel’ of the film.

Despite this, Kingdom of Heaven’s flaws hold it down. I want to like it, but it didn’t quite hit the mark in the end. But the director’s cut is still superior to the theatrical version.

I give Kingdom of Heaven three out of five.


Words by Callum J. Jones

 

References

Balian of Ibelin – A Biography, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CnJDfdLayA&gt;.

Kingdom of Jerusalem, <https://historica.fandom.com/wiki/Kingdom_of_Jerusalem&gt;.

Kingdom of Heaven (Director’s Cut) (United States/United Kingdom/Spain/Germany, 2005), <http://www.reelviews.net/reelviews/kingdom-of-heaven-director-s-cut&gt;.

 

 

The Hustle

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the premier of the latest Hollywood hit starring Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway on its first showing in Adelaide. I walked out with a smile on my face and a need for more popcorn.
The Hustle is funny and light-hearted while keeping the audience caring about the characters. This delightful comedy is focused around two very different and intelligent women and their wonderful dynamic as an unlikely pair of con women. Anne Hathaway, playing an elegant French woman named Josephine Chesterfield, works charmingly well alongside Rebel Wilson, who plays a pretty bogan Australian woman named Penny Rust. The director, Chris Addison, has decided to shake up the classic con-man movie and mix in undertones of ‘this town ain’t big enough for the both of us’ western with a timeless teacher-student dynamic. Watching these two strong women in these vibrant roles and work together to con unsuspecting rich men really captures a hearty comedy based on an old classic.
I was swept up in Rebel Wilson’s signature Australian humour and the beauty and elegance of Anne Hathaway. Set in a luxurious part of France with many extravagant sets, The Hustle will have you giggling today and have you dreaming of diamonds the next. The set and scenes were amazing, boasting of decadence and class.
The film is one that the whole family can enjoy. Rated PG, the themes are easy-going and the humour ranges from implied innuendoes to physical slapstick. If you’re looking for a fun and witty comedy, I would recommend taking some friends to see this movie for a good night out!
Million-dollar views with million-dollar actresses, this movie didn’t fail to live up to its hype.
Four stars from me!

 


Words by Sarah Ingham

Franco-Belgian Comics at Supernova 2018

Supanova Adelaide had a new addition to its line-up of events this year: a Franco-Belgian comics exhibition. A first for Supanova, the Franco-Belgian comics exhibition was a booth dedicated to European pop culture icons like Tintin, The Smurfs, and Asterix. This exhibition was hosted by Stuart A. Blair, an Adelaide pop culture historian and avid pop culture fan.

Blair says the idea of the Franco-Belgian comics exhibition was put forward by the organisers at Supanova. They had never had an exhibition quite like it before and there wasn’t as much on European pop culture compared to American pop culture. This exhibition’s presence allowed a light to be cast on the pop culture icons of European pop culture.

Some of the eye-catching pieces at the exhibition included dioramas from the Adventures of Tintin series. An example of one of these is seen below, with Tintin and Snowy travelling towards a castle. This diorama is based off the seventh volume in the series The Black Island (1938). When asked about the dioramas, Blair said the figurines were bought during his international travels and at auctions. The backgrounds were designed in France and taken from scenes within the stories. Other displays from Tintin included figurines of Captain Haddock and Belgian copies of the original adventures.  

Other exhibit displays in the collection outside of Tintin included graphic novels of Le Chat du Rabbin (The Rabbi’s Cat), an original daybill poster of Asterix in Britain (1986), and a set-up of the gold mine from Lucky Luke. One of the unique pieces in the collection though was a 1941 copy of le Journal de Spirou. The reason why this is so, Blair says, was because of the shortage of paper in German occupied France and Belgium during Second World War. Alongside this as well was issue one of Le Petit Vingtième (1937), which featured the first story of Tintin published.  

For those who are interested in European pop culture and comics, Stuart says there are many exhibitions in the near future. He is currently looking into getting exhibitions going on at libraries and local museums around Adelaide, one dedicated to French pop-culture and another for retro pop culture.

If you are interested in finding out more information on Stuart A. Blair, check out his website below.

http://www.stuartablair.com/


Words and photography by Cameron Lowe.

Cameron Lowe is a horror and sci-fi writer, editor and student. He’s had fiction and articles featured in Speakeasy Zine and Empire Times. He loves to read, play video games, and drink green tea. He’s one of the 2018 editors at Empire Times. He tweets at @cloweshadowking.