Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Not Even Hiding It Any More

CNN has the AP's review of Kingdom of Heaven up right here that praises it for its political correctness. What does the review mean by political correctness? Well, Muslims didn't get angry:

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee was among those worried groups, but half a dozen members came away greatly relieved after a "Kingdom of Heaven" screening arranged for them by Scott.

"It's one of the better representations of Muslims we've seen out of Hollywood," said Laila Al-Qatami, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based group. "We thought that he did a good job tackling a potentially volatile subject and avoided doing a simplified, stereotyped story of Muslim vs. Christian."

. . . . .

Al-Qatami of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said the only faults her group found with "Kingdom of Heaven" were small historical inaccuracies, changes made to beef up the movie's drama and romantic subplot involving Bloom's and Green's characters.

"At the end of the day, we're happy," Al-Qatami said. "I think it's a fair picture of cultural and religious relations of the time."

That's all well and good, but what of the Christian reaction to the movie? There's no mention at all, even though in modern times the Crusades are a rallying cry for anti-Christian hatred rather than anti-Muslim hatred. The Crusades show institutionalized Christian religion at its worst, and are still used to flog Christians with guilt eight centuries later.

AP doesn't say. But it does quote actress Eva Green reinforcing the Christians-bad/Muslims-good meme:

"I think Muslims will be extremely proud and happy, because they're seen as noble, chivalrous characters," actress Green said. "Especially in this Crusade, the Arab people behaved in a more noble way than the Christian people. Saladin was such a great character. He was the hero of his time."

Exactly. A movie about the Crusades is going to come down hard on Christians, not Muslims, but AP stakes the movie's political correctness solely on whether it offends Muslims. The Christian reaction should be at least half the story, but since we're talking in PC-ese it doesn't even merit a mention. And that's what I mean by "Not Even Hiding It Any More": the Christian perspective doesn't merit even a token mention anymore.

Let's see whether the blogosphere will fill this information hole. Crosblog suggests the Christian reaction won't be too positive:

The Muslims in the movie are shown without flaw, as magnanimous in victory as they are skilled in combat. Meanwhile, the number of Christians in this movie with any redeeming qualities, by my count, is four, and are clearly the exceptions to the rule of bloodthirsty hypocrite. (There's a moment at the end, when the loss of Jerusalem appears imminent, when the bishop declares "Convert to Islam! Repent later!" It's just funny.)

Crosblog also points to this article in Human Events, which has this to say about the movie:

Kingdom of Heaven is a dream movie for those guilt-ridden creatures who believe that all the trouble between the Islamic world and the West has been caused by Western imperialism, racism, and colonialism, and that the glorious paradigm of Islamic tolerance, which was once a beacon to the world, could be reestablished if only the white men of America and Europe would back off. Except for one detail: it isn't true.

Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, author of A Short History of the Crusades and one of the world's leading historians of the period, called the movie "rubbish," explaining that "it's not historically accurate at all" as it "depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality." Oh, and "there was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians. That is utter nonsense."

Nor does Kingdom of Heaven take any notice of the historical realities of Christians and Jews who lived under Muslim rule. They were never treated as equals or accorded full rights as citizens, and always suffered under various forms of institutionalized discrimination and harassment.

Meli's Moonlight has this to say:

Here is Yahoo! Movies' caption describing the film:

"KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is an epic adventure about a common man who finds himself thrust into a decades-long war. A stranger in a strange land, he serves a doomed king, falls in love with an exotic and forbidden queen, and rises to knighthood. Ultimately, he must protect the people of Jerusalem from overwhelming forces while striving to keep a fragile peace."

What it fails to mention is that the "overwhelming forces" the common man must protect the "people of Jerusalem" from are the Christians. In typical Hollywood Christophobic style, the revisionists are at it again, pushing cowardly along behind this bruiser of a summer smash hit and leaning heavily on star power to overcome the utter nonsense being passed off as history.

Dr. Mike Kear of the Emmaus Theory likes it:

Good movie. Not world shaking, but certainly good. Great special effects, especially the city of Jerusalem. A small galaxy of stars including Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, Edward Norton (who we never really see), and of course Orlando Bloom. A true epic.

. . .

I think what Scott is trying to express is that Christians and Muslims can probably get along if we only can somehow rein in the fundamentalist extremists on both sides.

Donald Sensing doesn't like it:

The conflicts of the film are entirely one sided. The bad guys are all Christians, which is not really a criticism as the POV is from within the Christian kingdom. And there were some pretty sorry leaders among the real crusaders. Besides, the Christian king of Jerusalem is portrayed as a man of honor, courage and righteousness. No, my problem with these characterizations is not that the movie’s POV is so one-sided, it is that the portrayals are so darn wooden and shallow:

Head bad guy to evil henchman: “Start me a war.”
Evil henchman: “It’s what I do.”

And then he does so by letting the Templars loose on an innocent Muslim village where they literally hack everyone to death. Blood-spattered, the evil henchman mutters, “This is what I am. Somebody has to be me.” Maybe he could break into song!

I'll let you guys know my own opinion once I've seen it.


Hey all!

Haven't been on here in a few weeks for various reasons. Here's a quick update:

I'm now working on Charlotte, North Carolina, on what should be a short project. The filters at the job site don't allow me to access blogspot, though, so I can't post messages during my free time there.

Been feeling sick the past couple days.

E2 is doing well, and that's actually where most of my free time has been going lately, leaving nothing for this blog. The Festival is still on for June 4th, although with any such thing there have been a couple bumps along the way. The compilation CD should be out in time for Cornerstone.

Speaking of Cornerstone, I should write up a cgi script to figure out the booth schedule. Hmm. . .