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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton

"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Scott does the Crusades

What would happen if you let an ageing Leftist agnostic preach finger-wagging political correctness in a movie purporting to give historical(sic) insight into the Crusades?

Dr Frank has the lowdown:
Kingdom of Heaven asks a question that has plagued historians for decades: what would happen if a late 20th-century, secular, agnostic, multiculturalist, progressive, sensitive Hollywood type were to be transported back in time to participate in one of history's grandest spectacles? Could one of the most embarrassingly culturally insensitive chapters of our history be rewritten or perhaps even avoided altogether, through the efforts of one determined, sensitive man who is as open-minded about stuff as we are?

It's a neat idea, and it is arguably needed now more than ever. So Ridley Scott, himself a knight like Walter Scott before him, sets the Wayback for the late 12th Century, and sends a former elf named Legolas back to medieval Jerusalem, just to see if he can single-handedly make the Crusades more palatable to modern sensibilities by forging a caring, mutually-fulfilling Christian-Saracen support network in the Crusader Kingdom.

Legolas has a degree of success, at first. Jerusalem folks, it is agreed, should stick together; Jerusalem folks should all be pals. Mohammedans dance with the infidels' daughters; Crusaders dance with the Saracens' gals. You're OK! No, man, you're OK! You and me are free to be you and me. These kids are all right.

And it might have worked, too, were it not for those meddling Knights Templar. Legolas ladles out prodigious quantities of chicken soup for the soul, and practically does himself an injury trying to buy the world a coke and keep it company, but there's just no way these Knights Templar are ever gonna be Peppers. No way. It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the whole idyllic, culturally tolerant People's Republic of Jerusalem, and these Templars are apples of surpassing badness. So in the end, the butterfly effect is negligible. The wise and gentle Saracens are finally provoked by the diabolical Templars into sacking Jerusalem, despite Legolas's spendidly anachronistic touchy-feely neurotic handwringing. Yet the handwringing does lend the story an otherwise hard-to-identify triumph-of-the-human-spirited-ness and transforms it into a Valuable Lesson for Us Today. As a caption reminds us at the end, the resulting conflict in the Middle East has lasted to this day. Maybe one elf with a time machine can't do it alone, after all. But, maybe, next time, with your help...

There's a long tradition of this sort of thing in movies, of course. Our hero will be the one guy with contemporary sensibilities, brooding and fretting amidst a swarm of depressingly ignorant, unevolved, unprogressive barbarians. He's not sure whether all this conflict is such a hot idea after all. "Maybe there's more to life than wealth and power and glory," the reluctant warrior will say. "After all, what has the minotaur ever done to me?" What he really wants, he realizes, is a more just society, good schools for our kids, funding for the arts, abortions that are safe, legal, and rare, some cage-free eggs, a 12 pack of Kabbalah water, maybe, and the love of one special person who truly loves you for who you are deep down inside. Of course, in order to give love, he realizes, one must be open enough to receive love, which isn't always as easy as it sounds. Above all, he really only wants to be the best parent he can be, even though it's hard to know if you've made the right choices till it's too late. Or that's how it seems sometimes. You need to set boundaries, but you need to give them the freedom to make their own mistakes, even when it hurts. It's a real dilemma. He throws down his weapons, sighs, pats the minotaur on the nose, and trudges off. We know how he feels...

Hilarious and brilliant review of a film that is obviously not so brilliant - apart from the SFX and the battle scenes - yet is nevertheless hilarious in its crusade against the facts of history.

Perhaps Losing my Religion by REM would have been the appropriate theme song? Not just for the movie I mean, but for the story of the entire Western liberal elite.

10:49:00 pm