This was a ghastly though vitally important stretch of history when Western civilization, whipped up by religious fervor and bitter poverty, confronted the Muslim world with both the sword and cultural arrogance.
Ghastly yes, but the sociological interpretations of medieval Europe and the reasons people went on crusade offered here are facile and embarassing. What one gets from reading the first paragraph of this review is that there was a Muslim world out there that all of a sudden was attacked by people who were "whipped up by religioius fervor and bitter poverty." Not only that, these poor, unenlightened religious hermits came with "cultural arrogance." The actual story of medieval Christendom is vastly different and certainly the Muslim world was confronted with the Sword - Muslim armies had been conquering Christian territory for hundreds of years. Now to the next poorly informed statement in the review...
"Kingdom" fulfills the requirements of grand-scale moviemaking while serving as a timely reminder that in the conflict between Christianity and Islam it was the Christians who picked the first fight.
This is just false. One, the movie does not depict any sort of first fight it is set around the year 1187. The conflict between Islam/Christianity had been a continual struggle for hundreds of years. And History shows that even the "1st Crusade" was by no means the Christians "picking the first fight" - such is the nature of the Western consciousness of history. Mr. Honeycutt simply does not know what he is talking about. Now to his further misunderstandings
This promise of rebirth and forgiveness lies at the heart of the story the film wants to tell. Indeed much contemporary thinking has been transposed on the 12th century, but then how else to make the Crusades relevant or even palatable to modern audiences?
Mr. Honeycutt seems to want us to believe that themes of rebirth and forgiveness are contemporary thinking. He must have absolutely no clue about Christianity or the worldview of medieval Christians. The gospel is precisely about these two things (see John 3:1-8, 2 Cor 5:17-21, Ephesians 1:1-14) and it is western secularism (contemporary thinking) that has no idea what rebirth and forgiveness really mean. These themes Mr. Honecutt astonishingly says are put into the film to "make the Crusades relevant or even palatable to modern audiences." Well, Mr. Honeycutt, I am very interested in the history of the Crusades, Christianity/Islamic struggles, as well as the aggressive nature of contemporary Islamic Jihadism. Western concern not to "offend such people" is evident in another part of the review.
The film wisely avoids showing the slaughter of Guy's army by forces lead by Saladin (Syrian film star and director Ghassan Massoud).
Why is it wise to avoid showing this slaughter? Perhaps to not offend the peaceful religion of our day? Saladin will likely come off as a noble and respectable person in the film - and this is not innappropriate as he did at times show mercy to his conquered foes, only selling them into slavery, or taking payment for their freedom, rather than killing them. There were thugs on the Christian side of things and the Muslim side of things. Reynald of Chatillon featured in the movie is an exhibit of a thug running under the guise of religion to further his own gain, something that the faith of Christians clearly rebukes (See 1 Tim 6:3-10).This review is somewhat of an expected spin put of these times by contemporary people. The narrative "we bad" "they good" is all too common in the West due to Western cultures brash rejection of its own long heritage. Secularists want us to think "Chrisitian bad" - "everyone else good" - do not be misled, we all have our share of "bad" - indeed it is the human heart that is the problem, not our civilizations. Listen to Jesus himself:
14And he called the people to him again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him." 17And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." -- Mark 7:14-23
And it is the human heart that needs to be forgiven and changed - such is the Mission of Jesus. It is he that brings "rebirth" and it is he that provides "forgiveness" and it is he alone, not those posturing in his name for power and greed, that is the faith of the Christian.