Somehow I just expected more from Ridley Scott, I guess because I associate him with such wonderful movies as Alien and Thelma and Louise. But then I look over his credits and discover, to my surprise, that the list is full of crap like Gladiator (tied with Braveheart for Worst Best Picture ever, in my opinion), G.I. Jane, and Hannibal. Here we have a mud-and-blood epic with absolutely nothing new or interesting going for it, other than the obvious hope on the part of the producers that it will turn into a “franchise,” like (shudder) Sherlock Holmes, if the box office is good. This is an “origin” story, like Spiderman Comic #1, and the last thing you see on the screen is “And So the Legend Begins.” Oh, lord, I hope not.
An unintentionally funny moment, at least to anyone who knows history: The final battle involves an amphibious landing on a beach on the English Channel … only this time it’s the French invading England. The wide-angle CGI shots of the huge invasion fleet will surely remind you of D-Day. And when they hit the beaches they do it in craft that look pretty much exactly like LSTs, only made of wood. I have no idea if such craft actually existed in the 12th Century. Maybe it’s a case of horse-drawn carts resembling automobiles, in that they both have four wheels. In other words, when you create a vehicle for a specific purpose, all designers are going to come up with similar ideas. All airplanes have wings. All sleds have skids. All beach-assault craft are shallow-draft with a gate in front. But when that gate came down, I half expected Tom Hanks to come charging out to save Private Ryan.