Taken from Zombie Times
The Controversy Begins The controversy over this film was first revealed in this eye-opening article in the British newspaper The Telegraph in January of 2004. In it, highly respected historians are quoted as saying the film is "complete fiction" and "panders to Osama bin Laden":
Sir Ridley Scott, the Oscar-nominated director, was savaged by senior British academics last night over his forthcoming film which they say "distorts" the history of the Crusades to portray Arabs in a favourable light.
The £75 million film, which stars Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson, is described by the makers as being "historically accurate" and designed to be "a fascinating history lesson". Academics, however - including Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith, Britain's leading authority on the Crusades - attacked the plot of Kingdom of Heaven, describing it as "rubbish", "ridiculous", "complete fiction" and "dangerous to Arab relations". The film, which began shooting last week in Spain, is set in the time of King Baldwin IV (1161-1185), leading up to the Battle of Hattin in 1187 when Saladin conquered Jerusalem for the Muslims.
The script depicts Baldwin's brother-in-law, Guy de Lusignan, who succeeds him as King of Jerusalem, as "the arch-villain". A further group, "the Brotherhood of Muslims, Jews and Christians", is introduced, promoting an image of cross-faith kinship. "They were working together," the film's spokesman said. "It was a strong bond until the Knights Templar caused friction between them." The Knights Templar, the warrior monks, are portrayed as "the baddies" while Saladin, the Muslim leader, is a "a hero of the piece", Sir Ridley's spokesman said. "At the end of our picture, our heroes defend the Muslims, which was historically correct." Prof Riley-Smith, who is Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, said the plot was "complete and utter nonsense".
He said that it relied on the romanticised view of the Crusades propagated by Sir Walter Scott in his book The Talisman, published in 1825 and now discredited by academics. "It sounds absolute balls. It's rubbish. It's not historically accurate at all. They refer to The Talisman, which depicts the Muslims as sophisticated and civilised, and the Crusaders are all brutes and barbarians. It has nothing to do with reality." Prof Riley-Smith added: "...There was never a confraternity of Muslims, Jews and Christians.
That is utter nonsense." Dr Jonathan Philips, a lecturer in history at London University and author of The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople...said: "The Templars as 'baddies' is only sustainable from the Muslim perspective..." Dr Philips said that by venerating Saladin, who was largely ignored by Arab history until he was reinvented by romantic historians in the 19th century, Sir Ridley was following both Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad, the former Syrian dictator. Both leaders commissioned huge portraits and statues of Saladin, who was actually a Kurd, to bolster Arab Muslim pride. Prof Riley-Smith added that Sir Ridley's efforts were misguided and pandered to Islamic fundamentalism. "It's Osama bin Laden's version of history. It will fuel the Islamic fundamentalists." ...Sir Ridley's spokesman said that the film portrays the Arabs in a positive light. "It's trying to be fair and we hope that the Muslim world sees the rectification of history."...
This article was noted briefly in the blogosphere (most notably on Dhimmi Watch, and a short but funny parody of the script by Blogger Ben Kepple, who tossed a Buddhist into Scott's "nonsensical" religious Rainbow Coalition), but the film was still a year and a half away from release at that point, so there was otherwise little comment in the media.
Dor the rest go to: http://www.zombietime.com/kingdom_of_heaven/