Monday, November 07, 2005

Orlando Bloom: Hot is Not Enough

First of all, this entry is not meant to distress the many fans of Orlando Bloom, nor to in any way disparage his talents. Personally, I think he’s one of the most physically attractive actors to come along in the last five years. I can’t imagine anyone better suited to play the role of Legolas the elfin archer in “Lord of the Rings.” However, I can’t help but feel that some of his films have served to illustrate the principle that for women--if I may be so bold as to speak for them--looking hot is not really enough. Even as hot as Orlando Bloom.

First case in point is “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Recognizing the need to utilize an up-and-coming heartthrob for the role of romantic lead Will Turner, the filmmakers cast Orlando. And going in, it worked for me: one of the reasons I wanted to see the movie was to enjoy that beautiful face on the screen. However, it turned out it was Johnny Depp’s performance as the drunken ne’er-do-well Jack Sparrow that stole the show. Not only that, but Johnny suddenly became the hot-guy-du-jour. I’ll bet more than a few men found this puzzling. Me, I found Jack Sparrow so sexy I not only put him up on my computer wallpaper for awhile, but I dressed as a pirate that Halloween. Yeah, I’m weird that way.

Sometimes the things women find sexy even they can’t explain. I loved Jack’s eyeliner and quirky manner of dress. And of course he was damn funny. I suppose part of it was that he was clever and resourceful with a little ironic bungling thrown in for fun. And of course he was dashing and dangerous in a really bizarre sort of way. Anyway there was a whole lot more there to get excited about than you found in the blandly heroic Will, no matter how hot he looked when swashbuckling.

Things went even more awry in “Troy.” Again, Orlando looked great in his ancient Trojan togs, but the appeal stopped there when his character Paris turned out to be so self-centered and whiny. Movie fans know all about this sad turn in Orlando’s career so I won’t dwell on it any further.

My most recent foray into attempting to enjoy Orlando Bloom was this past weekend when we rented “Kingdom of Heaven.” Orlando’s physical appearance in this film was superb: the dark hair and short beard is a very flattering look for him. I don’t want to put any spoilers in here, so suffice it to say that unfortunately his character was ultimately undone by an unfortunate plot development. He makes a choice that to me made him seem selfish, unmoved by his own responsibility for tragedy, and eager to take glory when he actually incurred disaster. I was no longer attracted to him; in fact, I thought him quite off-putting.

Orlando’s performance cannot be blamed--he had to say the lines written for him. But this was the third time I watched a man with staggeringly good looks give a performance that pretty much drained him of sex appeal. That’s probably a bit extreme, but die-hard fans of the man have to be a little disappointed too.

What a waste of a pretty face, huh? Now if this guy could ever get to play a role that was strong, interesting, funny, dangerous, or truly heroic, it would be really something. It would be like, well, Legolas, only a bigger part. Maybe he has had such a role in some film I missed seeing, and I hope so. But I’m actually at the point when he doesn’t even look that hot to me anymore, and that’s unfortunate. Because whereas guys will pay to see Jessica Alba play any role, women don’t work quite that way. To get to us, the protagonist can’t simply be beautiful, he has to be able to shoot arrows with deadly accuracy while scaling a giant elephant.

Now that’s hot.


Erica said...

Diana, for once I have to disagree with you. But that's ok we can agree to disagree and still be friends (wink wink). I loved Orlando in Pirates and didn't find myself at all attracted to Depp/Captain Sparrow. Sure his performance was fabulous but the only swooning I did in the movie was for Mr. Turner.

As for Kingdom of Heaven, I put the disc in the DVD player and watched it for about, oh... 20 minutes, and that's all I could take. It was just boring. It had nothing to do with Orli, it was just, dull. So I can't argue with you on this one really.

Moving on to Troy. I loved Troy. Sure he was somewhat whiny and a bit of a jerk, but cringe... I kinda dig that in and of itself for some reason. If Paris were around today and didn't have to fight to the death he would be just another bad boy with an attitude. Women would find him attractive, or at least I believe they would. I thought he gave a very good performance in the movie, and in the end he did redeem himself and his family.

That being said if you want to see a good Orlando movie, please take a minute to see Elizabethtown and give Orlando another chance. I loved his character in this movie. He was sweet, funny, engaging, romantic, and generally fun to watch. It was his best work since LOTR in my opinion. And yes, he definitely had the looks thing under control in this one. Clean shaven with his naturally darker hair, long, and his style leaning towards the GQ side. This is the Orli I like to swoon over. So please give this one a shot.

In closing, sure Orli is no Hayden (wink wink) capable of taking out every Jedi in the temple or wielding a light saber with the dark-side anger and precision required to make any girl weak in the knees. But then again... who is :)

PS... As you can tell, my Hayden obsession is still going strong.

Diana Laurence said...

Hey Erica, no problem--I certainly expected at least ONE Orlando fan to come to his defense! It takes all kinds and not everyone has to agree with me. K of H was definitely a tough movie to follow and the ambiguous stance it took on the Christian/Muslim conflict was probably accurate in many ways but didn't make for good entertainment. The big problem occurred maybe 90 minutes in (BIG SPOILER HERE) when Orlando's character could have prevented the war and the destruction of Jerusalem by simply letting the good king of Jerusalem have his final wish: putting to death the evil guy who was in charge of the army, and giving his sister in marriage to Orlando instead so he would be the new king. So Orlando was made to say, "No, I can't have that on my conscience." The evil guy was spared, disaster followed. But apparently Orlando's character didn't mind having the deaths of thousands of innocents on his conscience, nor did he mind accepting the accolades of the city that he managed to win an eventual truce. And he got the girl in the end too. I really couldn't be happy over any of this knowing his decision was strictly to avoid his own personal feelings of guilt and resulted in huge tragedy. It was cowardly and selfish.

END OF I think what put me off was that the filmmakers seemed to think putting an attractive man in this role and treating him in the script like a hero would successfully sell him as a hero. I think the average woman is just not that shallow, and certainly it wouldn't work on a guy. I suppose the issue was particularly touchy to me because I'm so convinced that the erotic forces in life touch us more deeply than many people realize. Trying to make a sexy hero "on the cheap" just doesn't fly with me.

Hence my raveout! LOL And again, it's no reflection on Orlando Bloom himself...I like the guy and find it unfortunate he's ended up in this position more than once. I'll have to check out "Elizabethtown," so thanks for the recommendation!