No matter the year, Orlando Bloom never goes out of style. The dashing English actor celebrates his 44th birthday on January 13 (which just so happens to be Liam Hemsworth’s birthday as well). We first started crushing on the Brit babe when he appeared on the big screen as the heroic (and hot AF) elf, Legolas, in The Lord Of The Rings film trilogy. He went on to star in other major epic blockbusters including The Hobbit, Troy, The Three Musketeers, Kingdom Of Heaven, and Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise.
The dad-of-two — who shares 10-year-old son, Flynn, with ex, Miranda Kerry, and four-month-old daughter Daisy Dove with her fiancée Katy Perry — currently stars on the neo-noir fantasy Amazon Prime Video series Carnival Row alongside Cara Delevingne.
As Bloom blows out his 44 candles, we are looking back at some of his memorable films and seeing them in a whole new light through the eyes of 2021.
Troy is a 2004 epic historical war film, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, featuring an epic ensemble cast led by Bloom, Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Diane Kruger. Based on Homer’s Iliad, the blockbuster portrays the battle between the ancient kingdoms of Troy and Sparta. While visiting Spartan King Menelaus, Trojan prince Paris (Bloom) falls for Menelaus’ wife, Helen, and takes her back to Troy. Menelaus’ brother, King Agamemnon, having already defeated every army in Greece, uses his brother’s fury as a pretext to declare war against Troy, the last kingdom preventing his control over the Aegean Sea.
Sure, the film is action packed, but the major theme of Troy is love and the notion that it transcends all. In the film, Paris and Helen are shown to live in their own world, not caring for the consequences of their forbidden love. Even while the battle rages on, the couple overcomes all odds, and eventually at the end of the film, the two of them escape the ruined city of Troy, saved by their love. Okay, so we don’t suggest being so selfish and reckless in love that you start a war, but there is something to be said about sticking it out with someone. In the world of swipe left and swipe right, romance may seem dead but these two actually give us hope, even in lockdown.
Cameron Crowe’s 2005 underrated romantic tragicomedy Elizabethtown follows a young shoe designer Drew Baylor (Bloom) who is down on his luck and was recently fired from his job after costing his company close to $1 billion. On the verge of suicide, he receives a call from his sister, informing him of the death of his father. He then decides to return to his hometown of Elizabethtown to lay his father to rest and, while on an empty red eye flight, meets the attendant, Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst), who changes his view and perspective of life.
With the ongoing global pandemic, a lot of people found themselves in Drew Baylor’s shoes. With businesses shutting down, employees being let go, houses being foreclosed — the feelings of hopelessness and anxiety these days are palpable. The film also has a central message of family and what success really means, something we have all contemplated lately. Hopefully, like the film, we can all come to terms with the obstacles we’ve faced and find peace in 2021.
The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King
The final chapter in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Return Of The King is arguably the best. The Oscar-winning fantasy film sets up a final confrontation between the forces of good and evil fighting for control of the future of Middle-earth. Aragorn leads the forces of good against Sauron’s evil army at the stone city of Minas Tirith, while Frodo and Sam reach Mordor in their quest to destroy the One Ring.
The film is the culmination of the ultimate power struggle and it would be impossible to ignore the parallels with what is happening right now in the United States. Sure, we didn’t have an actual ring to fight over, but we did have a presidency and control of Senate that drew lines in the sands, declared its solider and set up decency, truth, and empathy officially going to war with hate, lies, and selfishness. Even President-Elect Joe Biden considered the election, “A Battle For The Soul of The Nation” — which just sounds like a epic blockbuster film. While the short-term battle has been won, the future is uncertain, but hoping, like in Return Of The King, that lightness prevails over darkness, even if it takes a few sequels.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
As if the Lord Of The Rings trilogy (and subsequent film The Hobbit) wasn’t big enough, Bloom jumped right into another massive cinematic series. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, released in 2003, became the first in the franchise, with two back-to-back sequels, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, released in 2006 and 2007. Two more sequels, On Stranger Tides and Dead Men Tell No Tales, were released in 2011 and 2017, respectively.
Based on the popular attraction at Disney theme parks, The Curse of the Black Pearl follows eccentric pirate Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and swashbuckling blacksmith Will Turner (Bloom) as they rescue the kidnapped Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) from the cursed crew of the Black Pearl, captained by Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who become undead skeletons in moonlight.
Besides being about a supernatural curse, the film explores an interesting theme of stereotypes. At the beginning, pirates are seen as vile creatures of evil. This is reinforced when the pirates of the Black Pearl attack Port Royal. However, as the audience gets to know Jack, a new form of pirate begins to emerge; the image of the pirate as a good man. Piracy then becomes a moniker for freedom while Barbossa and his crew instead are realised as monsters consumed by greed. Greed then is the ultimate evil.
That flux, of who is actually a hero and who is the enemy, is very timely for the culture we live in today. It’s easy to revert to snap judgments or preconceived notions, particularly for those who identify as conservative, but that kind of thinking can be damaging and blinding. Whether it’s someone’s politics, background, or style, we all need to look a little closer to see the truth.
We also can’t help but wonder what Captain Jack Sparrow would say on Twitter in 2021.
Bloom’s latest film, The Outpost, is based on the 2012 nonfiction book, The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper, about the Battle of Kamdesh in the war in Afghanistan. During the war, several outposts were placed to control the Taliban movement and their supply chain. Camp Keating, situated in a valley surrounded by the Hindu Kush mountains, was one of them and widely regarded as a deathtrap. While being shot at by the Taliban was business as usual, the U.S. crew tried to gain respect from local village elders and have them help stop these skirmishes. One day, when 400 Taliban rallied for a surprise attack, it was up to the 53 U.S. soldiers and two Latvian military advisors to leverage the poor defenses and lack of ammo and manpower they had, to ultimately survive and go back to their loved ones.
As America remains deeply divided after the wild presidential election and tragic insurrection on the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters, a film like The Outpost is a reminder of what the United States really stands for (or should). In the film, and in real life, U.S. soldiers of all backgrounds came together to defeat the odds and their common enemy, and bravely risked their lives for their country and fellow men. If we as a nation had more of this sense of selfless unity, collective pride and brotherhood (and sisterhood!), rather than toxic partisan politics, just imagine how strong we would be.