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|Kingdom of Heaven (4-Disc Director's Cut)
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Avg. Customer Rating: (based on 152 reviews)
Sales Rank: 148
Director: Ridley Scott
Publisher: 20th Century Fox
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Label: 20th Century Fox
Format: Box Set, Color, Director's Cut, Widescreen, Ntsc
Language: English (Original Language)
Rating: R (Restricted)
Running Time: 191 minutes
Number Of Items: 4
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Shipping Weight (lbs): 0.6
Dimensions (in): 7.4 x 5.6 x 1
Release Date: May 23, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: May 6, 2005
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days
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It's hard to believe Ridley Scott's handsome epic won't become the cinematic touchstone of the Crusades for years to come. Kingdom of Heaven is greater than the sum of its parts, delivering a vital, mostly engrossing tale following Balian (Orlando Bloom), a lonely French blacksmith who discovers he's a noble heir and takes his father's (Liam Neeson) place in the center of the universe circa 1184: Jerusalem. Here, grand battles and backdoor politics are key as Scott and first-time screenwriter William Monahan fashion an excellent storyline to tackle the centuries-long conflict. Two forward-thinking kings, Baldwin (Edward Norton in an uncredited yet substantial role) and Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), hold an uneasy truce between Christians (who hold the city) and Muslims while factions champ at the bit for blood. There are good and evildoers on both sides, with the Knights Templar taking the brunt of the blame; Balian plans to find his soul while protecting Baldwin and the people. The look of the film, as nearly everything is from Scott, is impressive: his CGI-infused battle scenes rival the LOTR series and, with cinematographer John Mathieson, create postcard beauty with snowy French forests and the vast desert (filmed in Morocco and Spain). An excellent supporting cast, including Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, and David Thewlis, also help make the head and heart of the film work. Many critics pointed out that Bloom doesn't have the gravitas of Russell Crowe in the lead (then again, who does?), but it's the underdeveloped character and not the actor that hurts the film and impacts its power. Balian isn't given much more to do than be sullen and give an occasional big speech, alongside his perplexing abilities for warfare tactics and his wandering moral compass (whose sole purpose seems to be to put a love scene in the movie). Note: all the major characters except Neeson's are based on fact, but many are heavily fictionalized. --Doug Thomas
On the DVD
The Kingdom of Heaven Director's Cut is truly a DVD set of biblical proportions. If you are familiar with Ridley Scott's excellent, albeit massive, extended DVD sets for Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, you have a pretty good idea of what you are in for with this set. The biggest difference--unlike the Gladiator Director's Cut, which had some nice new scenes that really didn't add much to the film--is that this cut of Kingdom of Heaven is a drastic improvement over the theatrical release. This extensive 194-minute version brings the film back to Scott's original vision, maintaining an impressive balance of history, plot, and believable period reenactments and battle scenes. The best way to describe the improvements on the extended version is the film is now able to breathe a bit more, it's less choppy, and it has stronger character development. In addition to the extended scenes (which now span two discs in a clunky Road Show presentation), there is an exhaustive three-hour, six-part documentary detailing every aspect of filmmaking from the development of the "idea" through post-production and release. Also included are three feature-length commentary tracks, the best being the first with Ridley Scott, writer William Monahan, and actor Orlando Bloom. Included on the original release but missing from this set are the A&E/History Channel documentaries, the theatrical cut of the film, and "The Pilgrim's Guide," the fantastic text commentary which pointed out the historical anecdotes as the film played. Fans of the film and completists will probably want to hold onto both versions. However, those picking up Kingdom of Heaven for the first time need only to look to this definitive version. --Rob Bracco
Among the best directors of our time, Ridley Scott (Gladiator), contributes generously to this extraordinary Collector?s Edition of Kingdom of Heaven. Featuring his Director?s Cut of the film and hours of fascinating extras including a six-part tour from conception to completion of filmmaking this definitive set makes what Variety called a "genuinely spectacular" film even more so!
An epic marvel that's as beautifully acted as it is visually awesome, Kingdom of Heaven stars Orlando Bloom as Balian, a Jerusalem blacksmith who has lost his family and his faith. But when his father (Liam Neeson) shows him his destiny, Balian vows to defend his country, and in the process, falls in love, becomes a formidable leader, and steps forever into history
Customer Reviews: Read 147 more reviews...
even better the second time around June 27, 2006
The original cut of Kingdom of Heaven was good, but this extended edition gives a much greater insight to the characters. It is a great movie that is well worth the time and even if you have the original, you should see this version.
I won't say anything new - that's the version to get. June 25, 2006
1 out of 1 found this review helpful
The director's cut of "Kingom of Heaven" solves most of the problems I had with the previous version. More than three hours long, the movie has gained "weight" that the story seemed to need. The characters are more developed and therefore much more interesting, like giving them an additional hour actually brought them back to the spotlight, while in the two hour version they seemed like, well, just some folks playing their parts between Big Battle Scenes. Balian used to be this ordinary blacksmith, who suddenly turned into a gifted strategist - here you get an explanation that is both convincing and so short, one wonders how come it was cut from the original version (the lead character was, in my opinion, it's weakest link, and when THAT doesn't work....). I'd still give the original a three and a half (it's Ridley Scott allright - the film looks gorgeous), and this one gets an additional star. Not a masterpiece, but a whole lot closer.
Wonderful Epic June 24, 2006
2 out of 2 found this review helpful
Kingdom of Heaven is a drastically under-rated film. Perhaps, politically, it came out at a bad time. Perhaps the American people (yes, I am American, but the USA is where this film seemingly did the worst) just don't care all that much about history not directly related to the United States. Who knows. But this film is simply fantastic. The scenery is gorgeous, and the entire film is incredibly well-acted. In my mind, Jeremy Irons truly stole the show, as he always tends to.
Historical inaccuracies are certainly present, but to a much lesser degree than in many other films that shall not be named. My only major gripes were threefold:
1.) The rather silliness of a practically untrained man suddenly becoming a knight of renown, defeating foes left and right and having a functional knowledge of military strategy without explanation.
2.) The Hollywood obsession with fire. I am so sick of every movie having balls of flame shooting through the air. It's ridiculous, ahistorical, and just. . . annoying. Jerusalem was not attacked with balls of fire. To make it so is painfully absurd.
3.) The entire Siege of Jerusalem. Definitely one of the best sieges in a film. Also totally Hollywood in many ways -- enough that it irks me every time I watch it. There's no way Saladin, logistically, could have attacked Jerusalem with that many trebuchets. It's simply not possible to haul them around pre-built, and building them takes time and materials. NOT ignoring simple logistic concerns like this, to my mind, would have made the film much better. (As a sidenote, horses in war do not charge for a half-mile at full gallop.)
However, overall the film was truly amazing to see, engaging, and hey - I loved it. I'd also like to take a moment to address some rather ludicrous statements by a previous reviewer who seems to accuse Ridley Scott of an anti-Catholic bias while simultaneously displaying a pro-Catholic bias in his assessment.
1.) The Christians in Kingdom of Heaven did not watch Muslim prayer "in awe of their amazing spirituality." Anyone paying attention can clearly see they are simply curious. This has historical precedent. The Christians -were- curious about the religious habits of the Muslims; finding them at once strange and familiar.
2.) The Catholic faith is not displayed as either brutish or ignorant. Prominent Catholics in the film, such as King Baldwin and Jeremy Irons are peace-loving, true men. As another reviewer pointed out - the film is told from a Christian perspective and so shows, quite well, the conflict between Christians. It shows those who were quite good, and those who were quite bad. This is historical fact. Ridley would have had to be out of his mind to ignore it.
3.) "God Wills It" (which I will point out contains no apostrophe) was a common phrase of the time to instigate battle. The Christians believed they were doing God's will. So 'God wills it' is obviously not incorrect. They would say that whenever preparing a movement against Muslims. And yes, historically they did use it as somewhat of an excuse to do great acts of evil. And the Muslims did the exact same thing, with pretty much the exact same catch phrase.
4.) Priests were not all good people. They -did- lie, cheat, and steal. One needs only crack open a history book, even one written by Christians, to find this out. Not all black people are gangbangers. Not all Christians are good people. To believe otherwise about either one is a vapid prejudice.
5.) Of course monks claim that goodness comes from defending those who cannot defend themselves. This has very little to do with Catholicism directly, and everything to do with the concept of Knighthood. Again - crack open a history book and one quickly finds that one of a knight's chief duties was the protection of the weak.
6.) And anyone who doesn't believe "Convert to Islam and Repent Later" was never said needs, again, to crack open a history book. Off-handedly, I can think of three historical figures during the Crusades who, when captured, converted to avoid disfigurement or death, and then repented when they were ransomed back.
To believe that portraying fact somehow casts a bad light on anything is absurd. Fact is fact. Bad people do bad things. Good people do good things. And sometimes good people do bad things. Hell, sometimes bad people do good things. That's history for you. But before making accusations of bias and prejudice, one should probably make an effort at learning the material, else one makes a fool of oneself.
As for Catholic traditions being largely ommitted. That's certainly true, and unfortunate. A bit more piety would have been nice to see in the film. Though the particular complaints are a bit silly. Godfrey not being sorry for one sin in his life shows that he is a good man - its cinematic. As is Baldwin's insistence that he will only confess to God; which I believe has some truth, historically -- but I don't feel like cracking open one of my biographies on him to check.
Even if it's not, however, show me proof that all Catholics observe every single doctrine of their faith. You can't. And it was no different 800 years ago.
(And yes, Saladin was a rather tolerant man, as remarked by people who actually knew him in life -- Crusaders who knew him in life, that is. Again - reading books is good for one's mind.)
All in all, fantastic movie that should absolutely not be dismissed as some Christian slam-fest by an Islam-favouring Hollywood director. Ridley may give slightly more reverence to the Islamic faith, but the reason for that is clear - current media portrays them all as psychotic terrorists - Ridley wanted to avoid that. Totally understandable, if not entirely historically accurate.
Still, I believe everyone with an interest at all in this subject matter should watch the movie, and read some books on the subject - and so decide for themselves whether the movie did or did not come close to any semblance of truth and 'rightness.' Enjoy it. And even if you don't find it accurate - enjoy it as a Hollywood film, because even if it weren't historical at all, it would still be a damned fine piece of cinema.
One of the best movies I have ever seen!!! June 23, 2006
1 out of 2 found this review helpful
Disclaimer: This review is not intended to offend anyone. I will be stating my opinion on the movie and how it relates to me as first a Christian and now as an agnostic. I know that there are good Christians and Muslims out there who strongly believe in their faiths and that the historical implications of this kind of movie do not reflect believers today, but I will reflect on those who committed atrocities in the past. I am sorry if this review offends anyone's beliefs, that is not my intention.
When this movie first came out in 2005, I cringed. As a history major, the last movie I wanted to see was one based on the fight between Christians and Muslims. The Inquisition, the Conquistadores, the convert or die issue, and the near destruction of indigineous peoples come to my mind, and make me not want to take part in any viewing or reading of movies or books that address these issues.
A few days ago, something told me to go online and check this movie out. I read many reviews here and most of them were favorable. So, I took a gamble and went out and bought it. First, let me say that I am a Ridley Scott fan, and have been for a very long time. I grew up watching Alien, Bladerunner (one of my favorite science fiction films), and of course, Gladiator(I know that many did not like this film, but I was in awe).
I put the dvd into my player and the first that struck me was the beautiful music that trasported me to another world and time. Ridley Scott knows how to frame a shot and hot to get the most out of it. The next thing that I noticed was the costumes that became more vivid and colorful as the movie progressed. The elaborate costumes were brought to life by the very talented Janty Yates; she knows here craft, and she also seems to enjoy it. The armor and the shields were all constructed for the film.
As the movie progresses, it gets more elaborate. The siege of Jerusalem is one of the most elaborate and stunning sequences ever put on film. I sat in my room stunned, I can only imagine what this was like on the big screen. Scott is a master of this type filming, I think that Gladiator was just a warm-up for this fim. It also seems that he went back and studied Lawrence of Arabia and perhaps one of the great filmakers of all time (Akira Kurosawa). Sir Ridley Scott is now in that elite category.
The cast is phenomenal, but how can yo go wrong with Liam Neason, Jeremy Irons, Brendon Gleeson, and the emerging Orlando Bloom (I hope that this movie elevates him to the next level). Saladin was great and enjoyed the actor who played in this role.
This actually made want to go and find out more about him.
As with all of Sir Ridley Scott's movies, there heart and soul to this wonderful movie. I did not see the theatrical version of this film, but I thouroghly enjoyed this three hour plus movie.
Everthing seemes to work for me. At the end of this film, I was stunned, I truly think that this is one of the best films of all time. The fact that there is much historical accuracy also makes this movie more fantastic. Before writing this rewiew, I sat down and watched the speical segment on the historical accuracy of the film. The historians state that to go to a movie and expect historical accuracy is absurd, and if moviemakers made them too real, then it would be a documentary. However true this may be, most Americans get their history from Hollywood fims, thet do not read or pursue this kind of knowledge. As a history major who some day wants to teach, I actively pursue more material on historical film. Recently, I purchased three books on the Crusades and I look forward to reading them.
This is a phenoomnal film; I rarely use the word masterpiece but I think it works in this vivid, colorful, wonderfully acted, and beautifully realized film. So, do not waste time reading this review, rush out and buy this extraordinary film from one of the true visionaries of our time.
This is a very good action film! What is wrong with those few negative people? June 19, 2006
1 out of 2 found this review helpful
I know that a few people who criticize this movie presume the movie is political, propagandic, and too specifically demeans Christianity. This assertion is totally the nonsense of the confused! I can explain everything about these assertions and defend the movie from them, and show them that they are not only justifiable, but also necessary in order to EXONERATE THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. This movie is about justice!
To say the movie specifically demeans Catholicism because it paints Catholics as murderers, is only 50% true, and no one likes half-truths. The value of the movie is in separation of Christian principles from the non-Christian principles, specifically murder. Murder is not a Christian principle (or a Muslim principle). Being Christian (or Muslim) doesn't make murder devourable. The movie portrays the Muslims and the Christians as equals in their bigotry, contrary to the belief of my review opposition. The movie assumes the point-of-view of the Christians who aren't murderers but soldiers in protection of all white Westerners of Israel, and they defend Christian civilians who cannot fight for themselves; this is their duty as a Christian army. This protection is perfectly in line with Christian faith and Christian principles. But, because a lot of religious bigotry occurred, which allowed the murderous wars of the Crusades in the first place, maintaining a peaceful co-existence in Israel between the Muslims and the Christians was difficult at best. Some Muslims and Christians murdered people of the other religion, and the armies of the two would have to get involved. It was a very touchy situation that was constantly inflamed by some people from BOTH SIDES, and the movie shows that. The reason the movie disturbed a few of the reviewers is that the movie must depict the trouble-makers of the Christian side because the movie takes the perspective of the Christians. Viewers should expect this (even if a few reviewers don't like to be reminded of the culpability of some people of their own side or religion) since the movie assumes the point-of-view of the Christian soldiers who, in their good and true Christian faith, have to keep the peace by handing out justice against the trouble-makers who break the laws and break the Christian-Muslim truce, especially since the Middle East Muslim army was larger by an exponent. Good Christians do not want to piss off the other side by acting inhumane and un-justified, not because they are scared, but because such acts determine the fate of the Christian image. The Muslims could've avenged the Christian invasion of a century before by wiping out all the Christians in Israel, but they did not; because, some of the Muslim army leaders were just as humane as some of the Christian leaders (despite that not all of each were humane), and recognition of humanity is what led to the peaceful co-existence between the two races there. They were both generally considerate of each other and did not want a war. War means deaths. Attitudes determine the true character of the Christians and Muslims and why the superior-strength armies of the Muslims did not avenge the Christians for what they did to them a century before. This movie takes place a hundred years AFTER the original crusader invasion on the Middle East Muslims, so none of the movie's Christian characters were directly responsible for the bloodbath in the Christian siege on Israel a hundred years earlier. Since the trouble-makers (of both sides) desire a "religious war", the movie subjects viewers to the specifics of how the Christian army has to handle their own who break the truce (and those who invoke God's name as they curse or murder Muslims for having a different social attitude, religion, and skin color). When a trouble-maker murders a few people of the opposition, the TRUE CHRISTIANS of the Christian knights have to carry out justice upon their own by imprisoning their Christian trouble-makers, even hanging them as was done back then depending on the crime.
I BELIEVE THE PROBLEM WITH ALL OF THIS IS, and I now address recent politics, that world crimes do not see true justice, but rather seem acceptable because we lost our vision of justice and our vision of the characteristics of murderous acts carried out in the name of a country, a land, or a religion that seem supported by confused patriotism or confused religious beliefs. This is only my opinion. Nevertheless, the flag or other icon cannot be an excuse to subject others (of different races, religions, and countries) to criminal acts which start through dehumanization of people from another side. If the movie's going to show the perspective of the Christian army, people will have to see some Christians who dehumanize Muslims of the Mid-East; a fact of life even today! However, the movie's statement is not a direct associate to a political wave, but it is instead merely an allegory that, in meaning, would rather seem to support religious beliefs, AND the United States which believes that freedom is not obtained through murder, but through acceptance of social differences. But, I shouldn't have to say what the United States stands for to show why it is a good idea to side with the film instead of to crucify it. It has nothing in relation to the United States, in any direct way, whatsoever. Anyone who says so is painting an inacurate picture based on their own culpabilities and not the culpabilities of the truly patriotic, nor the truly Christian.
This is a very good movie, an epic that rivals the scale and greatness of Lord Of the Rings: Return Of the King. (The movie-makers even constructed the largest set ever built for a film, with set-dressing and props covering a 360-degree view of that set!) The great shame of this movie is what happened to it, its mediocre U.S. box office sales, because finicky people there don't seem interested in intelligent allegories about real justice. However, most of the movie's feedback was extremely positive, and, where Americans saw the film, they felt it was a success and a great action film with a lot of depth in its underlying principles. Otherwise, the film had better box office sales in foreign countries and they all felt great about the film, of particular noteworthiness were today's Mid-East Muslims who seemed to appreciate the film's responsible tale as reflective of the greatness of Western culture and principles: of special note are the multi-national, multi-religion cast and crew of over a thousand people who all got along working on the set. Only a few Americans saw this movie as an infringement, to my knowledge. Even France's people whose Christian crusaders were depicted in this film appreciated its story and plot!
The people who gave negative reviews of the movie on Amazon all declared Ridley Scott's "Director's Cut" as better than the theatrical release. Excuse me, I meant to say "Sir Ridley Scott." And, I noticed that all of them watched the lengthy special features that pan across discs 3 and 4 because they said so. They write like their hearts and minds liked the movie and felt compelled to give a lacking star-rating because of their confused notions about political views. Aside from that, the special features are about the fun had by the multi-national cast and crew while making Kingdom Of Heaven, and they are just as fun to watch as the movie was to make. Because of Sir Ridley Scott, all of the money spent for this film is on-screen. It had a gargantuan budget; over a quarter-million dollars were spent on flags and guide-ons alone. Despite the length of Sir Ridley Scott's "director's cut" of the movie, a 3-and-a-half-hour road show version with entrance and intermission, it is perfectly enjoyable, and this "Director's Cut" version is better than the theatrical release: everyone agrees on this. I bought this "Director's Cut" DVD on the day of it's American release, and it really shows off a fantastic aural and visual presence on a nice home video system.
Sir Ridley Scott is one of the top five biggest directors alive today, which is why he received an English knight-hood in 2003. His films include "The Deulists," "Alien," "Blade Runner," "1492: Conquest for Paradise," "G.I. Jane," "Thelma & Louise," and "Hannibal." These are all great films in their own right. "Kingdom Of Heaven" is much better than his popular "Black Hawk Down," and even better than his more popular "Gladiator." At least 3 of his more recent films including "Kingdom" received director's cut DVD editions, and also did "Alien." The films he directed for the cinema have the greatest ratio of theater-to-DVD turnovers of any director, all 15 except for one: "1492: Conquest for Paradise." His is a remarkable record, and his successes are not limited to popularity; he receives a lot of recognition as an artist.