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Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005]


Price: £4.37 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Benno Fürmann, Kristanna Loken, Alicia Witt, Julian Sands, Samuel West
  • Directors: Uli Edel
  • Producers: Volker Engel, Andreas Schmid, Konstantin Thoeren, Marc Weigert
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Dec. 2005
  • Run Time: 177 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006ZLD0K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,173 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

A fantasy-adventure story based on Nordic myths of the Ring of the Nibelungs. The story follows the son of a simple swordsmith, Siegfried (Benno Furmann) who repeatedly saves his country, not knowing that he is heir to a throne. He becomes popular with the Burgunds by slaying their bane, the dragon Fafnir but when the reward seems to be a huge treasure, Siegfried ignores the curse that lies on the hoard - which now seems to endanger his love to beautiful Norse warrior queen Brunhild (Kristanna Loken).

From Amazon.co.uk

The Sword of Xanten is a visually impressive historical adventure based on the same Germanic and Norse legends that inspired Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle operas and J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Produced for German television (and shot in South Africa), the film stars Benno Furmann as Siegfried, a prince whose family is slaughtered by a pair of evil kings; raised by a blacksmith (Max Von Sydow, still commanding as ever), he meets and falls for Valkyrie queen Brunhild (Kristanna Loken from Terminator 3) and slays the dragon Fafnir for King Gunther (Samuel West), which in turn, involves him in treachery, war, and separation from his beloved Brunhild. Well directed by Uli Edel (Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Mists of Avalon), The Sword of Xanten occasionally suffers from exceedingly purple dialogue, but the performances, action, and special effects combine to make for a rousing fantasy-drama. --Paul Gaita --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Mark on 7 Jan. 2006
Format: DVD
This film is a well crafted melding of the early Nordic Volsunga saga and the later high German tale of the Nibelungenlied. The amalgamation brings out a heroic myth with a universal appeal that is beautifully rendered by the film makers and the cast.
The legend itself has so many elements that it is impossible to encapsulate everything in a 3 hour film (Wagner takes around 15 hours to tell the tale in Der Ring des Nibelungen), but if you know the story you may be pleasantly surprised at how many of the lesser elements the filmmakers have managed to include indirectly. An example of this would be where in the Norse legend Brunhild is imprisoned by Odin behind a wall of fire on top of mount Hindarfjall in the Alps, and cursed to sleep until rescued by a hero. This is obliquely played out in a dream/astral projection sequence in the film.
The whole cast has been well chosen and play their parts with feeling. Benno Furmann makes a solid Siegfied though I must say that Kristanna Løken surpasses even my over-developed imagination in her portrayal of Brunhild, the beautiful Valkyrie queen of Isenland (Iceland). She manages to convincingly combine the strength of the indefatigable warrior queen with a captivating vulnerability. Alicia Witt is wonderfully skillful in presenting a sympathetic portrayal of the beautiful princess Kriemhild of Burgund. There is also great support from Max Von Sydow, Samuel West and Julian Sands.
Despite the budget constraints, the film production is excellent with stunning special effects and a strong, moving musical score. It is a bit of a shame that the soundtrack doesn’t seem to be released on CD, as is so beautiful and well performed.
If you love epic myth, then add this to your basket now. You won’t be disappointed.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Loxxibana on 7 Oct. 2006
Format: DVD
As a huge follower of Wagner's 'Ring' operas and Norse myth in general, I was very excited to see this production of the magnificent 'Nibelunglied' - the story of course used by Wagner (and Tolkien too), first written down in the medieval period but telling the story of the great Norse hero Sigurd/Siegfried from roughly 1000 years earlier. This has to be the first serious filmed version since a couple of German features from the 60s, 'Siegfried von Xanten' & 'Kreimhild's Rache' which were very well done, but are now probably so rare it's not even funny. (You can still find Fritz Lang's silent 'Siegfried' from the 1920s if you're interested, however).

Anyway, on to the DVD. Mercifully the film takes itself pretty seriously, without pandering too much to the kind of juvenile dumbing-down a modern audience might expect. But it doesn't prevent younger viewers from enjoying the spectacle (though note the '12' rating), and there's plenty to keep the attention of adults too - even ones who know the story! If you don't know the story I shan't spoil it for you. But it has magic swords, a dragon, a stern heroine, an exceedingly brave hero, and a dark and tragic love story which continues to enthrall us down through the centuries. There's no histrionic acting, scenery-chewing performances or moments of daftness. The acting, scenery, effects, camerawork and soundtrack are uniformly excellent - if only we could see more 'fantasy' films made like this. It seems that it takes the Europeans to show Hollywood how to do it properly.

By the way, the soundtrack is available under the risible title 'Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King', which makes the film sound like a kiddies' animated feature! Buy the album anyway - it's an odd selection of instrumental pieces and folk/opera/metal, but if you're into bands like Therion, Nightwish, Evanessence, Skyclad and Rhapsody (which I am!) you'll get a kick out of the music.

This is more than fantasy - it's epic myth and legend!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RG on 8 Jan. 2009
Format: DVD
Let me just say that I pretty much hate 99% of all films, particularly modern ones, they are generally a series of nasty cliches and hackneyed plots thinly disguised by clever camera-work or hip pseudo-emotional content.
I happened to catch this movie on TV the other day and after watching part 1 I was hooked. Whenever I watch a movie I always look hard and am generally disappointed, but with Sword of Xanten I couldn't believe it wasn't falling into the same lazy plot devices we see time and again.
When I had finished watching part 2 I was genuinely moved, something I haven't felt from a movie in ages. The story is very emotional and (in my opinion) brilliantly acted, especially by Kristanna Loken as Brunhild, an excellent casting choice.
This is not your usual fantasy fare but has the authenticity of legends passed down from ancient times.
More like this please movie-makers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ian Armer VINE VOICE on 30 Aug. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You know you're watching something special when even Julian Sands rises above 'wooden' and into 'character'. Sword of Xanten - series of an ever changing title across the globe - should have been a disaster. A ham piece of TV hackery that stayed firmly in the 'Xena - but not as much fun' camp. Amazingly, the 2 part retelling of the Nibelung Saga is a very classy affair indeed. Solid acting, a script that avoids post modern referencing and keeps simple and straight to the point, pretty good special effects, excellent (unavailable) music and level headed directing by Uli Edel (he of 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' fame and 'Body of Evidence' stinker).

The story follows the rise and fall of Siegfried of Xanten. An innocent pawn caught up in a complicated web of deceit. Promised to the Queen of Iceland, Siegfried sets out to discover his true identity and along the way encounters a dragon seiged kingdom, a manipulative king, a beautiful princess and dark magic. Like the old epic itself, the story is a tragedy, but a captivating one at that. A twisted love story between Siegfried, the Queen and the Princess, with some excellent set pieces and imaginative action sequences (the battle on the ice is very well done).

Part 1 and part 2 are completely different in tone. Part 1 is quite light and an old fashioned adventure. Part 2 is darker and more involved with politics (of the sexual kind also), deceit, murder and greed.

It shouldn't be this good, but obviously the god's were smiling...
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