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91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous retelling of the Nordic/Gemanic Nibelungen legend
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...
Published on 7 Jan 2006 by Mark

versus
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great
I was curious about this film after seeing all the top marks it had received from reviewers here. I still didn't expect anything great from it, but it actually turned out to be not that bad in some respects, even though the production values aren't that of a typical film. I thought the music, however, was very good in parts.

I was slightly disturbed when I saw...
Published on 3 Sep 2007 by ZealousGuardian


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91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous retelling of the Nordic/Gemanic Nibelungen legend, 7 Jan 2006
By 
Mark (Leicester, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (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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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'Ring' Cycle without Wagner!, 7 Oct 2006
By 
This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot better than the critics would have you believe, 8 Jan 2009
This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (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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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grand fun!, 24 Sep 2007
By 
Jason Mills "jason10801" (Accrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Destiny directs our blacksmith hero (ignorant of his noble birth) to an encounter with the beautiful warrior queen. Naturally they fall immediately in love, and each makes off with a chunk of the meteorite that brought them together. I'm hazy about the details now, but somewhere in there he makes a sword from the metal and quickly becomes a dragon-slaying hero. There's a mad dwarf and a magical mask and all that stuff. It goes on...

For what is presumably a fairly low-budget production, this is a very good-looking adventure. It's full of nifty sword-play and legendary deeds of derring-do. The narrative never slows down, and however seriously you take it, it's 3 hours of great fun.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great, 3 Sep 2007
By 
ZealousGuardian (Scotland, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I was curious about this film after seeing all the top marks it had received from reviewers here. I still didn't expect anything great from it, but it actually turned out to be not that bad in some respects, even though the production values aren't that of a typical film. I thought the music, however, was very good in parts.

I was slightly disturbed when I saw the end credits start to roll a lot sooner than I expected, but then I realised that obviously it wasn't the end. The film is split into two parts, which makes it seem more like a TV series then, but the break isn't that annoying once you realise that it is in fact not the end, and the music during the credits serves to enhance the atmosphere for watching the second half, so it works out not too bad.

I wasn't sure what to make of the acting at times. The lead character, Benno Furmann, did come across as slightly unconvincing or unnatural at points, but perhaps that was more do to with his German mannerisms than anything else!

Overall, I'd say this was a fairly good film. Had the production values been higher and the acting more palpable, it could have been great, as the underlying story is quite interesting.

As another reviewer said, the soundtrack goes by the name of 'Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classy stuff indeed, 30 Aug 2008
By 
Ian Armer (Lancashire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Viking Saga Brought to Life, 9 May 2008
This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
If you like dark-age/medieval/viking age films then you will like this one. This film is a good film, its not in the league of '300' or 'Gladiator' but it was only ever made for TV. But the special effects of the Dragon are shockingly good. The story is long (3hours) and is full of twists and suprises, so explaining the story is difficult (I dont want to ruin anything). Here's what to expect.

Cursed gold, lots of sword fights, a dwarf, a dragon fight, cheesy grins, "evil pagan magic" according to the Christians, fit birds with swords, betrayals, courage, honour, tragedy, Ghosts, more cheesy grins, lots of frowning, sly looks and a very fit Queen of Iceland. And there is a moral to the story, dont take drinks off Ginger women.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, 22 May 2006
By 
This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
The first i heard of this film was when it showed on television. I was intrigued by the adverts for it and sat down to watch with my family.

It was a wonderful film and kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see if the wrong would be righted.

I wont go into detail lest i ruin the film for those who haven't seen it, but it is well worth buying.

At first i was disappointed with the ending because i am a happy-ever-after kind of person.

On reflection however, it was fitting and beautiful.

I have not bought this film yet, but plan on buying it soon and treasuring it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up the with Beowulf but watchable, 22 May 2009
By 
Mr. Matthew Sheen "MattSheen" (Chester, Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This is a made for TV movie that will not leave many disappointed if that is what you were expecting. Think Hercules or Xena Warrior Princess but with better acting and more accuracy given to the myth.

Everything about this film is good........but not great. It's not likely that Hollywood would make it into a proper feature film so if you like your folklore and legend buy it and give it a watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely good film, 18 April 2008
This review is from: Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
It is based on the Volsungs Saga but is not bogged down in difficult to read English or as long to read/watch. It is not 100% true to the story but it does the best, I think, that would ever be done by any film company. Altogether a brilliant film with great special effect a tragic Norse story line of deceipt and failed heroism. Very much worth buying especially for fans of Norse mythology. But do not expect it to be the exact same as the Volsungs Saga, it is not as dark and twisted but still extremely good.
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Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005]
Sword Of Xanten [DVD] [2005] by Uli Edel (DVD - 2005)
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