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213 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A noble crusade...
Kingdom of Heaven was probably my favorite film of last year, and the 194-minute director's cut gives the film more room to breathe, but it won't make converts of the unbelievers. Instead, it's a more leisurely paced version of the film for the faithful who liked the theatrical cut and want to revisit its world and characters in a little more detail. Closer in style and...
Published on 18 Jun 2006 by Trevor Willsmer

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the Director's Cut
Kingdom of Heaven is a 5 star film trapped in a 'cinema screening-friendly' movie. Its' proper run time of 3 hours has been butchered to just over 2 and a bit. The results are self evident if you watch this release. It's uneven, it's choppy, the characters aren't developed enough and many parts simply don't make any sense.
Some...
Published on 20 Feb 2006 by oliraceking


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213 of 223 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A noble crusade..., 18 Jun 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Kingdom of Heaven was probably my favorite film of last year, and the 194-minute director's cut gives the film more room to breathe, but it won't make converts of the unbelievers. Instead, it's a more leisurely paced version of the film for the faithful who liked the theatrical cut and want to revisit its world and characters in a little more detail. Closer in style and tone to sixties roadshows than Scott's Gladiator, and all the better for it, in many ways it's the richest and most ambitious of the recent batch of epics. It's more of a journey in the extended version, and a bloodier one (the added violence will please the gore hounds), although there are a few moments that tip over into self-indulgence and could have been tightened or omitted entirely.

The extended opening allows more character detail, but at the expense of more of Michael Sheen's caricatured greedy priest, now revealed as Balian's brother. Orlando Bloom's limitations are also given a little more room than they had in the theatrical cut, but he certainly never stoops to the lows of Gerard "I'm wonderful, me" Butler in Beowulf and Grendel, Colin Farrell's Alexander or Clive Owen's truly catastrophic non-performance in King Arthur that left that film with a void at its center. Edward Norton's performance as the Leper King suffers a little from using different takes than the theatrical version, and at least one of his expanded scenes is simply longer without really being any better than its equivalent in the shorter version. The real winner in the extra footage stakes is Eva Green, who I think I'm falling in love with and whose part is considerably expanded and much more complex, allowing her a mass of contradictory motives (few of them noble), impulses and emotions that were smoothed away in the theatrical version. The subplot involving her son also helps add more of an emotional charge to Baldwin's death, with the shot of his leprous face no longer gratuitous but essential. In fact, in this version of the film, there are even a couple of genuinely touching sequences.

While the added complexity in this cut is more in the characters than in the plot, some of the problems of the theatrical version have been addressed. The shipwreck is just as rushed in this cut as in the theatrical version, but the pacing problems in the astonishingly spectacular siege finale are much improved by the addition of a fairly minimal amount of footage. It no longer seems quite so hurried and there's more of a sense of the human cost after the battle at the Christopher Gate that was lacking in the shorter version by the simple expedient of including characters we briefly get to know among the dead. There IS one massive miscalculation after the siege where a redundant swordfight has been added: not only is it completely ineffective, dwarfed by the sheer scale and weight of what has come before, but it's also unnecessary, winding up a plot point no-one cares about any more and simply underlining the events of the previous scene.

It also now comes with added Bill Paterson, which is rarely a bad thing, especially since his brief scene as a compassionate Bishop establishes the incompatibility of fanatical adherence to religious law with the actions of a loving savior that is one of the film's major themes. Although most of the Christian clerics here are transparent hypocrites, they are also counterbalanced by David Thewlis' Knight Hospitaler just as the `good' Muslims are counterbalanced by fanatics as both Saladin and Baldwin have to walk a tightrope with their own people to prevent war.

Thanks to a strong script this is easily Scott's best film since Blade Runner. Unlike Gladiator it doesn't feel like it was written on the hoof, and he has enough confidence in the material not to overdo the stylistics at the expense of the storytelling: here the visuals serve the picture, which isn't always the case in his past work. Even John Mathieson, probably the worst cinematographer to ever win an Oscar, finally delivers the goods. CGI is used sparingly and very effectively when it is (none of the poor FX problems that plagued parts of Gladiator here, thankfully). Instead, much of the spectacle is shot for real - not only is it usually cheaper, but it's certainly a lot more impressive to look at.

The transfer quality is not as good as on the theatrical version, but it's more than acceptable. While Blu-ray buyers get shafted with only a single trailer, the extra features on the 4-disc DVD set are impressive, including a deeply depressed screenwriter mulling over its US failure. Of the additional deleted scenes included as extras, there's nothing that needed to go back into the picture: most are ideas that didn't really work while a couple are just plain silly. The DVD also includes an interesting collection of trailers and TV spots that try to sell it as everything from The Passion of the Christ II in an outrageous piece of false advertising involving adding a "Don't worry, God is with me" line of dialog not in the film (particularly ironic considering its Humanist viewpoint and the crisis of faith of its hero), a family movie, an epic adventure, a country and western rock video and a kick-ass heavy metal teen bloodbath: anything to avoid mentioning Muslims or, God forbid, history. Can't think why this didn't take off at the US box-office...
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92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a butterfly from a chrysalis, 21 Sep 2006
I have the US version of this. Kingdom of Heaven was a better film that people gave it credit for but it certainly had flaws. The Directors Cut is far, far better- making this into a great film in my opinion. At least as good as Gladiator (in fact, if it weren't for the class injected by the late Oliver Reed into Gladiator, I'd say that Kingdom of Heaven DC is a far better film). The longer cut of the film gives far more time for characterisation and fills in quite a few of the blanks from the theatrical version of the film. This isn't just a few dodgy deleted scenes put back into the film- it's a completely different film with whole new areas of plot development. It's a first class effort and I'd urge anyone who even half liked the original version to buy it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wait for the Director's Cut, 20 Feb 2006
By 
This review is from: Kingdom of Heaven [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Kingdom of Heaven is a 5 star film trapped in a 'cinema screening-friendly' movie. Its' proper run time of 3 hours has been butchered to just over 2 and a bit. The results are self evident if you watch this release. It's uneven, it's choppy, the characters aren't developed enough and many parts simply don't make any sense.
Some put that down to Ridley Scott, harshly claiming that he's only concerned with visuals - but that's not the case in Kingdom of Heaven Director's Cut. Apparently recent screenings of the proper version were met with universal acclaim, some saying that it should be nominated for Best Picture! All the problems stated have been addressed, with the result being a truly epic piece of work.
It was clear from the first reviews of KoH that a Director's Cut of this film was more necessary than any other movie released in a long time. My advice is; save your money, don't worry about DTS (it'll be on the DC as well), and look forward to the 4 disk edition which has Kingdom of Heaven - as it was meant ot be seen - and 2 further disks of quality extras. If you haven't seen KoH at all, stay away until the Director's Cut is released.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit preachy for my liking, 21 July 2006
By 
Mr. D. J. Read (Alnwick, Northumberland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Despite the title, I did enjoy this film. Some of the skirmishes are stunning, as is the seige of Jerusalem near the end. The story is well told, and it is a cracking yarn about courage, and religious zeal. There are some great performances, though I felt Orlando was a bit wooden, however Jeremy Irons and the chap who plays Guy de Lousignon were both superb, the latter especially considering he is something of an unknown (Lord of the Rings fans may recognise him as Celeborn).

Historically, it is close to the truth, but I think Mr Scott has been a victim of the OTT political correctness that afflicts us these days, where the true history cannot be told for fear of offending and provoking. That in itself, is an indictment of the whole thinking of our society these days.

Knowing something of the history, it is evident that both factions committed attrocites of their own, however, Scott seems to adopt the stance that it was almost solely the fault of Christians, a factual innacuracy. But, living in this crazy world, I am sure you can all appreciate his reasoning. It seems this was out of a misplaced desire to appease those who may take offence (the pc crowd), and dampen down what could easily have been controversial. We all know what becomes of people who make any perceived slight, no matter how incongruous, to a minority religion these days.

And if you listen to some of the narrative, it can be very preachy, a few subtle comments of the danger of religion and fanatics, the value of human life above relics such as the city of Jerusalem, and a number of parallels covertly packed in between the two religions. There is even a quote from the king about being responsible for your own actions, and that whole exchange (when Orlando first meets the King), seemed like a rhetoric about being just and good, and without any substance, and is an example of a director trying to impart his morals onto his viewing public.

So, enjoy it, and try to enjoy it as a film, rather than the statement that Scott has tried to inject. Do not get bogged down in the hidden messages, as perhaps I have. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, maybe not, judge for yourself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This should have been released instead of the original, 22 July 2007
By 
Jealous_Again (Sheffield, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I'm so glad I took a chance on this extended edition, I watched it with a friend who's also a history lecturer, and not only did we agree that it was incredibly accurate in its portrayal of the conflict, it was also a rollicking good film.

The characters are so much more developed, due to the additional dialogue in the renewed scenes, and this leads the viewer to being more sympathetic to them, especially Balian, who came across as being quite a lightweight in the original. Orlando Bloom comes across much better in this version.

More scenes with the excellent Ghassan Massoud, who does a fine portrayal of Salahuddin. In fact, I would say that between himself and Eva Green, who were able to express intense emotions just in the look on their faces, and Edward Norton acting behind a mask, they outdid many of their contemporaries.

I would highly recommend this version, in particular, if you haven't bought the original.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb 4 Disc Version (Ridley Approved) For Peanuts Money!!, 29 April 2007
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This Extended Ridley Scott Approved Cut of his movie is far better than the released version and is now re-issued out of its 4DVD Card Box (£30 or more) and into this collector's metal tin. This "Definitive Edition" places all discs (4 in this case) in a shiny metallic embossed tin (later issues are in a card wrap) and at £10 or under - is an absolute steal. Unfortunately there's no booklet - a shame that.

The film itself is split across Discs 1 and 2, beginning with an Overture and continued on Disc 2 with an Interval - like an old style epic. In some places it's way more uncomfortable in the bloody department. When Brendan Gleeson (part mad, part catalyst for other people's evil) is unleashed on the Muslim King's village and family - it's not pretty. It's a ruse to deliberately goad him and his armies into war - and it works. There is a superb extension of the Eva Green scenes which fleshes out the story so much more (speaking of flesh - hers is quite lovely!). And right from the opening shot of men around the suicide grave of Orlando's wife, as it's a RS movie, every shot is lovingly framed. There are snowflakes wafting through the air, engrained dirt on hands and under fingernails, sweaty horses heaving under blood-stained chainmail above, swords dripping red stuff like it was the Meat Counter at Tescos. The attention to detail is fabulous. The battle sequences are awesome - thousands of extras - war machines, flaming balls smashing through turrets - unbelievable stuff. The cast - especially Liam Neeson, David Thewlis, Eva Green, Martin Csokas and Jeremy Irons - all surround Orlando with superb back-up. Liam Neeson in particular is fantastic.

On the downside though, and this may seem odd after all the praise, somehow Kingdom of Heaven just doesn't float the boat so much like Gladiator did. It's difficult to describe why, but something is missing. Unfairly Bloom got blamed for this - I don't think so - he's very, very good in it. It's just a shame it somehow doesn't grab the heart like Maximus did when clearly so much effort went into it.

The "making-of" documentaries on Disc 3 and 4 go on for hours - and are fascinating and in-depth - they make so many thrown-together DVD extras look like the utter filler crap they are. But the best bit is called "THE DOCUMENTARY" which is so long that it spreads from Disc 3 to Disc 4. It goes through the entire production of this gargantuan project - right from initial script discussions to Ridley in the editing room putting it all together. He even suggests the dialogue from the movie to go over the trailer (a suggestion they stupidly ignore). It goes into the music; the casting, the costumes, the effects, screenings of the initial cut... everything! In fact the whole process seems draining - and the people and money logistics of the production alone are mind-blowing. Then he brings it all in on budget! Unbelievable!

Is it any wonder this Director is held in such affection and awe in the industry. Ridley Scott loves film - and it shows - giving his loyal punters the goods on this exemplary 4DVD set. This is how an issue of a film should be done.

PS: How about a remake of "Forbidden Planet"??
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69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ridly Scotts Reprieve, 1 Oct 2006
By 
John P. Moore "bigbadjohn07" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Last year Ridley Scott returned to the world of period epics with Kingdom of Heaven, his chronicle of Christian forces' defeat in Jerusalem at the hands of Muslims during the 12th Century. The original theatrical cut, was released May 2005 to underwhelming critical acclaim and disappointing box office returns. The end result was that Fox announced that Scott's Director's Cut, featuring at least 45 minutes of additional footage, will be released May 23, 2006, probably to compensate for the lost money.

I was particulary disturbed to hear the prospect of an even longer interpretation of William Monahan's screenplay. But after watching the full 4 disks of this Director's Cut revealed not only that my doubts were unwarranted, but that Scott has lost none of his talent for telling stories; because Kingdom of Heaven: The Director's Cut is not just a movie that has earned a few extra points in rating's, but one of Ridley Scott's best, and moreover, a film that deserves its place in cinema history.

Kingdom of Heaven's great strength is its intelligence, and these extra 45 minutes of film restore its IQ to genius levels after its predecessor drooled its way to a pitiful $47 million in bills.
If you haven't seen Kingdom of Heaven, make sure you rent or buy the 4-disc edition. If you've seen the old cut, let the movie redeem itself and buy this masterful 4-disc edition. Ridley Scott has created some fine films in the past, including Alien, Black Hawk Down, and Gladiator -- with this new cut, Kingdom of Heaven can proudly join that group. I highly recommend this edition of the film.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STICK WITH IT, 6 April 2006
This review is from: Kingdom of Heaven [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Quite slow to start but well worth you patience.Acting was superb, this film has never had the credit it deserves.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Director's Cut - Kingdom of Heaven, 24 July 2010
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I saw the theatrical release of Kingdom of Heaven and found it deeply flawed. The editing made for very confused story-telling which no amount of superb cinematography could possible make up for. I watched the director's cut on TV recently and at last 'got it'! Soooo much better! Even Orlando Bloom, not the world's most gifted actor, came into his own. The relationship between Balian and Sybilla, much of which was cut out of the theatrical release, was much more beliveable. Forget the theatrical relase - this is the version to choose.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where's The Extras?, 20 Mar 2008
By 
The Film? Superb! Quality? Faultless! Extras? NON EXISTENT! Amazon says there's over 18hrs of extras but all there is, is a trailer for the film! Very dissapointing. I think they must have meant 0.18 Hrs of Extras!
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Kingdom of Heaven [DVD] [2005]
Kingdom of Heaven [DVD] [2005] by Ridley Scott (DVD - 2005)
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