Learn more about this film's director in as we put Ridley Scott In the Director's Chair...
Kingdom Of Heaven - Definitive Edition [DVD]
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Epic adventure about a common man who finds himself thrust into a decades-long war. Orlando Bloom plays a humble blacksmith who discovers that he is the son of a knght, and travels to the Holy Land to fight in the crusades. A stranger in a strange land, he serves a doomed King, falls in love with an exotic and forbidden Queen, and rises to knighthood. Ultimately, he must protect the people of Jerusalem from overwhelming forces, while striving to keep a fragile peace.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great film, superb acting and fabulous actors. Epic film that is a classic,Published 2 months ago by T_Hawtho
epic movie and excellent picture quallity - highly recommended for fans of the genrePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
great film, bought it for a mate, so he could also realise what a great movie it truly isPublished 2 months ago by T. Walker
A brilliant film, based on fact. The story moves along well, and the scenes depict the way it was in the Middle East at the time. An excellent cast.Published 2 months ago by Geoff