- 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, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Dolby
- Language: English, Spanish
- 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: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B0006ZLD0K
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,661 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Sword of Xanten [DVD]  
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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).
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Now ok, it's not your Hollywood, star studded, special effects laden blockbuster - and I'm glad of it, because I think it would have lacked something if it had been. Truth to original form, for one. There was something honestly real about the acting, as if I were watching people I knew reacting to real situations in real life. Far from 'bad acting', I found it to be more true to human behaviour than the pristine, 'always knows the right thing to say at the right time' acting we see in big movies.
The locations were beautiful, stunning in fact, with shots of the Aurora Borealis and snow sprinkled pines (even though the movie was shot on location in South Africa, according to IMDB...) that took your breath away. The fight scenes weren't too bad either, although as a re-enactor no fighting scene on TV ever looks right so it's hard to make a judgement there.
The storyline follows quite closely to the original Nordic story of the Ring of the Nibelungs; obviously much is left out as the original stories are far too big to accurately portray on film! You may also recognise "Siegfried and Brunhilde", which I did without realising it was connected to the Nibelung story! Brunhilde is played superbly by Kristanna Loken (The bad droid in Terminator 3), her portrayal of a proud and courageous warrior queen so fierce she could scare the testicles off a polar bear couldn't be closer to the original story character in my opinion.Read more ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the world's great stories. The acting a bit wooden, but the myth is strong.Published 4 months ago by pat quig
I liked it. Not brilliant, but well made and some very good acting (mostly). Definately worth a watch.Published 15 months ago by R. J. Chippendale