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Sword of Xanten [DVD] [2004] [2005]

4.2 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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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, 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)
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Product description

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

Top Customer Reviews

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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I'd heard of this movie but never got a chance to see it, so when I found it here on Amazon at such a good second hand price I took the chance and purchased. I noted the bad reviews ("Bad acting", "Poor quality"), and good ("Fantastic retelling", "Great musical score") and I settled in to watch it.

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.
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Great film set around the time of the vikings the film is based on revenge jealousy murder and love a viking blacksmiths son falls in love with a icelantic princess but his mind is poisoned and he has no remembrance of the princess and is then married to some other this film has some great scenery a strong story and is a very enjoyable watch highly recommended.
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Ri I enjoyed the dvd
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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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