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4.4 out of 5 stars
Kingdom of Heaven 10th Anniversary [Blu-ray]
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2014
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The Director's Cut of KOH turns a slightly above average film into an absolute masterpiece (a term I do not use lightly). KOH Director's Cut is one of my all time favorite films. Some people criticize the film for being anti- Christian. I say those critics are short minded and see only what they want to see. KOH painstakingly shows the religious divide between true, devout believers AND those who use religion as a means to achieve their own fanatical (and often insidious) agendas. KOH paints a realistic portrait of religion as a driving influence among the common man in all walks of life - from the lost and forlorn to the to the fanatical, power-hungry and politically motivated, demonstrating how religion brings out the best in some people AND the worst in others. The movie draws a sharp distinction between "religion" (man-made, easily corruptible and potentially shallow) versus "true faith" (understanding the will of God by seeking to know Him).

The movie serves as enjoyable entertainment, but it also goes much deeper than that: KOH is a parable, and the major character (Balian, played by Orlando Bloom) resembles any number of characters from scripture whose faith is put to the test. Suffering from the stillborn death of his son and the suicide of his wife, Balian is declared a heretic by the local church in the attempt to drive him from the village and claim up his property. The movie follows Balian's character arc as he goes from questioning God's purpose in his life to fulfilling that purpose by the film's end. The film also begs to ask whether or not the hand of God can be "seen" (so to speak) throughout the entire film, moving and guiding Balian along his chosen path (i.e., being the sole survivor of the shipwreck, etc). In other words, is the supernatural present throughout the movie?

For this reason (and others) I find the film to be incredibly deep and thought-provoking. There are scenes filled with symbolism that are simply poetic (such as when Balian grabs the crucifix from the priest's neck and it scorches his hand). The musical score is tremendous and adds emotional heft and gravitas to key scenes throughout. There are plenty of thought-provoking quotes interspersed throughout the film, mostly by characters who truly seek peace because they believe it is what God demands:

King Baldwin (Edward Norton): "When you stand before God, you cannot say, "But I was told by others to do thus," or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice. Remember that."

Hospitaller (David Thewlis) "I put no stock in religion. By the word religion I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of God. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What God desires is here [points to head] and here [points to heart] and what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man - or not."

Village Bishop: "A law can go too far. I ask myself, `would Jesus do it thusly?' There is so much done in Christendom of which Christ would be incapable"

There are three versions of the film on this Blu Ray: the theatrical version (approx. 2 hrs.25 mins.), the director's cut (approx 3 hrs. 5 mins.), and the "road show" version, which is the director's cut with an added musical overture and intermission (approx. 3 hrs. 10 mins) which gives the movie that grand, epic feeling that encompassed so many of the classics of old like Gone With the Wind, Ben Hur, El Cid, etc.). All three versions of the disc, along with director's commentaries for each version, are on 1 disc. The second disc contains all the documentaries and other special features.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2014
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I saw this movie ten years ago when it came out and I was underwhelmed. You never really had a feeling of any of the characters' motivations. This extended version however, felt like an entirely different movie and was far more enjoyable for it.

This tenth anniversary edition comes with two discs. Disc one is the three versions of the movie: theatrical, director's cut, and the directors cut roadshow.

The roadshow version is essentially the same as the director's cut with an introduction by Ridley Scott, followed by a 3 minute overture, and an intermission coupled with a entr'acte. Apparently movies and plays used to have an intermission with a musical break separating acts 2 and 3, a forgotten tradition. I found it very interesting and enjoyable (and unique!) that there was a musical opening prior to the start of the film and a musical break in the middle.

There is also commentary by Ridley Scott and Orlando Bloom (among others). Disc 2 has a full length making of featurette along with many other bonus features.

For fans of good, epic movies, this is a must-buy.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2014
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Just got this in the mail today - IT IS THE CORRECT 2-DISC VERSION with all 3 cuts of the film (Disc 1) and a huge special features disk (Disc 2). This is the best and most complete release of this film to date, and absolutely the one to buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2014
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With the choice of standard movie release or the Director's cut made this exciting.
the Director's cut provides a lot of question you may have from watching the standard release.
That least it did for me .. Money well spent
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2014
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Highly underrated film. This was one of those films where I really wondered if the critics and I saw the same thing. Extended edition actually adds to the understanding and flow of the story.
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on February 24, 2015
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I'm going to speak on the PQ of this new 10th Anniversary release. The PQ on this new release is a big step up from the previous original 2006 release. First of all, it's now an MPEG-4 AVC encode over the old [DVD] MPEG-2 encode. The difference? The digital noise has been virtually eliminated. Only in a few select shots can you detect it, and that depends on your player's Picture settings. The AQ is about the same I think.

Perhaps the greatest improvement for this release is the inclusion of all the DVD extras that was included on the 4-disc DVD Director's Cut set from 2005. So you can retire that set if you'd like. This is just a 2-disc set...one disc includes all 3 cuts of the film, TC, DC, and Roadshow DC, which includes 4 extra minutes from the DC. Not sure what those 4 minutes are, but I'm thinking that it's the Musical intro and Intermission pieces. I could be wrong, but I don't recall the regular DC having those. I Give this release 5-stars for the film itself, being one of the greatest Medieval films ever made and the inclusion of the DVD extras and the improved PQ over the original release.
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on January 7, 2015
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I have always been a fan of Kingdom of Heaven. This is not to say that I loved the original, but I would give it 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5. Some motivations were missing for certain characters, while others did not make sense at all. This Ultimate Edition ties everything together neatly, and, in my opinion, perfectly. I apologize for being vague, but I do not wish to spoil anything. All I will say, however, is that I cannot believe that Scott was forced to take out a part of his movie that made everything make so much more sense!

If you have seen the original theatrical version of this movie, and felt that it left a bad taste in your mouth, pick this up. If you've never seen the original theatrical, watch it first, then watch the extended version. It is worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed going through the extended cut with the original theatrical fresh in my memory to see the wonderful changes and additions.

Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2014
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LOVE this movie. The extended cuts make it even better. an hour of extra footage that makes this movie even better!!
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on January 22, 2015
It should be noted that the excellent documentaries on disc 2 of the new 10th Anniversary/Ultimate Edition Blu-ray are NOT presented in HD.

I was greatly disappointed when this movie was originally released to Blu-ray without any of the excellent extras. I was then delighted to see that this had been rectified. Given that the bonus materials were created right around the same time that Blu-ray came out, I assumed that they were all created in and would be presented in HD now that they have finally been brought to Blu-ray. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Excellent movie, and excellent extras. I just wish the extras didn't look so bad. Still, it is at least good to finally be able to watch the phenomenal commentary with HD picture quality (instead of having to watch the DVD).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2014
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More complete development of characters and story as the director intended!
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