Arn: The Knight Templar [Blu-ray]
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Arn Magnusson (Joakim Nätterqvist) is trained from birth to become a skilled swordsman. After being double-crossed by a devious nobleman, he is made a Knight Templar and sent off to the Crusades as penance for his sins. Fighting to regain his freedom, Arn battles fierce enemy armies and becomes a hero.
Two Making-of Featurettes.
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who questioned authority or embraced exploration, thought and dialogue, science as opposed to religion and also brought more humane conditions for those who broke the laws. The result was the beginning of The Age of Enlightenment. All of this history is part if the story of ARN. Be good to yourself. Watch this movie!
In it's original form this was probably an amazing production. The script, acting, directing, and settings are stellar and have all of the potential trappings of an epic but with this one disk release it lacks the substance that it once enjoyed.
This edited and shorter version is choppy at times, and maybe one too many times because when the storyline grabs your interest, it quickly releases it again by cutting away to another aspect of the story and speeding up its timeline.
I gave it four stars for its overall entertainment value. It's a good movie, and, in fact, I'd give it five, if it ever comes back to its grand original which I would buy as well because I think it would make for great watching BUT, and here's the thing, it's not the epic, it's epic-lite with much of the flavor trimmed or cut away leaving me wanting something, well, a little more satisfying.
Most recent historical epics put a modern anti-religious spin on the Middle Ages, but anyone who has actually studied the period knows that religion permeated European culture. This is the first film of the period I have seen that depicts children being placed in monasteries to be raised by monks, women being placed in convents as penance for sins or because of family poverty, and in this case, a son sent to join the Knights Templar in the Holy Land to alleviate a potential clan conflict.
These were common historical realities of life in the Middle Ages that I have read about in the history books, but rarely seen depicted in film accounts of the period. In this film, religious devotion is assumed and shown rather then discussed in the dialogue. There are numerous scenes of Arn praying while clutching the ivory cross his beloved gave him, or praying while staring at the cross on his sword pommel. The Templars all kneel together in prayer before an important battle.
The film has a lot of small historical touches, such as the sophisticated medical care Arn receives from his Muslim captors who carefully stitch a huge gash on his face after the battle of Hattin. This is Muslim return hospitality for Arn having saved the life of Saladin earlier in the movie. These touches add to the historical realism of the film.
Nevertheless, for what it is worth, this is a solid film, the acting is decent, a little better at times, and somewhat worse at others, but overall the actors did their job. The visuals were inspiring as was the storyline - in fact, the storyline drove the movie, much more so than any acting or special effects; however, to be fair, Arn, for example, was a little too two-dimensional at times and other characters were not fully developed as well. This could be due to the unfortunate editing that others have noted before. However, that aside, the main story was inspiring and entertaining. Thus, it was, in short, a very pleasant movie littered with noble ideals and strong moral convictions. Sadly, these two characteristics are too often missing from other contemporary (US) movies and why this movie is a `buy' overall.
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