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Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut (Four-Disc Special Edition)
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An epic marvel that's as beautifully acted as it is visually awesome, Kingdom of Heaven stars Orlando Bloom as Balian, a Jerusalem blacksmith who has lost his family and his faith. But when his father (Liam Neeson) shows him his destiny, Balian vows to defend his country, and in the process, falls in love, becomes a formidable leader, and steps forever into history
On the DVD
The Kingdom of Heaven Director's Cut is truly a DVD set of biblical proportions. If you are familiar with Ridley Scott's excellent, albeit massive, extended DVD sets for Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, you have a pretty good idea of what you are in for with this set. The biggest difference--unlike the Gladiator Director's Cut, which had some nice new scenes that really didn't add much to the film--is that this cut of Kingdom of Heaven is a drastic improvement over the theatrical release. This extensive 194-minute version brings the film back to Scott's original vision, maintaining an impressive balance of history, plot, and believable period reenactments and battle scenes. The best way to describe the improvements on the extended version is the film is now able to breathe a bit more, it's less choppy, and it has stronger character development. In addition to the extended scenes (which now span two discs in a clunky Road Show presentation), there is an exhaustive three-hour, six-part documentary detailing every aspect of filmmaking from the development of the "idea" through post-production and release. Also included are three feature-length commentary tracks, the best being the first with Ridley Scott, writer William Monahan, and actor Orlando Bloom. Included on the original release but missing from this set are the A&E/History Channel documentaries, the theatrical cut of the film, and "The Pilgrim's Guide," the fantastic text commentary which pointed out the historical anecdotes as the film played. Fans of the film and completists will probably want to hold onto both versions. However, those picking up Kingdom of Heaven for the first time need only to look to this definitive version. --Rob Bracco
Top Customer Reviews
- did you realize that the priest at the beginning is actually the half-brother of Balian (Orlando Bloom)? Their relationship is much more complicated and unpleasant in this version, and we learn that Balian is in jail following his wife's death, thanks to his brother's claim that he is possessed by the devil.
- We also learn that Balian was an engineer before he became a blacksmith, that he built war machines when he was part of an army, and he's released from prison because the local lord needs Balian's help. So much more work is put into the establishment of Balian's character that by the time we actually meet him in the film now, we have a sense of who he is.
- The lord that Balian works for? Turns out, he's Neeson's brother, and when Godfrey shows up in the village, he's coming home. There's an entire scene that takes place at the castle where it's clear that his absence made it possible for his brother to take over, something that his brother doesn't want to see change. Since Godfrey has no heir, if he dies, then his new lands also become the property of the brother, something that makes more sense of the battle scenes involving Neeson and his group of soldiers.
- When Neeson goes to talk to Balian the first time, he stops at the door to the smith's shop, looking out at a particular spot. He flashes back to when he was younger, to when he was with Balian's mother, and that one moment says all we need to know about the particular paradise that Godfrey seeks and that he knows he'll never find again.Read more ›
Sometimes longer is better particularly when you have a complex story. The theatrical version of "Kingdom of Heaven" was flawed from the beginning with significant narrative gaps that undermine the character development and the smooth momentum of the story. That's because Fox had Scott cut the film by nearly an hour deleted significant and important character development at the expense of trying to fit in more showings per theater. The result was a sprawling ambitious project that had the epic scope of "Lawrence of Arabia" without the narrative strength. Thank God for DVD. "Kingdom of Heaven: The Director's Cut" restores the material demonstrating that the original 3 hour cut was a brilliant film that played theatrical late last year after the film had bombed at the box office. The reason the film bombed was the idiotic decision to cut the film and make it shorter reducing the film's impact. While it might not have made a huge amount of money it would have done well at the box office as a prestige film AND would have deservedly been nominated for Oscars. Much of the background story is fleshed out and the relationships between the various characters are more clearly defined. "Kingdom of Heaven" is a magnificent epic film that recalls the power of David Lean's epics and allows Scott's historical drama to breath. If you've seen the theatrical cut you owe it to yourself to see this major film from a major talent.Read more ›
I wrote a review for the theatrical release of this film which I will post below if you are curious what I think. I really wanted to just point out that if you enjoyed this film, you might not want to purchase this version. Back when the movie was first released in theatres, Ridley Scott was interviewed and stated that there was almost an hour taken from the movie. He also said there would be a director's cut that would have that material restored. Its not being released now, presumably, so that the studios can get their double dip. Look at Sin City (the "longer extended cut" comes out in December 3 months from its original release date) or Saw which is coming unrated this month to support the sequel. It happens all the time.
Overall, I think the film is decent and I am curious to see what was cut out. I just don't want people who are interested to waste their hard-earned dollars because the studio wants to double dip. Take what I'm saying as a grain of salt because things can change and I'm no "insider" so I can't say for absolute certainty that they will release the director's cut, but there is an interview out there with Scott about the director's cut. So, my recommendation (take it for what you will)?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this movie. The military knowledge of the main character seems a little unbelievable since he's a blacksmith at the beginning of the movie, not a soldier. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Pete
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