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Here's the DVD Times review. Glowing! (Bolding mine.)

Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut) | 22-05-2006 00:00

Just as Arthur Miller did with The Crucible in the 1950s and as George Clooney recently achieved with Good Night, and Good Luck, the arts have frequently turned to recreating past events to make a contemporary political statement. Now Ridley Scott is joining the ranks in a bid to say something meaningful about the Christian-Islamic conflict, the west versus east war of ideology which has dominated our foreign affairs for the past decade; in doing so, Scott has made one of the best films of his career with Kingdom of Heaven. Set during the bloody Crusades of almost one thousand years ago, this historical epic is the latest in a long line of films to paint a modern-day crisis onto a gripping cinematic canvas. Starring Orlando Bloom as a knight entrusted with the responsibility of waging war on the Islamic armies in the Middle East, the film originally tanked at the box office during its summer 2005 release but it has now been given a new lease of life thanks to Scott's persistence and Twentieth Century Fox's cooperation. This director's cut, clocking in at over three hours of screentime, is the definitive version of a film that previously promised much but felt distinctly underwhelming in its previous theatrical incarnation.

France, 1184: a united group of righteous Crusaders return home under the leadership of Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson). At the same time, Godfrey's illegitimate son Balian (Bloom) is mourning for a wife who he recently lost to a tragic suicide, made even the more pertinent by the community's decision to cut off her head in an act of religious defiance. Fuelled by anger and haunted by guilt, Balian quickly accepts Godfrey's offer to accompany him to Jerusalem in an attempt to achieve self-redemption and possibly even forgiveness for his late wife who may well be languishing in hell.

Encountering Guy de Lusignan (Marton Csokas), a pompous and undignified British noble, and his beautiful princess Sibylla (soon-to-be Bond girl Eva Green), Balian begins to witness both the multiculturalism within Jerusalem itself and the inherent greed and sin which threatens to topple the Christians on this most self-righteous of Crusades. Soon Balian does battle in front of the lusting eyes of Sibylla, hoping to win her heart whilst defeating the powerful Muslim army which is lining up to fight in the name of their God; moral complications arise, however, when their leader Saladin turns out to be a more noble, righteous and ultimately worthy man than any of the Christian leaders. Whilst Balian fights to exorcise his own demons, he must weigh up the moral and mental consequences of this war.

After achieving such immeasurable critical and commercial success with 2000's Gladiator, it is unsurprising that Scott would soon be accused of attempting to recreate those former glories with a similar historical epic. However, such criticisms are misplaced since Kingdom of Heaven is a very different beast altogether, fuelled largely by an excellent script from William Monahan. Whilst Gladiator had pomp and spectacle, Scott's latest film is more subtle, more refined and ultimately more fulfilling. Granted, it does feature some exquisitely-shot battle scenes which balance the precarious line of CGI and real-action well, but the narrative always rests on the capable shoulders of Bloom's Balian as he attempts to wrestle with the film's more introspective themes. Religion is always a thorny issue to confront head-on, especially in today's climate of instability and engrained xenophobia, but the filmmakers have thankfully managed to create something with power and resonance which never supports or condemns either side's actions. Neutral, yes, but nonetheless completely engaging and utterly rewarding.

Much criticism has been levelled at Orlando Bloom in the past for being a weak leading man, a pretty boy who seems out of his depth the moment he loses his elfish ears. Well, in Kingdom of Heaven he sheds off this image by producing a performance worthy of accolade; his Balian is haunted, out of his depth, a mere blacksmith in the midst of one of the biggest conflicts of recent memory. His alienation is compounded by an acute sense of guilt and, for the first time, Bloom perfectly captures these emotions through facial expressions and moments of quiet reflection. The supporting cast are all similarly good, with Edward Norton and Ghassan Massoud delivering fine performances as the respective kings. Eva Green manages to bring a warm centre to a story of hatred and oppression, and whilst the romantic subplot felt contrived and unneeded in the theatrical cut, here it is put into perspective by the added characterisation which has been rightfully restored.

Ever since his work on Alien and Blade Runner, Ridley Scott has been a master of detail and a firm believer in the power of spectacle, and with Kingdom of Heaven he has taken this sentiment one step further. Special mention must also go to cinematographer John Mathieson for making full use of his colour palette, finding ice cold blues for France and bright, glittering hues for the scenes in Jerusalem. Huge, organic locations spill forth from the screen and assault the audience's senses; giant, messy, visceral battles show the horrors of war for all of its putrid glory. One of the film's greatest achievements is the dichotomy that runs underneath the surface, the two threads converging into one at the end of the picture – the power of emotion and the power of war. But, lines are never easy to draw and Monahan is intelligent enough to release that shades of grey always spring up from such conflicts. Saladin is simultaneously the face of the enemy but also a firm believer in compassion and redemption, and even the caricatures in the script (namely Guy de Lusignan) show moments of patriotism and righteousness.

Whilst audiences were disappointed by the anaemic theatrical cut, Fox have thankfully realised the errors of their ways and released an untarnished version of Scott's epic. The film flows in a way that it never did before, characters become more rounded instead of mere ciphers and the end result is a picture that packs a much greater punch – largely because of the increased development and elliptical narrative which cements the film's themes and builds on the plot's strengths. Yes, it might be slightly overlong and there is the occasional heavy-handed moment, but I commend the filmmakers for their gargantuan efforts in bringing a fascinating period of history to light whilst attempting to repair the divide between the Christian and Muslim faiths.

snip

link to DVD Times article

:towel:

Aliza

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Thanks, Aliza. And keep them coming, folks. I am LOVING it. :towel: Oh the sweet vindication! :smoke:

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I thought the author of this article was gracious in granting Fox some of the credit for bringing the EE out. :whistle:

Aliza

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Well, in Kingdom of Heaven he sheds off this image by producing a performance worthy of accolade; his Balian is haunted, out of his depth, a mere blacksmith in the midst of one of the biggest conflicts of recent memory. His alienation is compounded by an acute sense of guilt and, for the first time, Bloom perfectly captures these emotions through facial expressions and moments of quiet reflection.

DO YOU HEAR THAT, WORLD?? The critics are finally saying what we've been saying for years. And it's NOT the first time he's carried a scene or even a film with those facial expressions and moments devoid of dialogue. I could name a scene from every film he's done where he's achieved complete mastery of that character through his expression of emotion.

Do you hear that, ka-bloomies? It's the sound of critics eating crow, globally. :lol: And it's only going to get louder and louder and louder. :smoke:

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Well, in Kingdom of Heaven he sheds off this image by producing a performance worthy of accolade; his Balian is haunted, out of his depth, a mere blacksmith in the midst of one of the biggest conflicts of recent memory. His alienation is compounded by an acute sense of guilt and, for the first time, Bloom perfectly captures these emotions through facial expressions and moments of quiet reflection.

DO YOU HEAR THAT, WORLD?? The critics are finally saying what we've been saying for years. And it's NOT the first time he's carried a scene or even a film with those facial expressions and moments devoid of dialogue. I could name a scene from every film he's done where he's achieved complete mastery of that character through his expression of emotion.

Do you hear that, ka-bloomies? It's the sound of critics eating crow, globally. :lol: And it's only going to get louder and louder and louder. :smoke:

Oh the sweet sound of critics eating crows. ABSOLUTELY music to my ears. And NO, it is not the first time Orlando has demonstrated his amazing talent of conveying a feeling or mood with his facial expressions. Take FOTR for example. When Boromir is struck down and Legolas comes running, Orlando does an amazing job of portraying the Elf's confusion and sadness. Being immortal, Legolas doesn't quite understand death, and yet knows he is losing another friend to that thing called "death." Such memorable moment. And what about Ned Kelly? Right before dying, Joe wants to take a last sip. WOW. Orlando may be only 29, but he has already mastered the art of conveying his emotions and feelings with his eyes and expressions alone. And THAT is true talent, folks.

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Much criticism has been levelled at Orlando Bloom in the past for being a weak leading man, a pretty boy who seems out of his depth the moment he loses his elfish ears. Well, in Kingdom of Heaven he sheds off this image by producing a performance worthy of accolade; his Balian is haunted, out of his depth, a mere blacksmith in the midst of one of the biggest conflicts of recent memory. His alienation is compounded by an acute sense of guilt and, for the first time, Bloom perfectly captures these emotions through facial expressions and moments of quiet reflection.

:2thumbs: All I have to say is HA!!

:moon: I don't think I have to spell out who that is for - you know who you are! Lol. Such a great thing to read on a Monday morning! Thanks aliza.

Cheers

CC :meow:

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Merely eating crow isn't 'I told you so' enough for certain loud mouths. But it'll do.for now.

Thanks Aliza!

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Thanks, Aliza! The only thing that restrains me from doing a happy dance and squeeing like a fool is that I'm using daughter's computer and she's in the room with me. So I'll just type YEA!!!

WW

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:2thumbs: All I have to say is HA!!

I'll second that CC! HA HA!

Those were great examples Suzie.

I can only hope Orlando himself is able to read these latest reviews and finally be able to exhale in knowing that he did an absolutely fabulous job in portarying Balian in this film. His blood, sweat and tears are finally getting him the long overdue recognition that he so rightly deserves. :hug:

Congratulations Orlando! :cheer: If you are ever feeling sad and blue, just stop in here, us ka-Bloomies will know just what to do. :wub:

Luv ya,:heart:

Cherie

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Well, in Kingdom of Heaven he sheds off this image by producing a performance worthy of accolade; his Balian is haunted, out of his depth, a mere blacksmith in the midst of one of the biggest conflicts of recent memory. His alienation is compounded by an acute sense of guilt and, for the first time, Bloom perfectly captures these emotions through facial expressions and moments of quiet reflection.

DO YOU HEAR THAT, WORLD?? The critics are finally saying what we've been saying for years. And it's NOT the first time he's carried a scene or even a film with those facial expressions and moments devoid of dialogue. I could name a scene from every film he's done where he's achieved complete mastery of that character through his expression of emotion.

Do you hear that, ka-bloomies? It's the sound of critics eating crow, globally. :lol: And it's only going to get louder and louder and louder. :smoke:

Amen to that, Geri! :clap: My first thought when they mentioned "for the first time", was "Duh.where the heck have they been?!" He's done this in every film he's been in!

But eventhough it's coming in late, all this praise for Orlando and KOH as a whole is wonderful and does my heart good. :wub:

Thanks, Aliza. :hug:

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I am sorry I have to be the one who goes all fangirlie. SQUEEEEEEEE!

:yess:

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What this makes me think of is those nasty articles written a while ago calling KOH a failure and asking Orlando to comment on it. His answer was that he was proud of his work on the film and that he valued his experience with Ridley Scott. I admired the strength of that response then. It is extremely satisfying now to see everybody admitting that the film is extraordinary and that Orlando has the presence and ability not only to carry a project this big, but to do it well. And, by the way, the man's got class.

~TF

:paperbag:

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I remember how disappointed we were with that Rolling Stones magazine article last year. Orlando was all enthusiastic and asked, "the movie is great, isn't it?!" The article said that he was answered "by the sound of waves crashing against the shore." Where is that person who wrote that article last year? Probably eating his own words, BIG TIME. :) And I completely agree with you, TithenFeredir. Orlando handled all the negativity with such class and wisdom, it's amazing. Well, the tables have been turned now and it is HE who is getting the last laugh. You see the banner picture of Balian above? Last year, when KOH was being literally buried alive and Orlando the subject of unbearable criticisms, I used the above picture to comment, "let's see who has the last laugh." Well, it's KOH and everyone involved, especially Orlando. Way to go! :clap: And hopefully, other big-name directors are reading these as well. Can't wait for tomorrow! :cheer:

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I know it goes without saying that we all have always been proud of Orlando's talent and work ethic, but never more so than now. Knowing how proud he was of his performance in KOH, finding out how the editors had cut it to pieces, then still having the grace and character to do the promotions without criticizing anyone involved is just fantastic.

After reading all the reviews, I have to wonder, is there enough crow for everyone? :lmao:

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What this makes me think of is those nasty articles written a while ago calling KOH a failure and asking Orlando to comment on it. His answer was that he was proud of his work on the film and that he valued his experience with Ridley Scott. I admired the strength of that response then. It is extremely satisfying now to see everybody admitting that the film is extraordinary and that Orlando has the presence and ability not only to carry a project this big, but to do it well. And, by the way, the man's got class.

~TF

:paperbag:

TF I totally agree with what you said and I have always maintained that Orlando has a tremendous amount of class.

May I say a big "thank you" to FOX for getting this DVD out to us and making so very many people happy.

:hug:

Charlie

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