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Geri

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Foreseeing that many of you will want a place to record your first reactions upon seeing Kingdom of Heaven: The Director's Cut, I'm beginning this thread to house all of your reviews and reactions.

On behalf of the PEFIC and staff, however, I'd like to be very clear what this thread will NOT be used for, and that is expressing nasty opinions about the handling of the theatrical release of this film. We've been there and done that, and it's water under the bridge. A full discussion of this subject and all of its intricacies has been included on Disc Four of the set, and by those who made the investment of time and money to create this film; it should be regarded as the ultimate 'say' on the matter and we're content to embrace this Director's Cut as a gift, however belated.

So, let's go forward with the example that has been set for us by the graciousness of this film's leading man and focus only on the positive aspects that this new release has brought to us and to him, and having just finished watching it, I can tell you that those positives are many. I'll have to come back later when I'm not so overcome with amazement and when words return to express how wholly satisfying this beautiful, magnificent film now is.

Ladies, let the gushing commence! :crusader:

Edited by Geri

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I got to watch it last night and was surprised at how much better this version is. I mean, I've been reading the the rave reviews and all, but thought, "could it really be THAT much better?" It is. The added character development takes this from a stereotypical sword-and-sandals epic to a character-driven piece about faith and conscience.

The biggest change for me is in the character of Sybilla. I didn't "get" her in the theatrical version. She was just another generic love interest for Our Hero, and not one I connected with at all. (Well, aside from having the hots for Balian. :wink:) But now that her entire storyline has been restored, wow. Eva Green does a brilliant job of portraying a woman who is smart, loving, and doing her best to navigate in the male-dominated politics of the time.

Now, as a longtime Orlando fan, I caught a lot of the nuances of his acting that the reviewers seemed to miss the first time around - the eyes, the facial expressions, the body language. For me, Balian was pretty well fleshed out already. But the additional scenes and bits and bobs that have been restored add so much extra texture that no one can miss Orlando's "subtle acting style" now. Balian is now emotionally complex, a brilliant strategist, a man seeking the return of his faith. Orlando deserves the raves he is finally receiving for this performance.

I'm looking forward to watching this again with the commentaries and checking out all the extras.

My only complaint? Not enough extra Sid! :shiny:

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I got to watch it last night and was surprised at how much better this version is. I mean, I've been reading the the rave reviews and all, but thought, "could it really be THAT much better?" It is.
You know, Kira, I have to agree with what you said here. Let me first say this though.I didn't really have much of a problem with the theatrical release to begin with. I mean I knew there were things missing and holes that could have been filled, but I loved it from the start. I knew this version would be better, I had no doubt, but I kept thinking to myself, "How much better can it be?" I have to tell you that it has exceeded any and every expectation I had for it. I'm not really that great with words so I can't even express to you how amazing it is to me and how proud (make that more proud) I am of Orlando and his performance here. I already thought he was perfect as Balian, but now his performance even goes beyond that for me. And yes, Sibylla's story is much improved as well. Everything just falls into place and makes more sense.

I personally love that they put some more back in of the Ibelin scenes. That's my favorite part of the movie because it's the one time Balian seems somewhat happy and satisfied. Something I was also anticipating was the fight between Balian and Guy. Now THAT was something to behold. They must have worked so hard on that. I held my breath. :faint:

I also can't say enough about the extras on the DVD's. Every part I've watched so far has been great, interesting and fun. Getting to see Orlando's screentest was an extra special treat in my book - and hearing how wonderful they thought he was from the start. :wub: I just hope and pray with all my heart he hears as much of this praise for him and for this film as possible. He deserves every bit of it and more.

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Getting to see Orlando's screentest was an extra special treat in my book - and hearing how wonderful they thought he was from the start.

Oh, I think I will be watching that bit first. :cheer:

Thank you for sharing your Director's Cut reviews, ladies. :hug:

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Like spkles, I loved the theatrical release, but I was completely blown away by the director's cut. It's such a rich tapestry, with engrossing storylines and subtle nuances added, it is emotionally draining. One of the touches that really appealed to me was the whole symbolism of the circle of life, Balian does indeed end up a hundred yards from where he was born, but like the sapling we see his wife planting in the early flashback, he has grown and flourished.

I could rave about each and every one of the restored scenes, and though I would have liked the film to contain even more (some of the extended and deleted scenes), once I heard Sir Ridley's explanations on why those scenes were still left out, I appreciated even more just how much thought and love he had put into the project.

The extras are stunning, not one of them is mere padding. It was particularly fascinating to watch the rehearsals, and see how all the actors approached their roles. And of course I loved seeing Orlando's screentest.

In short, the director's cut of KOH is a masterpiece. I have just one small complaint about it - I want even more!

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Something I was also anticipating was the fight between Balian and Guy. Now THAT was something to behold. They must have worked so hard on that. I held my breath. :faint:

Oh, thank you for reminding me! The staging of that fight was creative and visually appealing, but what I enjoyed most was seeing the interaction between Marton and Orlando. That was a sight to behold - Celeborn and Legolas, completely obliterated by Guy and Balian.

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It was particularly fascinating to watch the rehearsals, and see how all the actors approached their roles.
Oh yes, Claire, how could I not mention the rehearsals?! :O I got completely engrossed in those. :clap: It was so interesting to watch the process they go through to prepare for their roles.

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I'll have to come back later when I'm not so overcome with amazement and when words return to express how wholly satisfying this beautiful, magnificent film now is.

Geri, I'm still in sensory overload.

:crusader: I believe!

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All of you have said it much better than I can. My only thought right now being that this version is a totally different movie. Too me the story now makes a lot more sence. The scenes that Sir Ridley added are amazing. I know that I will never go back to watching the theatrical version after this.

I decided to watch it with the commentary with Orlando, Sir Ridley and William Monahan. William kept saying that he thought that KOH was one of the best films of it's time. Yes, seeing as he wrote it, he is a bit bias. But I have to agree. I feel that if the pubic had seen this versions, they would have had a much different opinion of it.

Yes it IS that much better of a film.

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Nice comments, ladies, what can I add? Hmmm.

I specifically took the day off work today just to spend it watching this movie. :blush: Last night felt like the night before Christmas, I was so excited! It did not disappoint at all, although I will say that I'll stick to the theatrical version for the quick fixes I need and watch this version only when I feel like sitting still for over three hours.

I was completely floored by what a major change it was cutting out all the scenes with Sybilla's son. That changed the plot drastically! I must also add that the extra scenes with Balian's brother the priest made me detest him even more.

The most memorable new scene for me was the bathing scene, where Orlando gets to walk around in just a towel. Ahem. Short but very sweet.

I also quite enjoyed the swordfight between Guy and Balian, what hard work that was. Orlando comments that he's glad it was put back in this cut, and I agree with him.

I got a kick out of the fact that Orlando says the fight against the 3 Templars was one of his favorite scenes - it's one of mine, too! :shiny:

Christa

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Thank you Geri for starting us off on the right foot. :hug:

I've only gotten through the first disc of extras so far, so I'll just mention a couple of favorite moments:

- During rehearsals when Orlando first meets Eva, his voice when he said "Hello" to her :swoon:

- Hearing the peacocks during the scene with Baldwin

- Orlando's smile and laughter when the cute little doggy growls at him

I've enjoyed all the wonderful behind-the-scenes, especially the bit showing part of his screentest, but the above are the parts that made me smile. :blush:

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- Orlando's smile and laughter when the cute little doggy growls at him

That was frickin' hilarious! Plus I love how he grabs the doc cameraman to show him the little guy, too! So precious!

The part with the cast rehearsals was very interesting to watch, too.

I'm done with the special features for now (one disk to go!) but one more viewing of the movie is just what the doctor ordered for this drizzly evening. (I don't even know if it is in fact raining outside, since I haven't even looked since I got back home at 10:15am and curled up in the basement with the big screen tv. :shiny: )

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Where in the extras do you find Orlando giggling about the dog growl? I missed this I think.

Cast rehearsal is by far my favorite right now! :hott: I have never wanted to be a toothpick more in my life.

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I'll have to come back later when I'm not so overcome with amazement and when words return to express how wholly satisfying this beautiful, magnificent film now is.

Geri, I'm still in sensory overload.

:crusader: I believe!

I see I'm not the only one finding words to describe my feelings about this masterpiece. I think it may be sometime before I can truly express myself. I just know while I'm watching it, it's as if I've gone back in time. I'm seeing a young man named Balian grow into a kinght, not seeing Orlando play a part.

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It took awhile for me to digest much of this "new release" as that is what this movie is for me. I knew it would be better; I knew I would like it much, much more. I never realized what a major difference this cut would make for each character's arc. Oh, and Kira I said nearly your exact words about Legolas & Celeborn to my husband. He just looked at me.

Sibylla has now become sympathizable. (Is that a word?) Meaning, now I can sympathize with her and see, feel, understand why she is making the choices she makes. She just makes sense now. I nearly wept over the choice with her son!

Balian is now a fully rounded character, with much more emotional responses available for viewers to feel. His character is so much more human and you really understand now why he reacts in the ways he does.

The half-brother priest is a rat ( worse than I thought before) and I knew I recognized Mr. Gravedigger Number 2 from somewhere, I just couldn't place him.

Brilliant. :2thumbs:

A 4 :star: Film.

I hope I didn't blather on too much and hope that what I've said is understandable.

Off to finish the extras discs now.

Jeep

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Couldn't wait on the Amazon order though it is on the way, so I went out yesterday and bought three copies. I ran by to give one to my Mom and one to my brother then hurried home to watch it last night.

I was thrilled that they've both called me at work to talk about it today because I cannot stop thinking about it! They both were :O stunned at the new revelations and character developments.

Geri hit on my word choice already--- satisfying . It is everything I hoped for when I went to the theater last May. Lush, epic, and stirring.

There is a gorgeous, heartbreaking, unforgettable image of Balian's face in the first few moments that demonstrates Orlando's abilities as an actor more clearly for me than any I have ever seen. He has the faintest trace of a wistful smile with teary eyes that dissolve as the memory fades away and the reality returns. Masterful cinematography but the story is in his face . :cry:

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After a second viewing, there's just not much more to say that hasn't already been said about how this version completes the story, fleshes out characters and adds meaning to the entire film. One thing will never be questioned again- this is just a magnificent film in every way. It reminds me of classics like Ben Hur, Lawrence of Arabia and the Ten Commandments. It's monumental, an instant classic- and a long year in coming.

Having said that, I've always felt like there was an element to every film which I've found truly unforgetable, something I can't wrench myself away from, something that pierces me right where it counts. In this film, it's unquestionably Orlando. His often wordless, organic characterization of Balian is quite simply the pearl of this film. One can easily see why, at times, he says nothing. Dialogue would be superfluous, afterall, against that face when it alone expresses the character's despair, wonderment, earnestness, gentleness, love. Let's face it- he's just beautiful on screen, and that commands attention and draws extra scrutiny to his performance. Nothing suffers upon that examination, either. Whether its an intimate scene with only one other character or part of the siege sequence, a speech or knighting commoners to defend the city, he's at the very top of his game here. The sword fight between Orlando and Marton is absolutely mind-blowing. So many scenes come to mind which should receive similar accolades.

I just don't have the words or enough superlatives. I'm so proud and happy. Thank you, Sir Ridley.

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I spent all day and night yesterday watching the film and the extras. Not since Lord of the Rings has another film touched me as much. Orlando's performance really shone. I feel a renewed sense of pride in being his fan.

I found it ironic that 26 years ago, on May 23, 1980, I stood in a long line to see The Empire Strikes Back. As wonderful as that was, it pales in comparison to this.

Everything I'd hoped for was here: the fleshing out of the story, the addition of Sybilla's son, the :blush: love scene, and the justification for each and every scene in the theatrical release. Surely, this belongs on the big screen!

I was struck by something in the extras that I think was why we got to see this version: Sir Ridley walked a fine line between demanding "his" cut and catering to the needs of the studio. By being a diplomat, he was able to get them to release this DVD set. I think we owe them all a great big hand of applause! :clap:

It's especially satisfying to share this DVD with all the ka-Bloomies. I just hope those awaiting their copies get them really soon. :hug:

Beth 37

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:waaah: I can't buy this until the weekend!!!! I'm flat broke! I put the money aside to pay for a copy but wound up having to use it for something else, like gas for my car or some other stupid thing.

Sighhhhhhhhhhh.

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Cast rehearsal is by far my favorite right now! :hott: I have never wanted to be a toothpick more in my life.
:lol: I know, what was it with toothpicks there?! He and David Thewlis both had them!

Jules

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I forgot to mention what a joy it was to listen to the running commentary by Bill, Ridley and Orlando. There was a great mix of analysis, explanations, and humor. I highly recommend listening to it, because all three said they'd be up for a sequel. :O

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:yahoo: A sequel?! :faint::dbb: Maybe that's why he hasn't signed up on another project yet. :w00t: They are waiting to see how the DVD does. Please. Please. Oh, Please!

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Tonight I was able to finish the movie. What a complete and utter treat! The extra scenes make the film whole. It was completely absorbing as the questions I had before are now answered. I'm thrilled that this has finally come out. I felt more emotionally tied to characters, because I got to discover more about them; understand what they were all about - especially Sybilla. Orlando was absolutely wonderful; completely compelling.I really hope that he is proud of his performance, because he didn't strike a false note, throughout the entire film.

In terms of the extras that I have seen so far, I really like the cast rehearsals. It's interesting to find out about the process, watch the actors meet and bond and I'm also completely struck in this particular segment just how beautiful Orlando is.

Jules

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Well, so far, I have only seen the film, none of the commentary, and none of the extras.

What a magnificent piece of art.

Beautiful storytelling. Amazing cinematography. And wonderful acting.

I'm so proud of Orlando's performance. He showed such depth of character, and totally became Balian. His grief was palpable, and heartbreaking. His love was radiant.

He was wonderful. Just, wonderful.

I was worried that hubby might be bored watching a three hour movie. I figured that he was watching it just to humor me. I knew that I was wrong about that when he asked me to 'pause' it when he had to leave the room for a sec. He loved it as much as I did. (though he did voice his displeasure at the fact that I got to see Balian's gorgeous pecs, but he didn't get a peek at Sybilla's :lol: )

That last fight between Balian and Guy was fantastic! Beautifully choreographed, fast, brutal, and terrifying. It once again showed Balian's noble character. He stood tall before the vile Guy.

I wish that I had tomorrow off. I can't wait to see the extras, and to hear the commentary.

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I'm still digesting this film in all its glory - I've watched it once without commentary, once with, and I finally watched disc one of the extras last night and some bits from disc two. I can't get over just what a different film it is - I find myself staring idiotically into space on the train (and even here at work) thinking about it.

I loved the screen test - what really struck me was how well he conveyed

Balian even though he was physically in Paris mode (I forgot just how skinny he was then!) Loved the rehearsals, and Jante saying the he wore the costumes well - really? I didn't notice :whistle: .

My only gripe is that I wish they'd left that scene when he's waking up in the forge in. I gasped out loud when I watched it - Orlando just brilliantly showed Balian's devastation.

Favourite moment on the commentary had to be Orlando saying he had a word with his horse before the charge at Karak.

And I still can't figure out if I can see his sun tatoo when he gets out the bath, or if I'm imagining it. I will have to spend some time examining the screencaps at the weekend I think :naughty: .

Kathryn.

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