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KLSMom

atnzone review

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Rating: 5.0/5

In the age of DVD there are many different version of films. These include Unrated editions, Extended Editions, and the rare Director’s Cut. Many of these editions simply splice back in a few minutes of film. However there are a few rare cases when the director has the opportunity to go back and create a version of the film that was their complete vision. The massive 4-disc Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut is a necessary addition to the original release and the definitive version of the film.

Kingdom of Heaven is the story of Balian (Orlando Bloom), a blacksmith whose life is suddenly changed when his estranged father Godfrey (Liam Neeson) comes to his village and asks him to join him on a crusade to Jerusalem. Balian is uninterested until he kills a holy man for mocking his wife’s suicide. With nothing left Balian joins Godfrey in hopes of absolving himself from his crimes. During his travels Balian gains both power and respect, ultimately finding himself in the position of saving Jerusalem from the Saracen army led by Saladin. Mixed in with all of this is political upheaval and an impossible romance with a princess (Eva Green).

Kingdom of Heaven is unique in that its main character is not as vocal or aggressive as you would expect. Balian follows a strict code of honor, one that makes him a perfect knight. As happenstance would have it, Balian is thrown into a leadership position, one he is forced to embrace despite the fact that the events surrounding him eclipse any one individual.

When the film was originally released it had a lukewarm reception by critics and at the box office. People found it stale, uninteresting, unemotional. The Director’s Cut adds a whopping 45 minutes of new footage and completely fleshes out the story. Everything from character relationships to the theme of religion gets a complete overhaul for the better. If you found yourself bored by the original release, try to erase it from your mind. This is an epic masterpiece, one that should be released in theatres untouched by the critical hands of the movie studios, and will be known as one of Ridley Scott’s best works.

<<technical details and description of extras cut, nothing new here>>

It is the only DVD set I have seen that can rival the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Final Thoughts

Every copy of the original version of the film should be stricken from the planet. This is the only one that should ever be seen. Couple that with a flawless transfer and more special features than anyone could want, and you have an example of a perfect DVD set. Jeff Ritchie

I liked this review because, unlike many critics of the theatrical release, Mr Ritchie understands that a hero does not need to be vocal or aggressive, and that following a code of honor in uncertain times is in itself heroic. Balian certainly is a man of few well chosen words, and he fights bravely and well when he has to, but he is more a perfect knight than a hero, and Orlando conveys this beautifully.

The full review is here

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Thanks for posting that, KLSMom.

It's great to hear from a critic who realizes that Balian was supposed to be the way he is -- that it's not Orlando trying to be Russell Crowe and failing.

Now if only the world would acknowledge that Paris wasn't supposed to be heroic in Troy.

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Thank you for posting the review, KLSMom. Clearly, this person understands that Balian was an every day ordinary man thrust into extraordinary situations, and thus had to become extraordinary.

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