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DVD Review: KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

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KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 144 minutes, text commentary, interactive production grid, A&E Network promo show, History Channel "History vs. Hollywood" show, four internet featurettes, and theatrical trailer

STUDIO: FOX/ Scott Free

RELEASE DATE: 10-11-2005

Ridley Scott first conquered sci-fi with instant classics like ALIEN and BLADE RUNNER, cop movies with BLACK RAIN, and now he has found a new kingdom with historical action dramas like GLADIATOR and now KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is expertly directed by Ridley Scott.    Orlano Bloom plays a blacksmith who meets his father who wants him to join him on a crusade to protect Jerusalem from Saladin.  The blacksmith become s knight and  a baron, and he must prove himself to protect the people of Jerusalem while the Templar Knights wnat war and they may get it if the leper king of Jerusalem (Edward Norton) dies.   The blacksmith is in love with the king's sister who is married to another.  I enjoyed the wide sweeping epic that KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is.   Orlando Bloom gets better with each acting role, but the rest of the cast still outshines him.

Ridely Scott had to cut out out an hour of footage from KINGDOM OF HEAVEN for the theatrical release and May 2006 is rumored to see the release of an extended cut of up to 220 minutes long (so 80 more minutes of this epic).

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic widescreen)

Another top-notch Fox transfer, but the extended version on the four disc set will probably look even better.

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, English 5.1 DTS, Spanish 2.0 DS, French 2.0 DS

Subtitles: English, Spanish (special features not subtitled)

The audio mix is beautiful. the surround action is heavenly.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The only extra on disc one is "The Piligrim's Guide" text commentary that provides historical and production notes while you watch the movie. I do wish the text commentary was less intrusive. They didn't need the big cross box around the text.

The lion's share of extras are on disc two The interactive production grid lets you play Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production featurettes from the point of view of the director, cast, or crew. Very useful grid and the featurettes have gems if info on KINGDOM OF HEAVEN and the featurettes are produced by one of the top DVD producers (Charles de Laurizika) who has also produced other Ridley Scott movies on DVD.  I enjoyed the post-productiobn featurettes on Ridley's tough decisions he had to make to get the film done to a reasonable length (like loosing several bits includinga subplot about the son of the leper king's sister) and the visual effects (many sets in the month are extended using digital effects)/sound mixing.

Other extras on the second disc includes a Movie Real show on KINGDOM OF HEAVEN that originally aired on A&E, a HISTORY VS. HOLLYWOOD show (aired on the History Channel) on this film, for internet featurettes that go behind-the-scenes, and the film's original theatrical trailer.

FINAL ANLYSIS:  KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is a fantastic two disc set, but the extend cut coming out in May 2006 (as a four disc set) will eclipse the first set.

Related DVD Review to check out- http://enterline2.tripod.com/holy_warriors.html

this DVD Review is (c)10-15-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and news/updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia