Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

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Released 12-Oct-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-Fantastic Four, Mr And Mrs Smith, Millions, Bratz
Trailer-Rosenstrasse, Flight Of The Phoenix, Night Watch
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Informational Subtitles-The Pilgrim's Guide
Web Links
Featurette-Interactive Production Grid - 6 Featurettes
Featurette-History Vs. Hollywood
Featurette-A & E MovieReal
Featurette-Ridley Scott: Creating Worlds
Featurette-Orlando Bloom: The Adventure Of A Lifetime
Featurette-Production Design: Bringing An Old City To Life
Featurette-Costume Design: Creating Character Through Wardrobe
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 138:37
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:39)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ridley Scott
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Martin Hancock
Michael Sheen
Nathalie Cox
Eriq Ebouaney
Jouko Ahola
David Thewlis
Liam Neeson
Philip Glenister
Orlando Bloom
Bronson Webb
Kevin McKidd
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Steven Robertson
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Stephen Barton
Harry Gregson-Williams
Martin Tillman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Information
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“To kill an infidel is not murder, it is the path to heaven.”

    Ridley Scott is arguably one of the best directors of our time. He is credited with the creation of some of the finest movies of the past 25 years; Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down, just to name a few. What each of these films offers is an unsurpassed level of detail that transports the viewer to another world and another time. Kingdom of Heaven is no exception; it is an epic feature that takes us on a pilgrimage from the cool climates of Europe to the searing deserts of the Holy Land.

    The movie opens in France, 1184, with the burial of a young woman who has committed suicide after the death of her child. Her grieving husband, Balian of Ibelin (Orlando Bloom), begins to question his religious beliefs, believing that God has forsaken him.

    Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson) is a Knight who has returned from the Holy Land in search of his illegitimate son, Balian. Although initially reluctant to follow Godfrey back to Jerusalem, Balian eventually accepts as he sees this as his only opportunity to seek salvation for the actions of his wife and himself.

    When Godfrey dies en route to the Holy Land, Balian swears to uphold his father's ideals of religious tolerance, promising to support King Baldwin of Jerusalem (Edward Norton). King Baldwin is resented by the Knights Templar for having negotiated a truce with the Muslim leader, Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), and for allowing the infidels to worship within the Holy City.

    Having inherited Godfrey’s estate and title, Baron of Ibelin, Balian quickly establishes himself as a man of honour. He gains council with King Baldwin and is well respected by the regent, Tiberias (Jeremy Irons). Balian falls in love with the King's sister, Sibylla (Eva Green), who is married to Guy de Lusignan (Marton Csokas), a greedy and ambitious Templar Knight. 

     Guy and his close confidant, Reynald de Chatillon (Brendan Gleason), are unhappy with the King's approach to appeasing the infidels and take every opportunity to attack Muslim caravans in an attempt to start an all-out war. When King Baldwin dies from leprosy, Guy, through his marriage to Sibylla, is crowned King. It doesn't take long for he and Reynald to orchestrate war.

    Balian becomes a reluctant hero who must help the population of Jerusalem defend itself against the Saracen armies of Saladin. The ensuing siege of Jerusalem provides a fairly accurate depiction of medieval siege warfare, from Greek fire and burning oil, through to trebuchets and siege towers.

    Kingdom of Heaven questions the religious beliefs of the crusaders in general and the Knights Templar in particular. They are more motivated by greed than salvation. Finally, Kingdom of Heaven asks us to look to the past, to find the answers to some of the greatest problems facing the world today. The events that took place during the Crusades are relevant to today and should serve to inspire religious tolerance and not fuel further hatred.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is excellent and near reference quality.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is razor sharp with exceptional shadow detail. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are accurately presented, whether depicting the forests of Europe or the deserts of the Middle East. Skin tones look natural.

    The only MPEG artefact I could see was some mild posterization in the night sky at 34:26, but I am being picky to nominate even this. I did not see any aliasing or telecine wobble and film artefacts were non-existent.

    There are two subtitle streams; English for the Hearing Impaired and The Pilgrim's Guide. The English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are well placed and easy to read. They accurately reflect the spoken word. The Pilgrim's Guide is a little unusual in that the text is displayed within a coloured box that obscures the lower half of the image. Although informative, The Pilgrim's Guide obstructs too much of the image for my liking. I believe that it would have been better served through the use of traditional subtitle text.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 69:39. The layer change was mildly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is excellent and near reference quality.

    There are two audio tracks, the default Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and dts 5.1 (768Kb/s). I listened to the dts audio track and sampled the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. Both tracks deliver clean, crisp sound that is nothing short of superb.

    The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, though some of the actors (Ghassan Massoud) have strong accents, sometimes making it difficult to understand what is being said.

    There are no audio sync problems with this DVD.

    The musical score by Harry Gregson-Williams takes on distinctive European and Middle Eastern flavours. It complements the on-screen action perfectly, whether creating general ambience or increasing the dramatic tension. 

    The surround channels are aggressively used to produce a sound experience that is near perfect. The viewer is immersed in the story and placed right in the middle of the action during the battle sequences. The only way the Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack could be improved is if it is re-released at a later date with a dts 6.1 ES sound track - raising the bar even higher.

    The subwoofer supports the soundtrack perfectly. It is used aggressively during the action sequences without ever becoming intrusive.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Kingdom of Heaven is accompanied by a comprehensive set of extras.

Disc One

Menu

    The menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. A themed series of animated and still images are accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track, playing haunting European tunes that are backed by choir.

Movie Trailers (15:43)

    The obligatory anti-piracy ads are followed by a whopping 16 minutes of trailers. Thankfully all, including the anti-piracy ads, can be skipped through. The trailers include; Fantastic Four, Mr And Mrs Smith, Millions, Bratz, Rosenstrasse, Flight Of The Phoenix, Night Watch and Le 16 Mars.

Informational Subtitles - The Pilgrim's Guide

    The Pilgrim's Guide is a subtitle stream that provides background information on the real people and events found in Kingdom of Heaven. The information is in-depth and also covers topics that are peripheral to the film.

Web Links

    A simple text page that encourages you to log on to www.foxmovies.com.au.

Disc Two

Menu

    The menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. A themed series of animated and still images are accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track, playing Middle Eastern tunes.

Interactive Production Grid (83:05)

    The Interactive Production Grid allows you to decide how you want to follow the production of Kingdom of Heaven. If you want to view the production from a particular point of view, you can select Directing, Crew or Cast. If you want to see a particular phase of production, you can select Pre-Production, Production or Post-Production. If you can't decide, just select Play All, as I did.

    The production information is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. English Dolby Digital 2.0 is the only audio track, though English, Dutch, German, Spanish and French subtitles are available.

    The program offers a fascinating look into the amount of work that goes into a production the size of Kingdom of Heaven. Up to 15,000 costumes were created, 20,000 arrows manufactured and a quarter of a million dollars spent on flags and banners alone. The main set, which was used to recreate both Jerusalem and Kerak Castle, was constructed in Morocco and consisted of 28,000 square meters of wall.

    Cast and crew are only too eager to sing the praises of Director Ridley Scott. Aside from being easy to work with, they credit him with having the necessary passion and vision to bring to life epic feature films. Watch any Ridley Scott film and you will understand what they are saying.

History Vs. Hollywood (42:58)

    A part of the History Channel's History vs. Hollywood series, this documentary is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:33:1, though it contains a lot of letterboxed footage taken from Kingdom of Heaven. English Dolby Digital 2.0 is the only audio track, though English, Dutch, German, Spanish and French subtitles are available.

    Unfortunately the documentary lacks detail as it tries to cover the Crusades, the Knights Templar, the history of Jerusalem, Saladin, castle defence, medieval weapons, siege warfare and much more, all in under 43 minutes. The highlight is its coverage of the historic Loarre Castle, Spain, which was one of the major sets used in Kingdom of Heaven.

A&E MovieReal (44:31)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1:33:1 this documentary contains a lot of letterboxed footage taken from Kingdom of Heaven. English Dolby Digital 2.0 is the only audio track, though English, Dutch, German, Spanish and French subtitles are available.

    Of the two documentaries, this one offers by far the greatest level of detail, providing an in-depth look at the Crusades, from the first Crusade through to the period of time covered in Kingdom of Heaven. It also spells out which historical events and characters are accurately portrayed in Kingdom of Heaven and which have been modified for the sake of a good story.

    The documentary gives an account of how medieval beliefs influenced people's thinking at the time, giving rise to religious zealots who were prepared to travel half way around the world in order to wage war in the name of God. By contrast, Saladin's chivalry was heralded in Europe and to this day his name is used to rally the people of the Middle East.

Internet Featurettes

    The following Internet Featurettes are little more than promotional advertorials. They are presented in an aspect ratio of 1:78:1 and are not 16x9 enhanced. English Dolby Digital 2.0 is the only audio track, though English, Dutch, German, Spanish and French subtitles are available. The featurettes cover the same ground as the Interactive Production Grid.

Theatrical Trailer (2:28)

   This high quality Trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, though it is not 16x9 enhanced. It is accompanied by an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this 2 disc set misses out on;

    Disc 1

   The Region 1 version of this 2 disc set misses out on;

    Disc 1

    Disc 2 appears to be identical so, unless French or Spanish is your language of choice, there is no compelling reason to purchase the Region 1 version of Kingdom of Heaven.

Summary

    I found Kingdom of Heaven to be highly entertaining but, despite the fact that it has the look and feel of an epic feature, it falls short of greatness.

    The video transfer is excellent and near reference quality.

    The audio transfer is excellent and near reference quality.

    Kingdom of Heaven is accompanied by an impressive set of extras. The A&E MovieReal documentary and The Pilgrim's Guide subtitle stream are the pick of the bunch. Both offer in-depth information on the Crusades and medieval life. They are well worth viewing if you have the time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aaron Devereaux (read my bio)
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Versions? -
DTS - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?) REPLY POSTED
RE:Versions? -
A&E MovieReal = sleepy time - Cupboard23 REPLY POSTED
video quality - Ron REPLY POSTED
New Version of Kingdom of Heaven - njd
Directors Cut -
Directors Cut - wolfgirv
director's cut- R4 -
re Director's Cut. -
Directors Cut- as good as it gets -
Kingdom of heaven - Directors Cut - njd
Re; As good as it gets - wolfgirv