The Kingdom II (Riget II) (1997)

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Released 8-Feb-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Selected scenes
Featurette-In Lars Von Trier's Kingdom
Music Video-The Shiver
DVD Credits
Theatrical Trailer-Europa
Theatrical Trailer-Breaking The Waves
Theatrical Trailer-The Kingdom
Theatrical Trailer-The Idiots
Theatrical Trailer-Dancer In The Dark
Theatrical Trailer-Dogville
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 287:12 (Case: 286)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Morten Arnfred
Lars von Trier
Studio
Distributor
Zentropa Ent.
Madman Entertainment
Starring Ernst-Hugo Järegård
Peter Mygind
Kirsten Rolffes
Holger Juul Hansen
Søren Pilmark
Ghita Nørby
Jens Okking
Ole Boisen
Birthe Neumann
Otto Brandenburg
Erik Wedersøe
Baard Owe
Birgitte Raaberg
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Joachim Holbek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame Danish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Danish for the Hearing Impaired
Swedish
Norwegian
Finnish
Romanian
Portuguese
Serbian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Originally conceived as a 13 part miniseries, the first series of Riget was completed in 1994, taking the series up to the end of its first third, but leaving the overall conclusion hanging in the wind and a lot of loose ends. Controversial director and series creator Lars Von Trier champed at the bit for 3 years before he was finally given the chance to take this series to the next level.

    Picking up where the last left off, Riget II opens right after the birth of Judith’s (Birgitte Raaburg) unnatural child. Dr Helmer (Ernst-Hugo Järegård) is going off the rails after his return from Haiti, Mrs Drusse (Kirsten Rolffes) is seeing massive culminations of the dead at the old Rigshospitalet, the two dishwashers with Downs Syndrome (Vita Jensen and Morten Rotne Leffers) are still calling the plays as they see them, Dr Krogshøj (Søren Pilmark) is still trying to hold everything together, and Nurse Rigmor (Ghita Nørby) still has some unfinished business with Dr Helmer.

    Riget II is definitely more humorous than its predecessor, taking a slightly lighter approach than the first series. Järegård is again in fine form as the evil and pathetic Hemler, and his portrayal really makes you wonder about this rivalry between the Danes and the Swedes. But overall, while sometimes gory, this is not quite as scary, and there are a lot more silly but chuckle-worthy moments than chills and thrills moments.

    Also, as with the first series, this is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. Danish humour is its own particular brand, and this kind of dark humour as epitomised by Von Trier is almost more obscure again. I chuckled my way through this series, but my tastes are not necessarily mainstream by any interpretation, and I find that the more I review, the more I watch, the less mainstream that sense of humour becomes.

    While still incomplete, the final episode ending the series at the two thirds mark due to the death of several key actors, do not let that open-endedness put you off. The moments of genius are worth it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    As with the first series, Riget II is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Full Frame, non-16x9 enhanced (not 16x9 enhanced as the cover states).

    In order to maintain the look and feel of the series, Riget II was also filmed on 16mm film, transferred to video for editing and special effects and then transferred back to 16mm. The DVD transfer preserves the original with all its washed out, sepia-toned charm and excessive graininess, minimal shadow detail, and limited colour-palette and saturation.

    There are not nearly as many film artefacts as with the first series, and the picture does look just a little smoother (mostly in terms of less grain). However, the white line down the left side of the screen is still present.

    Subtitles are available in the languages stated above. They are white with a grey / black border, though sometimes the border disappears and words can be a little hard to read. I can only assume that the English subtitles stay fairly true to the Danish/Swedish dialogue.

    The dual layer pauses occur between episodes on each disc.

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

Audio

    As with the first series, audio is available in Danish Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo only.

    This audio is slightly better than that done for the first series, largely because the recording technology had improved some in the period between the series. There seems to be more ambient noise in this series and a better overall stereo feel.

    Dialogue is quite clear and I noticed no sync issues.

    The rears and subwoofer were dormant for the duration of the series.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced. The main menus have audio and video from the leaf blowing sequence in the credits in 2.0 Dolby Stereo. The chapter selection menu has about 10 seconds of motion. The special features menu is a very cool EKG monitor set up. One of the better menu designs I’ve seen for a while.

Audio Commentary: Selected commentary by director Lars Von Trier, scriptwriter Niels Vorsel and editor Molly Stensgaard (Disc 1 & 2)

    Presented in 1.33:1, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a collection of 4 scenes (2 on disc one and 2 on disc two) with commentary by the director, scriptwriter and editor. Worth watching.

Featurette: “Inside Lars Von Trier’s Kingdom” (39:51) (Disc 1)

    Presented in 1.33:1, 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack, this is a decent documentary about the making of the series.

Music Video: “The Shiver” (1:53) (Disc 2)

    Presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame, 2.0 Danish Dolby Stereo soundtrack.

Bloopers: “The Shiver” (1:58) (Disc 2)

    Presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame, 2.0 Danish Dolby Stereo soundtrack and English Subtitles. Hard to think there would be bloopers longer than the music video itself.

Lars Von Trier Trailers (Disc 2)

    There are trailers here for the following movies:

DVD Credits (Disc 2)

R4 vs R1

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

    This series of The Kingdom is not yet released in R1. The R4 release is identical to the R2 Danish edition. Buy whichever is cheaper.

Summary

    Riget II is a fine half finish to this series. While we will likely never see the final conclusion as envisaged by Von Trier due to the deaths of certain key actors, this is the best wrap up that you will get – despite the incomplete ending – and is highly entertaining in its own right. Funny, but not as dark or as scary as the first series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS92, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 WXGA 3LCD Cineza Projector (10,000:1 contrast ratio) with 100" Longhom Pro-Series Micro-Textured White Matte PVC 1.78:1 16:9 Fixed Mount Screen with Black Velour Trim. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersJensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer

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