Arn: The Knight Templar (Arn-Tempelriddaren) (Blu-ray) (2007)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2007|
|Running Time||139:10 (Case: 134)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Peter Flinth|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
Swedish Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
Swedish DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Arn (Joakim Nätterqvist) is a young Scandinavian lad raised in a monastery during the mid 12th century in an attempt by his noble family to get him a good education. As well as learning to read and religious instruction, Arn is trained in the art of combat by one of the monks (Vincent Pérez) who had spent a considerable part of his life in the Crusades.
Returning to his family, the 17 year old Arn attempts a normal life but finds himself in trouble when he humiliates one of the King's favoured noblemen in a duel. More trouble follows: he gets pregnant a young woman he had fallen in love with whilst at the monastery, Cecilia Algotsdotter (Sofia Helin), only to find she had been promised to one of the King's sons. Arn and Cecilia are both excommunicated and ordered to serve 20 years penance. Cecilia is packed off to the nunnery, where she is tormented by the nuns. Arn is sent to Jerusalem to defend the holy land.
The film then follows Arn's adventures, juxtaposed with Cecelia's, as the two lovers long to be together. For example, while Arn fights in a vast unfamiliar desert, Cecilia battles oppressive nuns in an all too intimate environment; Arn befriends his enemy Saladin (Milind Soman), Cecilia befriends a woman (Fanny Risberg) who one day may be queen but for now is tormented in much the same way as Cecilia. Finally, the two are reunited and fight for the creation of modern Sweden.
To summarise Arn: The Knight Templar in a series of comparisons; the first act is Tristan and Isolde, the second act is Kingdom of Heaven and the third act is a bit of Braveheart. In 140 minutes the movie covers the story of three separate novels by Swedish author Jan Guillou, each of which probably deserved its own film. Indeed, a sequel to Arn: The Knight Templar based solely on the third novel was made back to back with this film, making the decision to cover an ultra-abridged version of the novels in this film even more absurd. That is not to say Arn: The Knight Templar is not a good movie. Despite a lack of substance in the story this is a particularly enjoyable film. Arn: The Knight Templar is an unusual instance where one good movie could easily have been three great movies.
The film is beautifully shot (if it were presented in the correct aspect ratio this could be a wonderful demo disc for its glorious cinematography and brilliant depth of colour). The story is well told even if the gaps in time are occasionally a little hard to follow. Some of the dialogue is a bit clumsy as it struggles to tell a lot more story than it should have. The all-round solid acting does a good job of covering the clunky dialogue, however. Stellan Skarsgård and Michael Nyqvist make up the supporting Scandinavian cast and do an excellent job.
Arn: The Knight Templar also features a good dose of reasonably well choreographed action, most of which looks to be physically done and dressed up with CGI, rather than predominantly CGI.
Arn: The Knight Templar certainly deserves to be recommended to fans of historic action epics but could have been so much more. Fans of the novels should probably be a little wary of this abridged adaptation of the books, although anyone unfamiliar with the novels (likely most English speakers) should find plenty to enjoy.
The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect, cropped slightly from the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p. The video is stunning, near reference quality, but the cropping is obvious and substantially affects the epic look of the film.
The image is clear and sharp. Mild filmic grain is present in most of the character shots which looks quite natural. Shadow detail is very good.
The film makes glorious use of colour, particularly during its frequent carefully composed landscape shots. The sun-soaked desert at sunset has rarely looked this good. The palette changes dramatically for the lush Scandinavian footage, although it looks equally stunning.
There is no sign of film artefacts or compression artefacts.
The non-English parts of the film are clearly subtitled. The translations make sense and are easy to follow, although I have to question their accuracy as in one particular battle the rallying cry from the Swedes is translated as "For Norway!" (readers, feel free to correct my historic ignorance here - I know that Sweden didn't exist as a nation at this point but would have thought a "For Gothia" cry, or some such, would have made more sense).
A Dolby digital 5.1 (640 Kbps) and a DTS HD-MA 5.1 audio track are provided, each featuring a mixture of Swedish, Latin, English, French and Farsi as is appropriate for the story. Each track is crystal clear.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Aside from some obvious overdubs, particularly in the English language parts, the audio is well synchronised to the video.
The film features a fitting, though unremarkable, orchestral score from Tuomas Kantelinen which is presented well in the mix.
The surrounds and subwoofer are put to good use during the film's action scenes and fair use throughout the rest of the film. The surround mix is nowhere near as technically impressive as the film's visuals but is immersive enough to support them, rather than enhance them.
|Surround Channel Use|
A two part "making of" featurette is included, presented in SD, which is cut together entirely from on-set footage and interviews. Most of the key cast and crew are interviewed and there is some good footage on how many of the effects and shots were set up. Well worth a look for fans.
Two simple maps outlining the geographical regions featured in the film are provided, along with three family trees outlining the relationships between the characters in the film.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Arn: The Knight Templar is not yet available in Region 1.
An exciting crusades-era action epic featuring a notable European cast. Its story could use a little more substance although the decent action sequences and beautiful cinematography do a lot to make up for any shortfall in plot.
The video on offer is gorgeous but in the incorrect aspect ratio. The audio is very good if a little run of the mill. The extras are modest but fair.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Optoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|