Kingdom of Heaven is a victim of its own doing. Its story begins rapidly, moving into the characters before you even realize critical information is being provided. Given how quickly it begins, it's the expectation that this will move just as briskly to the inevitable battle during the crusades. It doesn't.
Advertised as an all out war epic, this is a plodding, dull, and flat out boring interpretation of the Catholic/Islam crusades around 1,000 years ago. Ridley Scott is a brilliant director, and once into the actual battle, it shows. Actually, it shows all the way through, with great lighting and set-up shots. It's a shame this is lost on pointless dialogue.
This one comes in just a little over the two and half hour mark, staying way past its welcome. It's aggravating to wade through so much dialogue. Had it served a purpose, it would be gripping and entertaining. It just keeps going though, and when it's all over, you can only look back and think of all the scenes that could have (should have actually) been cut. It's nice to see both sides given a chance though. Religion is obviously the catalyst, and both Islam and Christian are given a fair chance. Whether either side comes out as a winner is debatable.
This bloated production is ruined by its failure to entertain, the fantastic acting and set pieces losing any value in this mess. Yes, the final battle in Jerusalem is incredible, arguably beating down some of those from Lord of the Rings. It's intense and gory. In other words, everything this movie should have been.
The special effects in the final few war sequences are the best type: the ones you don't even know are there. It's odd that the early ones go so wrong. A few shots of boats out in the water barely qualify as special effects.
It's admittedly almost refreshing to see an epic like this have the countless lines of dialogue. It's simply not engaging to the viewer, and the sole purpose of any film is to entertain. That's not what happens here. (** out of *****)
This is an impeccable transfer, so all of that dead dialogue time can be spent admiring the clarity. You could spend it trying to figure out the flaws too, but that effort will prove wasteful. The only problem here, aside from a few shots of expected compression, is light grain. It's never distracting, and the battle sequence at the end can truly be appreciated in this widescreen print. This is a great looking DVD. (*****)