Movie Article

Worth the Upgrade?

Should you buy the reissued ''Kingdom of Heaven'' DVD? -- We tell you whether the commentary and director’s cut make the Orlando Bloom film worth it

Should you buy the reissued ''Kingdom of Heaven'' DVD?

Director Ridley Scott's sweeping tale of Crusaders fighting to keep control of Jerusalem cost $130 million, sports a cast of thousands, and lasts more than three hours. So it comes as no surprise that the four-disc Director's Cut (R, 191 mins., 2005) is packed with an epic proportion of extras.

ORIGINAL
Two plodding docs, from the History Channel and A&E, add little to our understanding of the film; watching sword fights feels like homework. The ''Pilgrim's Guide'' text commentary, meanwhile, offers such fascinating trivia nuggets as the fact that blacksmith is derived from combining black and smite.

REISSUE
Orlando Bloom intimates during his engaging commentary that the film's costume department helped fake his buff physique, while Scott's in-depth interviews boast a king's ransom's worth of anecdotes. (During the tumultuous Morocco shoot, the director had four bodyguards surrounding him at all times — even while playing tennis.) Plus, a superior text commentary includes an extensive array of factual information that helps frame the historical story line.

VERDICT
The director's cut is manna from Heaven for übergeeks seeking minute-by-minute behind-the-scenes detail — and teenyboppers who swoon for Orlando.

Originally posted May 26, 2006 Published in issue #879 Jun 02, 2006 Order article reprints