Kingdom of Heaven : First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

I remember seeing this movie when it came out on DVD originally and shutting it off it was so boring. I was probably 14 or 15. I've been wanting to rewatch it and have heard the DC is vastly superior, but part of me wants to watch the original first just for comparison's sake.

Is it worth the watch, or is it as bad as Rotten Tomatoes says, and I should just forget it and go straight to the Director's Cut?

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Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

The director's cut is the way to go. It's more than length: the theatrical version was disowned by one of the actors. Entire sub-plots are missing from the theatrical version. The violence was sanitized. Character motivations disappear. My friend, who has a history degree, hated the theatrical version but the director's cut is his favorite movie. It's night and day. The director's cut even appeared on one or two top ten lists by critics at the end of the year. Nobody watches the theatrical version except out of nostalgia, like the theatrical versions of Blade Runner or Legend.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Personally I thought the the extra material made it even windier and sillier (and more actively anti-historical), and the subplots far too often just introduced new plot-holes without solving the ones in the TC.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

"Anti-historical"? You must be thinking of Braveheart or Gladiator. My friend had primary source texts and he showed me how closely the movie matches up with the real story. They changed a couple of details but the broad strokes are correct, as are the armor, banners, etc. Even some of the more important interactions, such as the final conversation with Saladin, was documented and appears in the film almost exactly as it happened. I think you are nit-picking. Kingdom of Heaven -- in either cut -- is an outstanding historical epic.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Actually it is your friend who is doing a kind of reverse nit-pick: he has picked the bits of real history out of this film and claimed - or you are claiming on his behalf - that this makes it true to history, ignoring the fact that these bits are being used to give credibility to a series of big fat lies about the real people involved, about the Crusades, and about the Middle Ages and the medieval world in general.


They changed a couple of details but the broad strokes are correct


'A few details'??? Heck, the film actually starts with a massive lie:

“Europe suffers in the grip of repression and poverty. Peasant and lord alike flee to the Holy Land in search of fortune or salvation.”

The only real incident that was shown pretty much straight was the one of Reynald and Guy in Saladin's tent. Just about all the others are distorted in one way or another to fit Scott's agenda - the siege of Kerak, Saladin's sister, the council of war before Hattin, Balian making knights, Balian threatening to destroy the Muslim Holy Places, et cetera; there's a lie in all of these.


...as are the armor, banners, etc.


I grant you that most of the armour and weaponry (unlike the costuming) is not bad. It's a pity though that practically everything the actors do with it is absurd - Godfrey using a 12th-century sword to teach 'Balian' 15th-century fencing moves devised for a quite different type of sword; Templars charging into battle with their shields still slung and banging about uselessly on their backs; that pointless-but-cool-looking double-curve cavalry charge outside Kerak.

But the banners are beyond ludicrous. When the Frankish infantry march off towards Hattin, just about every 6th man has an (identical) banner, which defeats the whole purpose of banners. And the heraldry generally is not only not accurate - for which I don't blame them; a modern audience would find the kaleidoscope of blazon in a real medieval army visually baffling - but incoherent. The white-and-gold arms of the Kings of Jerusalem are famous; presumably they just felt that wouldn't show up well on screen, and that was why they changed to sky-blue. But, when they found the actual arms of Ibelin - nice, simple, distinctive - they changed the colours and elaborated the design. Why? The two most powerful nobles of the kingdom, both married and with children, go around dressed as Templar monks vowed to poverty and celibacy. Why? And as far as the heraldry goes, Balian appears to be the only baron in the kingdom, and to have the only feudal following, because literally everybody else is wearing either the habit of one of the military monastic orders (including one that didn't exist yet!) or the arms of the King. Why?

I'm not saying correct heraldry is all that important - if this film was in any way honest about the Crusades, the historical people it's claiming to portray, or the Middle Ages in general, I could stand any amount of rubbish heraldry. But you claimed in defence of the film that it had 'correct banners', and it just hasn't.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

syntinem.. the extrended Directors cut makes this from an average movie to a very very good movie
Not sure where your basis is from

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?


the extrended Directors cut makes this from an average movie to a very very good movie


But that, as this thread illustrates, is a matter of opinion. You think it does; I don't.

What do you mean by 'my basis'?

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Watch the director's cut or don't watch it at all.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Watch neither and instead get some good books or more accurate documentaries about the crusades. This movie is PC revisionist *beep* that's being sold as a "historical epic". Seriously, learn some facts and history about the crusades and you'll learn to actually despise this movie and its blatant whitewashing and PC revisionism.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Come on man. you are way too harsh. Everyone, including William Monahan, the writer, knows that it is historical FICTION. They weren't trying to have a historically faithful retelling of the crusades. Just an exciting fictional story based around some historical events and people.

Whitewashing is part of hollywood but wasn't really that bad in this film compared to most current epics. For the most part it had Europeans playing Europeans, and middle easterners playing middle easterners. I didn't see many white people playing middle eastern characters.

Also didn't see how this was all that pc....I hate PC culture...believe me! I'm an active anti feminist and anti SJW and I don't really see how this is that PC. Please explain because I understand that this movie had Bailin making speeches you can say are about "religious tolerance" which is a common concept these days. However to assume that no person held and voiced such beliefs about freedom of religion in any era is just false and baseless...especially when commenting on a historical fiction.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?


Everyone, including William Monahan, the writer, knows that it is historical FICTION. They weren't trying to have a historically faithful retelling of the crusades. Just an exciting fictional story based around some historical events and people.


But that's simply not true.

Any film that wraps with an end title saying portentously 'The King, Richard the Lionheart, went on to the Holy Land and crusaded for three years. His struggle to regain Jerusalem ended in an uneasy truce with Saladin. Nearly a thousand years later, peace in the Kingdom of Heaven remains elusive.' is blatantly claiming to be saying something meaningful about the history of Christian-Arab conflict in the Middle East. (And in fact it is saying something meaningful - it just happens to be something false.)

And in every way the film was sold as historically meaningful. They wheeled a panel of dubious 'scholars' on to the DVD extras to attest to its alleged historical validity. And while Monahan is patently aware what a historical travesty it is (he sounds pretty unhappy in several places in the commentary), Ridley persistently trumpets it as historically valid. True, he admits - he could hardly deny - that the character of Balian was fictionalised wholesale. But he insists that the events he shows happening in Palestine, and the personalities and motivations of the historical characters - even some that Monahan testifies he (Ridley) invented himself - are true to history. In some cases he even insists that the fiction shown in the film (e.g. the notion that Baldwin V had leprosy and that Sibylla killed him) is truer than what you will read in history books because their research uncovered facts leading to the conclusions they dramatised. Which is pure bunk.



For the most part it had Europeans playing Europeans, and middle easterners playing middle easterners. I didn't see many white people playing middle eastern characters.


Yes, they had a Sudanese playing a Persian (which is about equivalent to having a Portuguese playing a Pole) and a Syrian playing a Kurd. (Have you any idea how much Kurds and desert Arabs don't look alike?) Well, mazel tov. They were bending over backwards to show that the Muslims were Right and Good and the Christians were Bad and Wrong, and they couldn't even be a*sed to notice that all brown people are not interchangeable. That's your classic gooey white PC-ness.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?


In some cases he even insists that the fiction shown in the film (e.g. the notion that Baldwin V had leprosy and that Sibylla killed him) is truer than what you will read in history books because their research uncovered facts leading to the conclusions they dramatised. Which is pure bunk.
Yes. I've come across this in other cases with writers of historical fiction/films. I'm not sure whether it's a case of:
a) Simply lying in the interests of their product;
b) Self-deception;
c) They genuinely have convinced themselves because they've spent a few years working on their product and can no longer distinguish it from reality.


"Active but Odd"

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Hi Syntinen,

I'd just like to suggest you calm your argument down a little. Kingdom of Heaven is a textbook "Historical fiction" film. It takes real events, puts in a fictional character who interacts with real characters and buffs it up with a convincing story around it while also imbuing it with historical authenticity. Historical fiction is written and filmed for entertainment with a dramatical focus on real events, not to be an accurate representation of these events.

To lambast the film for its minute historical inaccuracies is superfluous as it is not trying to get the historical details completely right. King Baldwin was a leper, whose death brought about the collapse of order in the Holy Land and the recapture of Jerusalem by Saladin's forces. The defence of the city was led by Balian, a Frank. This is more historical accuracy than numerous Historical Fictional books out there that are meticulously researched.

Speaking as a wide reader of Bernard Cornwall, I think that it is important to take a film like Kingdom of Heaven for what it is: an INTERPRETATION. Bernard Cornwall's Stonehenge, a book with a magnificent story I might add, almost certainly has no relevance whatsoever to the origin of Stonehenge, yet he implements aspects of the known evidence from the site, such as the Welsh green stones, to craft an entertaining story around its construction. If someone was to nit-pick that novel, the whole effect created by the narrativewould be ruined but would also be pointless for the reason that it never set out to explain the site's origins in the first place. The same is here of Kingdom of Heaven.

The film is entertainment with some research added to make it feel authentic, not informative. To pick out the casting of Alexander Siddig as a problem because he was Sudanese I think is insulting to the quality of the actor, especially as I think he did a fantastic job of the role, but also superfluous as again he was chosen over an American with face paint and a terrible accent attempt for authenticity.

I really think your nit-picking is delving far too deeply into an issue that is inherent in the films position as historical fiction.

Yours sincerely

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

I hate when people have this snobby pretentious attitude. Like only they know history and everyone else is dumb. First, you weren't there first hand so you don't really KNOW. Second, this movie never said "a complete true story 100%" its an epic fiction action movie based on some historical "facts."

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Not really true. As well as being an action movie it's also a moral fairy tale and a piece of anti-Christian, post-imperialist-guilt propaganda. It repeatedly draws parallels between the action and screen and Muslim-Western conflict in the Middle East today.

Scott admitted (he could hardly do otherwise) that he had fictionalised the background of Balian of Ibelin; but he insisted - just listen to his DVD commentary - that otherwise the story shown in the movie (including bits that he himself had invented) was true to history. Indeed he insists, absurdly, that at one point the story shown in the movie is more accurate than 'the history books'!

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

The Director's Cut is a vastly superior version of the movie. It is more coherent, characters are fleshed out, and some subplots are added that improve it. If you enjoy it, go back and watch the theatrical version and compare that way.

DAMN

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Definitely the Director's Cut (which I just finished). There is a lot more depth to the story-line, and it's more engaging. A lot of the same problems remain. It's still pretty slow, and Bloom's stale performance doesn't improve, but you also get a lot more characterization outside of the lead.

That's what's great about Ridley Scott; when he does a director's cut he goes all in.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

The DC isn't a significantly better movie, but it is more full and coherent than the shorter version.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Director's cut. Far superior in all areas.

-- What would Joan say? --

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Certinally director's cut. The original is like watching The Godfather without all the scenes showing that Michael is Vito's son. The director's cut is absolutely wonderful.

"Why would you want to prove that all is for nothing?!"

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

The director's cut turns a pretty good movie into a great one, and at 189 minutes an enjoyable evening's viewing. If you have a decent size tv go for the Bluray version, well worth the extra cost even though there are no extras in the package.


This means something, this is important.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Destroy any evidence of the terrible TC and watch the vastly superior DC.
Story goes Scott wanted Goran Visnjic off ER as Balian. The studio wanted a 'name' if they were to fund an epic about the Crusades post 9/11. Enter Orlando 'Legless' Bloom. I'm sure Scott was forced to edit the DC to get it into the cinemas. Why would he cut a perfectly fine film?
The TC is also a very different movie then the stately DC. The TC is an action adventure film with a miscast Bloom as Balian. The DC is an epic about the Crusades, with some fine acting by finer thesps which doesn't help Bloom. He's an amateur in the presence of legends. Both films are not helped by Bloom who can't act his way out of a paper bag. I wouldn't follow him out the toilet, nevermind Jerusalem.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

I enjoyed both, watched the TC and then bought the DC. I would suggest the DC because it's more complete of course, I wouldn't say it's vastly superior to the TC but if I wanted to rewatch this movie, I'd rewatch DC.




"Please, if you are trying to convert me, this isn't a good time"

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Director's cut is the only version worth watching.

An opinion is not offensive just because you do not agree with it.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

KOH: Director's Cut is one of the best works I have ever seen in my life.
You should definitely watch that.

The original was OK. but the DC is simply unmatchable

I love you Krysten Ritter

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

So... did the OP watch it? Would like to know what he thinks if he did.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Both are too PC and pro Islam for my liking, it's a wonder they did not have a free Palestine message in it somewhere, horribly biased film.

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Not exactly. What came across as 'pro-Islam' was actually post-imperialist guilt, something of which there is an awful lot around in modern Britain. The script of KoH essentially assumes that the Crusader states were a direct equivalent of the British Empire, and post-imperialist guilt dictates that in an imperialist context not only are the white people always evil, greedy, and in the wrong, but the black or brown people are by definition good, noble and in the right.

Scott is really anti-religion in general, but his desire to bash religious 'white imperialists', as he saw them, led him to 'forgive' the Saracens for their own religious fervour and play it down as much as possible. He also assumed that all the brown people were 'oppressed native people struggling for self-determination', failing to notice that Saladin was an empire-building warlord quite as foreign to the local people of Palestine (a large proportion of whom were Christian, and still are) as the Crusaders were: he was a Kurd from what's now Iraq, in fact from Saddam Hussain's home town. (And his secretary Imad, the Alexander Siddig role, was an Iranian from Isfahan.)

Re: First time watcher....Original or Director's Cut?

Sorry: I hit SEND twice on that!
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