Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut. THANK GOD IT EXISTS!

“I once fought for two days with an arrow through my testicle”- Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson)

Holy fuck, I just watched an amazing movie. Kingdom of Heaven, directed by Ridley Scott, is a masterpiece.

In it, a recently-widowed blacksmith embarks on an epic journey with his long-estranged father to defend Jerusalem against the advances of Saladin, who seeks to recapture the holy city after its loss to Christian forces 100 years prior.

It boasts an amazing cast, engrossing characters, incredible cinematography, glorious battle scenes, and a fantastic musical score. It is also superior to the other, far-better known historical epic in Ridley Scott’s catalogue.

But it has a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. HOW?!

WHAT THE FUCK?! How is it possible that one of the best historical epics of all time got trashed? And that we don’t gush about this movie like we do Gladiator?!

The answer is annoying, and fairly common apparently..

Feedback from preview audiences convinced Ridley Scott to gut the film from its intended 3-hour run time into a 2-hour dumpster-fire of a movie that totally deserves it’s 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Three hours is a long time to sit in a theater, but for a historical epic, the length feels appropriate, if not necessary.

Thankfully...

Scott regretted the decision and recut the film to reflect his original vision for the film. I always assumed Director’s Cut/Final Cut editions of movies were naked cash-grabs, but Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut singlehandedly justifies the practice. 45 minutes of restored footage catapults the movie from muddled snoozefest to indisputable classic. That’s the version to watch.


The Director’s Cut

  1. A great story rendered hollow and incomplete in the theatrical version is now fully-realized. Entire plot lines that were cut from the theatrical version are reintroduced, and key characters have richer backgrounds and clearer motivations as a result. In particular, Edward Norton‘s’ leper King of Jerusalem, and Eva Green, as his sister Sibylla, benefit greatly from added screen time.
  2. More screen time with an awesome cast. Jeremey Irons, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, Edward Norton, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Sheen, & Orlando Bloom. He’s good in this. Don’t believe me? Watch the movie.
  3. Impressive restraint in picking a side (for a movie about The Crusades) further elevates this movie. We are gifted with a thoughtful and balanced portrayal of both Christian and Muslim characters.
  4. The music is epic and artfully conveys how fucking epic this movie is.

Go watch!