An epic flop saved by a Director’s Cut charges into battle on streaming

kingdom of heaven

After almost single-handedly reviving the historical epic when Gladiator became a massive critical, commercial, and awards season success at the turn of the millennium, there was an air of inevitability about Ridley Scott eventually returning to the genre he’d helped re-popularize.

Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns was out in force, and the end result was the crushingly disappointing Kingdom of Heaven. The sprawling $130 million tale could only muster $218 million at the box office and a 39% score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it look as though Scott had botched his latest dive back into the past.

As it turned out, there was a vastly superior story lurking just under the surface, but the studio opted to have it hacked to pieces in the editing suite. Kingdom of Heaven is not a short film by any means at 144 minutes, but the 194-minute Director’s Cut delivers an entirely different, richer, more in-depth, and altogether better experience.

kingdom of heaven

In a shocking turn of events, removing almost an hour of footage from the film had a hugely adverse effect on plot, character, drama, and atmosphere, with Kingdom of Heaven V2.0 garnering the adulation the theatrical version didn’t really deserve.

However, it’s the standard vanilla tale of Orlando Bloom’s crusading blacksmith Balian that’s proving popular on streaming this week, with FlixPatrol naming Kingdom of Heaven as one of the most-watched titles in the iTunes library.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.