Kingdom of Heaven

I managed to get some more work done on my mounted hospitaller knights and the basework on my unit of crusader infantry tonight. At this rate I'll need to order more figures soon! I might even have something to photograph by next week.

I also finished watching the extended version (director's cut) of Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven". I don't normally do film reviews but must point out that this version totally transforms the film into the truly spectacular epic it should always have been. The replaced scenes meant that the film now tells a coherent story and the motivations of the characters are explained and their fates tied-up at the end. Orlando Bloom still slightly fails to convince and I think that the reviewer got it right who said that he looks like he is holding the fort until the real leading man turns up...but never does.

The 4-DVD set is currently available via for under £5 and this is superb value if you want to treat yourself. The visuals are fantastic and the extended version concentrates on events and how the characters are involved in them, rather than trying to be a character-centred action movie in the way the cinema version had been butchered to be. In this sense it is more in the flavour of "Black Hawk Down" than "Gladiator". Needless to say, it still takes enormous liberties with history, but after all it isn't supposed to be a documentary.

If you are looking for some inspiration to get into Crusades wargaming, dash out and get this.



  1. I always thought the interesting characters that would have formed the genesis of a decent film were killed off very early on.

    I'll get hold of the special edition and give it a go though. When I first saw it in the cinema a friend of mine had built it up rather a lot so it was always going to be a bomb out. That said, it remains one of the most thoroughly underwhelming cinematic experiences I've ever had.

  2. " this version totally transforms the film into the truly spectacular epic it should always have been. "

    Did they edit out Orlando?

  3. Ooh, Mike that is harsh :-)

    Actually he is kind of edited as he is no longer the clear central figure. Much more of the story revolves around the other characters and he sort of disappears in the central part of the film.

  4. Thanks for this - I enjoyed the film when I saw it at the cinema, but it didn't stay with me as much as Gladiator. So, have been on and got a copy from Amazon, and will give it a second viewing.

  5. Love the part where the army of Jerusalem appears out of the heat haze...but Reynard and Guy as Templars?
    Haven't seen the Director's Cut yet, but I found the cinema version very anti-Christian & pro-Saracen (Muslim).
    But that's just my opinion for what it's worth...

  6. On an aside, Steve, how do you fing Impetus? I am looking for a new Ancients/Medieval ruleset that rewards 6mm/10mm figs but don't really fancy Warmaster/FOG. Quite like the look of these though...


  7. Hi Monty

    The film does have a negative portrayal of SOME of the Christian characters, but it is a story rather than a documentary I suppose :-) It does lack equivalently amoral arab characters for balance though.

    I haven't had time to try Impetus yet, I need to actually get a game arranged, even if I just use my 15mm ancients!

    That aside, it doesn't really matter to me as the principal appeal to me is the basing. I am very much aesthetically led in my gaming. When I've written my own rules I have always started by basing units that look nice to game with and fitting rules around this.

    If it turns out that Impetus isn't right for me then I'll adapt it or write my own rules to fit the basing standard.


  8. Nice one, Steve,

    I have to admit I am quite similar myself at the moment. Having recently returned to the hobby after an extended lay-off (11 years) I am just enjoying the creative side of the hobby but am looking forward to playing 'proper' again.
    The thing is when I used to play you never had things such as 'Total War' multiplayer etc which can get quite distracting...

  9. The Blu Ray version (which is also the longer edit) is pretty much the gold standard for the medium. Just fantastic!


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