DVD REVIEWS: Kingdom of Heaven

20th Century Fox
Movie •••½ Picture/Sound ••••½ Extras ••••
Ridley Scott's epic meditation on the dangers of fanaticism is the most authentic movie ever made about the Crusades. And if you don't want to get involved in the politics, you can always revel in the spectacular battle scenes. The images are stunning: every link of chain mail is clear in a 2.35:1 widescreen picture that is breathtaking in scope and detail. And the thrilling surround sound immerses you in the turbulent action. Extras on this two-disc set are mostly exceptional, too, including an excellent text-based commentary delivering historical trivia about each scene. There's also a thorough production documentary that can be viewed via an "interactive grid," allowing you to jump to just the bits concerning the director, cast, or crew. (Alas, this can be difficult to use.) Two A&E featurettes - Movie Real and History vs. Hollywood - show how Scott got his history right. [R] English, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1; French and Spanish, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; two dual-layer discs.