Watched Kingdom of Heaven DC. Wow.
That was a dramatically better film, especially the first hour or so. Really excellent stuff withe Liam Neeson. What impressed me most was the importance of the religious themes. Everyone suffering under the medeival ideas of faith and forgiveness in a realistic and grotesque way. David Thewlis also seems to make much more of an impression in this cut. The terrible decision Baleon makes at the end of the second act works very well in this cut, and makes sense. It offers so much historical detail about the way people lived and what they believed that I almost think it should be shown in highs school history classes.
It still has issues, though. Though you obviously can't cut anything, it does run a bit long, especially in the second act, but I think the real problem is Orlando Bloom and Baleon. Bloom is easily better here than I've ever seen him in anything (or probably more accurately, better edited), but he still doesn't have the gravitas or depth to pull of the center of such an enormous story, and it doesn't help that Baleon is the subject of so many fortunate turns of fate and happenstance. It would take a better actor to sell the wild fluctuations of his fortune, and Bloom isn't up to it. It really needed a lead like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, to own the center of the movie, and I wish Paul Bettany had got it, or maybe Leonardo DiCaprio could have pulled it off. Not Bloom.
Also, the modern day parallels are punched up quite a bit in this cut, and I think Scott was throwing some anti-Bush stuff in there with the villains. Thoughtlessly Christian, superior to the point of stupidity, and underestimating the threat the Muslims posed through sheer arrogance. Initially I thought they were over the top, but then I realized they weren't at all. And Brendan Gleason never hurts. The whole supporting cats comes off great in this, actually, with Eva Green getting a lot better stuff to do. Now I can't decide whether I want to rewatch the studio cut just to observe how completely they fucked it up, because it would teach me a lot about editing, or if I want to pretend the TC doesn't exist. Great reccomendation.