Kingdom, The

Featured In Issue 129, March 2008

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Intense sequences of graphic brutal violence and language
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Dual Side/Dual Layer (HD DVD30/DVD9)
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Color With B/W Sequences
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(THX® Digitally Mastered):
Peter Berg
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Dolby Digital+ 5.1
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In the wake of a deadly attack on American forces in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an FBI special agent, Ronald Fluery (Foxx), assembles a secret team of elite U.S. counter-terrorism experts to solve the brutal crime. Out of their element and with only five days to accomplish their mission, the team joins forces with Saudi counterparts to find the killer before he strikes again. As the unlikely allies unlock the secrets of the crime scene, they discover that they may be the perpetrator's next target. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include 11 minutes of deleted scenes, Character By Character: The Apartment Shootout—the climactic scene in the movie from four different characters' perspectives (14 minutes), the featurette Constructing The Freeway Sequence (19 minutes), an eight-chapter making-of featurette entitled Creating The Kingdom (35 minutes), an interactive timeline on The History Of The Kingdom, commentary by Director Peter Berg, and up-front previews.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.34:1 DVD exhibits multiple appearances, with a desaturated look that nicely matches the gruesome, gritty nature of the story in Saudi Arabia and a more naturally saturated, vibrant image in the United States. The color scheme is drab, dominated by hues of brown and yellow. Resolution is generally quite good, with sharp details and nicely rendered fine textures. Contrast is balanced nicely and details in the brightest whites and darkest blacks are transferred well. Black levels are acceptably deep, helping make the image look impressive. Pixel breakup can be noticed at times, and edge enhancement is recognizable on the higher contrast transitions. The VC-1-encoded HD DVD shows the same stylization as the DVD, and resolution is good, with sharply delivered fine textures. Black levels are deep, but shadow delineation is somewhat lacking. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack, at its best, can be impressive, with good phantom imaging and impressive fidelity. There are many times when a shuffling distortion can be heard and heavy noise can be heard as well. Occasionally scenes can also have an inconsistent high-pitched ringing that can also be distracting. There are times when the surround channels can be all but ignored, and many scenes lack phantom imaging in the surround channels, making the stage sound choppy and incongruous. While the soundtrack can sound fantastic at times, there are just too many problems for it to be reference-worthy. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding still delivers some of the same shuffling distortion and high-pitched ringing. There may be a subtle increase in overall fidelity, but it isn't overly recognizable. (Danny Richelieu)