This BD was a surprise discovery here in Sydney and it is also being is released simultaneously in Europe. It was the most expensive film ever made in Scandinavia based upon a very popular trilogy of novels by Jan Guillou.It appears to have been released in two parts which I think have been cut together to provide this 2 1/2 hour film. For story, think “Romeo and Juliet” meets “Kingdom of Heaven.” Set in 12th century Europe, we meet our hero, Arn, set to a monastery by his parents to fulfill their promise to God to do so if Arn survived a bad illness. He later falls in love with Cecilia who is promised to another in a different clan. When she falls pregnant to him, he is sent off to the Holy Land to join the Templers. She is dispatched to the local nunnery ruled over by a vicious Mother Superior. No happy choruses of “How do we handle problem like Maria” here. While in the Holy Land, Arn becomes involved in the defence of Jerusalem and crosses paths with Saladin. While this part of the story covers that of Kingdom and while this films budget was a fraction of that film, ARN, THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR does have one great advantage. The performance of Joakim Natterqvist is effective and believable as the hero Arn. That is for more than can be said for poor Orlando Bloom totally at sea in Kingdom and who manages to reduce that film to a beautifully crafted but empty extravaganza. Once back in Sweden, our hero becomes involved in various clan wars which eventually end in the creation of Sweden. This story unfolds in flashback which greatly benefits the production cutting as it does from the hot reds, oranges and golden browns of the Holy Land to the cool greens and blues of Scandinavia. Subject to the caveat mentioned below, Eric Kress’cinematograpy is excellent. Sharp and clean-every link in the chain mail is clearly visible. Lots of HD “pop” revealing the great set designs and costumes. The Swedish scenes are in Swedish but most of the scenes in the Holy Land and the monastery are in English-mirroring then then use of Latin as the universal language. The DTS Master Audio is also impressive-the LSO contributing to the music score although, as with seemingly every Hollywood blockbuster, we duly get an appalling song over the end credit crawl. The only caveat is that it is clear from the “Making of “documentaries(of which there are two), that ARN, THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR was shot in Super 35 with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 for theatrical release. This BD, in true James Cameron form, is lopped to 1.78:1. While everything fits into this format quite well, we are deprived seeing the film as theatrically presented and the sense of space and environment that 2.35:1 provides and 1.78 just can’t. All in all and very enjoyable romp and is highly recommended.