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Three Kings

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rated R

1 hours 55 minutes

Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze, Nora Dunn, Jamie Kennedy, Mykelti Williamson, Cliff Curtis, Said Taghmaoui

Story by John Ridley, Screenplay by David O. Russell

Directed by David O. Russell

 

Retail Price: 24.99

Features: Theatrical Trailer, Under The Bunker Documentary, Feature Length Audio Commentary with David O. Russell, Feature Length Audio Commentary with Producers Charles Roven and Edward L. McDonnell, Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by David. O. Russell, David O. Russell's Video Journal, Tour of the Iraqi Village Set with Production Designer Catherine Hardwicke, Interview with Director of Photography Newton Thomas Sigel, An Intimate Look Inside the Acting Process with Ice Cube, Stills Gallery with photos by Spike Jonze, Production Notes, The Cast, Hidden Bunkers
DVD Rom Features: Persian Gulf War Web Links to CNN's Web Site's Gulf War Archives, Ehanced Assmap with Direct Links to Revelant Scenes in the Film, Character Biographies, and Original Theatrical Web Site (Lots of stuff!)

Specs: Anamorphic Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital, English and French Subtitles, Chapter Search (31 Chapters) Dual-Layer Format

 

 

What I thought was one of 1999's best films (I had a three way tie with this, Toy Story 2 and the crinimally overlooked Liberty Heights), and was very buzzworthy, Three Kings really did have it all. Great plotting, fantastic dialogue, humor, awesome action sequences and a deep political message. Sadly though, it was semi-overlooked. The reviews were great, but it did not get the audience it hoped for (I think this had to do with the fact that the movie was too political for some, it barely broke even at the box office, basically making back it's budget) and it won very few critic awards. I was really disappointed that it failed to score Oscar® nominations, or even Golden Globe nods. What did Hollywood have against this movie?

Besides that, Three Kings is a very good romp, and something that I will watch over and over again, it's just that enjoyable and really does get you thinking about the whole war, and what is important in life. The movie begins right at the end of the Gulf War, where, right out of someone's behind, two soldiers (Wahlberg and Jonze) find a map to hidden bunkers. They soon discuss it with Ice Cube and George Clooney. Soon after, it's a race to the bunkers to find the gold. They do find it at the first bunker (after Clooney wonders about a well), but soon after, they face some problems, like how to get the gold, but more importantly, what to do about the people around the bunker, who all may be doomed one way or another. I don't want to give any more of the movie away, but there are a few turn of an events, building to a nice climax and ending.

Three Kings is destined to become a classic over time, and will hopefully find more of an audience on video then it did at the theaters. It has great storytelling, stunts, directing and ensemble acting, everyone does a great job. The camerawork and editing is also magnificant, and it really makes you wonder how corrupt the industry is if it can't get nominated for just those catagories. You may have heard that Three Kings does a different approach to how guns fire, you see each bullet and where they exactly go. This is very interesting, and nice to see. Three Kings is also a great movie is that it really gets you thinking, after the movie is over. What could have Bush done? What is important at the right time and the right place? Three Kings... if you haven't seen it yet, you don't know what your missing.

 

Another excellent Warner anamorphic transfer. Detail, no scratches or anything distracting, everything pops out perfectly. A gem to look at, and it's nice that such a good movie has such a good widescreen transfer.

 

Three Kings features 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, and ranks right up there with the transfer. It's an action movie of sorts, and there are a lot of heavy sounds, which thankfully, are loud and perfectly presented the way they are meant to be. Dialogue is clear, and I even think the menus are louder then the movie itself (!). This is another great Warner mix.

 

A VERY nice feature selection, it's jammed pack (no wonder the disc is dual-layered...) and has some great stuff, for regular use and DVD rom use. There is an informative and somewhat lengthy (longer then Disney's usual "featurettes"!) documentary entitled Under the Bunker. It has interviews, and shows some footage from the on location on the set. Very good to watch. There are also Two Audio Feature-Length Commentaries, one by David O. Russell and the other by Charles Roven and Edward L. McDonnell. Each one is informative and very insightful, they are some of the best commentaries I have ever heard, each is worth the listen. Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by David O. Russell, is, well, deleted scenes with optional commentary by David O. Russell. The scenes are okay, most sorta expand on the characters, but some are just stupid and you can see why they made the cutting room floor. Russell just comments on them if turn that option on. I found David O. Russell's Video Journal to be one of the best features on the disc. Basically, director and writer Russell made sort of his own documentary, chronicling him writing the script, meeting with the actors and studio heads and life on the set. It's kind of short, but really nice to watch how the whole making a movie process comes together. The Tour of the Iraqi Village Set with Production Designer Catherine Hardwicke is also nice, as we see and learn about the set and everything. I also enjoyed the Interview with Director of Photography Newton Thomas Sigel because, the movie has some great shots. It's not really an interview either, basically there are a few scenes and he gives his commentary, how he shot it. Very cool and very well done. An Intimate Look Inside the Acting Process with Ice Cube basically has the rapper/actor showing off his skills in a lottle short film (shot by co-star Spike Jonze), there is a Stills Gallery with photos by Spike Jonze, some lengthy and informative Production Notes, The Cast roundout, a nice transfer of the Theatrical Trailer and some Hidden Bunkers, which are easter eggs basically, that give you some stuff which you may find useful. I won't be giving them away, but if you play around with the disc, you'll find them. The DVD Rom features are Persian Gulf War Web Links to CNN's Web Site's Gulf War Archives, and Ehanced Assmap with Direct Links to Revelant Scenes in the Film, Character Biographies, and the Original Theatrical Web Site, which gives you the whole website packed onto the DVD.

 

Great movie. Fantastic DVD. Nice price. What more can you ask for? One for the collection!

 

(4.5/5, NOT included in final score)

(4.5/5)

(4.5/5)

(4/5)

(4.5/5, NOT an average)

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