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Alexander

A movie directed by Oliver Stone

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Okay, so it's not accurate, but it's definitely eye-candy

  • Nov 9, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+5
Where to begin this review? I almost feel like I have to defend my position on actually liking the film, which is hard for me to do because my liking of it is sensory and I am usually a more factual person.

What's wrong with Alexander? Well, it's difficult to be historically accurate even while studying a practically mythological figure, but if you are making a Hollywood film it is next to impossible. So Alexander the movie only follows the historical aspects of Alexander The Great by the finest of threads. The dialogue is a little stiff at times also, attempting to modernize into a recognizable pattern the speeches and rituals of a civilization that existed before Christ. There's a Colin Farrell buffalo shot that should have been edited out. And the plot skips around quite a bit, in an unnecessary fashion. It could have been bloodier, too.

What's right with Alexander? For one thing, the stunning photography, breathtaking scenery, costume design, and realistic props and settings. The battle scenes are spectacular, with arrows and pikes and vast armies. There is one scene in particular, where Alexander goes up against a barbarian, filmed in slow motion as both horse and elephant rear up in facing off with each other, that is so captivating you will find yourself holding your breath.

Colin Farrell did a remarkably good job in portraying Alexander, and Val Kilmer was exceptionally, and startlingly, good as Alexander's father, Philip. Anthony Hopkins as Old Ptolemy and Christopher Plummer as Aristotle did fine performances, but their parts in the film were lesser than their known talents. Angelina Jolie as Alexander's mother Olympias, surprised me. Normally, I don't care for her acting, but she fit the role perfectly as a deadly beauty who fondles snakes and schemes for her son's greatness. I've liked Rosario Dawson since her early appearance in 'Kids', and she doesn't disappoint in her role as Roxane, Alexander's barbarian wife. I think that her part should have been greater in the film, with more played off of her love/hate relationship with Alexander, but this was a big story to put into one film anyway. And Jared Leto...woof! When did Jared Leto become hot? When he put on eyeliner and a long-haired wig? I'm not sure, but he plays his role as Hephaistion, Alexander's same-$ex lover, quite well.

Alexander, then, amounts to some very nice eye-candy to watch for its entertainment value. It's not a documentary but an epically filmed interpretation of Alexander's battle years, when he conquered most of the civilized world (at that time) in the span of eight short years. Imagine 2500 years from now a film being made about, say, Ronald Reagan. Will it be accurate? Doubtful, but it will most likely be made to please the people of that era.

So sit back, pop some popcorn, put the DVD on the bigscreen TV and turn the volume down. Don't worry about what people say about the sexuality in the film, it is not overt or overplayed, it is simply portrayed as part of Alexander's life, as was common during the time frame of the epic. Enjoy this film for the lush cinematography and save the documentary for the History Channel. Its eye-candy, pure and simple. Enjoy!
Alexander - Director's Cut

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More Alexander reviews
review by . December 04, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I never did understand how Oliver Stone came to direct Alexander, Revisited. Somebody like David McLean (Lawrence of Arabia) or Ridley Scott (Gladiator) seems more appropriate. Stone's vision of Alexander is an attempt at epic, but never quite reaches the grandeur of these other films.     First of all, the casting seems all wrong. The Hollywood cast isn't really a great fit for an epic film like [ASIN:B000UPGQIU Alexander]]. Colin Farrell (Alexander) is decent, but not great. …
review by . April 23, 2009
Alexander is a near perfect dramatic recreation of the life Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Oliver Stone spent a lot of time, money and effort to bring a somewhat accurate depiction of the life and times of one of the greatest military minds of all time. This is no GLADITOR or TROY so please keep this in mind. People have slammed this movie for wasting money and not making it back when it was released in the United States. Obviously the money was well spent. The scenery, sets and costumes reflect …
review by . January 15, 2006
I caught this on HBO last night and the movie wasn't that bad. Reviewers and critics made it seem as though this movie had the plaque. I must admit Oliver Stone did not sugar-coat the story or makes Alexander too heroic. Believe me; you may never see a major motion picture that tells the story like it is like this again. Oliver Stone took a different approach with this historic figure and he really didn't capture the real spirit of Alexander the Great the way it was written in history books.     …
review by . August 03, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Few films have garnered the criticism as the theatrical release of the much maligned ALEXANDER and that fact always stirs the curiosity cauldron - in this case, so much so that Oliver Stone decided to re-edit and re-compose the original version into this Director's Cut DVD. Now the film can be viewed in the relatively inexpensive milieu of the home and perhaps more folks will give another (or, as in my case, a first) look at what the grumbling is all about.    ALEXANDER is a …
review by . November 24, 2004
Pros: Good Sets.     Cons: Terrible lines, bad voice work, and awful camera work.     The Bottom Line: Stone does what no army on Earth could do, defeat Alexander.     Director Oliver Stone has never been one to shy away from controversial films and his new film "Alexander" is no exception. The film stars Colin Farrell as the Macedonian king who would become known to history as Alexander the Great, the greatest military tactician ever who …
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I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … more
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For better or worse (and in this case, it's mostly for better), Oliver Stone'sAlexander Revisitedshould stand as the definitive version of Stone's much-maligned epic about the great Asian conqueror. Following the DVD release of his previousDirector's Cut, Stone offers a video introduction here, explaining why he felt athirdand final attempt at refining his film was necessary. Essentially, he's using this opportunity to re-create the "road show" format of the Biblical epics of the 1950s and '60s, with a three-and-a-half-hour running time (with an intermission at the two-hour mark) including 45 minutes of previously unseen footage. Stone has also significantly restructured the film, resulting in substantial (if not exactly redemptive) improvements in its narrative flow. Alexander (played in a torrent of emotions by Colin Farrell) is dying as the film opens, his final moments serving to bookend the film's epic story, which incorporates flashback sequences to flesh out the Macedonian king's back-story involving the turbulent battle of fate between his father, King Philip (Val Kilmer) and his scheming sorceress mother Olympia (Angelina Jolie, ridiculous accent and all), who insists that Alexander is literally a child of the gods.
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