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A movie directed by Oliver Stone

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A Director's Cut Reformation of Alexander

  • Aug 3, 2005
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 big film about a big person who did big things. How a story so altered by time, history, myth, and folklore could be translated to the screen strains the imagination - but not Oliver Stone's - a man who loves big events and big issues. And I think he succeeds in drawing us into the atmosphere of the 'civilized world' of Alexander's time. Ptolemy (Anthony Hopkins) relates the history of a man who wished to tie the known world together into one empire and would have us believe that dream was altruistic as well as destined. Through a series of flash forwards and flashbacks the birth to death of Alexander is pieced together: each time a great moment or crisis occurs in Alexander's life, the story backtracks to explain the etiological influences of that particular step in Alexander's march around the globe.

The settings of Alexander's youth in Macedonia are breathtakingly beautiful in the cave painting details of the various gods and heroes and heroines that so deeply influenced the life of Alexander - Medea, Oedipus, Herakles, Zeus, etc. If the entire film had been able to maintain this mystic quality of ambience, this would have been a powerful work. But once the scenes begin to disperse to Persia, India, Greece, etc the film becomes Hollywoodized and harkens back to the Cecil B. DeMille view of ancient history, garnished with expensive sets and costumes and endless dancing maidens and overwrought battle sequences.

Where this film (at least this version) is best is when it approaches the passion of Alexander for Hephaistion. Few writers or film makers have dared to enter the arena of homosexual love of heroes of history and this is where Stone takes the chance - and then unfortunately heavily edits the romance from this 'director's cut'. A missed opportunity to examine an important aspect of neglected history is sad.

As for the cast, Colin Farrell does his best with the script he has in making us believe in Alexander, and he is able to connect the chemistry with Jared Leto's Hephaistion well. Angelina Jolie is aptly smarmy as the snake-loving Olympias, Val Kilmer's Philip, grotesquely hidden behind scars of makeup, is suitably evil, but given the tritely written roles of Aristotle (Christopher Plummer) and Roxane (Rosario Dawson) the rest of the cast is forgettable.

But now that the film is available in two forms for less money than a pair of theater tickets perhaps more people will watch, plug in to Oliver Stone's concept, and the air will clear. I, for one, think it is a film worth watching! Grady harp, August 05

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October 23, 2010
I didn't notice that much heavy editing in the the Hephaistion department. Therealtionship was never that fully explored in the original version either. I wonder why none of my votes are registering today. It's always something on this site.
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 . November 09, 2008
Alexander - Director's Cut
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 …
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 . 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 …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … 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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