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Alexander

A movie directed by Oliver Stone

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A Turkey that would have Alexander turning over in his grave.

  • Nov 24, 2004
  • by
Rating:
-1
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 conquered most of the known world before turning 25.

The film is told largely in narrative form with Ptomely (Sir Anthony Hopkins); telling Egyptian scribes the story of Alexander so they can properly record his life from one who knew him well. The film moves back and forth through time one moment showing Alexander as a child, then returning to long segments of him as an adult before veering off to another era or moment from his past.
While this is informative, it causes the film to constantly struggle to find a flow as the pacing of the film is largely plodding and dull, dragging on for almost three hours without delivering a sufficient payout for viewers.

One of the biggest issues with the film is the casting, as while fine actors and actresses comprise the cast, they just do not fit the characters. Farrell's Irish accent is very out of place in the role as is Angelina Jolie's Transylvanian sounding dialect in the role of Alexanders mother. While this could be forgiven in a better film, the movie fails on almost every level as the characters come off as bland and highly unsympathetic. Alexander spends precious little time in battle as less than 30 minutes of the three hour film are given to his battles which is odd considering that it is his battles that have caused him to forever be preserved in history.

Instead, Stone and writing partner Christopher Kyle, focus on Alexander's issues with his father Philip (Val Kilmer), and his Mother as he is shown to be an inconsistent character that is driven to his actions via demons in his past. Yet this plays out without any tension or pretense of character development as Alexander is constant as a whiny individual who becomes more obsessed with his image and feats which is a contrast to history that recorded Alexander as a driven and loving individual who wanted to unite the nations of the world.

Instead the film plays lip service to this as one moment Alexander is spouting lines about unity and brotherhood and the next moment his is making bedroom eyes with servant boys and his friend Hephaistion ( Jared Leto). If Stones goal was to show that Alexander was an immature and paranoid individual he succeeds in this but what is utterly unforgivable is the way the film undermines his brilliance as a tactician almost to the point of contempt. There is one scene of battle planning and it is carried out in a very ho-hum manner that does not show just how bold and innovative his tactics were. To further confound this issue, the camera work in the two battles scenes is so poorly done as the camera lurches from side to side and all over without any reason or cohesion. The battles are reduced to little more than massed armies with no attention given to the brilliance of Alexander in changing the course of a battle with his innovations and come across as boring as there is nothing stirring or exciting about them.

I know that there will be much controversy regarding the accuracy of the film and the portrayal of Alexander but what cannot be disputed is that the ambition of the film and the possibilities of the story are not achieved as there is little in this film that works aside from the great sets of ancient Babylon. Stone seems to have bitten off much more than he can chew as neither he nor the cast seem up to the challenge as the plodding story, weak and poorly filmed action sequences and the weak dialogue all combine to do what no army on earth could do, defeat Alexander.

2 stars out of 5.

Gareth Von Kallenbach


Recommended:
No

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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 . 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 . 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 …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #112
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … 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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