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A movie directed by Oliver Stone

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Not as bad as awful as the critics claim, but could have been much beter

  • Dec 4, 2009
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. At times, he cuts a less than commanding presence. Angelina Jolie overplayed her part as Alexander's mother Olympias. She comes across as psychotic (especially with the fake accent) rather than powerful. Anthony Hopkins' narration becomes intrusive and ruins the drama of parts of the film, rather than enhance it. Some of the best epic films, like Lawrence of Arabia) or Gladiator relied upon relative unknowns (Peter O'Toole and Russell Crowe, respectively), allowing the audience to accept them in the role of historical giants. Farrell and Jolie are too recognizable and don't fill the part.

Historically, the movie seems to buy into the whole mythology surrounding Alexander as a generous victor and advocate of liberty. The film starts with a historical inaccuracy - the notion that Darius' army at Issus had hundreds of thousands of men (in fact, the Persian army was probably around the same size as Alexander's). Also, in the movie Alexander's father is portrayed as a drunken fool, but in real life he was quite a king himself who probably would have conquered the Persian empire in his own right. For a good biography of Alexander that dispels some of the myths, check out Peter Green's Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography. But in a lot of other respects, the film is somewhat accurate and many of the anecdotes (such as Alexander's taming his horse as a child). In short, the plot sticks fairly close to a realistic, if glorified, interpretation of Alexander's life.

Nonetheless, if you're interested in Alexander the Great or movies about the ancient world more generally, Alexander, Revisited - the expanded version of the film - isn't quite as bad as most critics allege. The revised version has more footage and is definitely an improvement over the theatrical version. But Alexander, Revisited probably isn't one you'll watch over many times.

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November 20, 2010
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More Alexander reviews
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 …
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
Dominic J Nardi ()
Ranked #77
I am a recent law school grad with an interest in Southeast Asia legal issues. Unfortunately for my checkbook, ever since high school I have been addicted to good books. I have eclectic tastes, although … 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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