Conquering 90% of the known world by the age of 25, Alexander the Great led his armies through 22,000 miles of sieges and conquests in just eight years. Coming out of tiny Macedonia (today part of Greece), Alexander led his armies against the mighty Persian Empire, drove west to Egypt, and finally made his way east to India. This film will concentrate on those eight years of battles, as well as his relationship with his boyhood friend and battle mate, Hephaestion. Alexander died young, of illness, at 33. Alexander's conquests paved the way for the spread of Greek culture (facilitating the spread of Christianity centuries later), and removed many of the obstacles that might have prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire. In other words, the world we know today might never have been if not for Alexander's bloody, yet unifying, conquest.Written by
In the Final Cut, when Alexander is giving his speech to his men at Gaugemela. The officer who hands him his helmet is on his right, but in the next scene he is on his left handing Alexander his helmet. See more »
Our world is gone now. Smashed by the wars. Now I am the keeper of his body, embalmed here in the Egyptian ways. I followed him as Pharaoh, and have now ruled 40 years. I am the victor. But what does it all mean when there is not one left to remember - the great cavalry charge at Gaugamela, or the mountains of the Hindu Kush when we crossed a 100,000-man army into India? He was a god, Cadmos. Or as close as anything I've ever seen.
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I do like epics, and while I am not a historian I do take an interest in it. But Alexander didn't work for me at all. The best thing about Alexander are the production values. The scenery and sets are very grand and lavish, and the costumes are wonderful too. The cinematography, editing and symbolism are nice too, but strictly speaking they verge on being too flashy and don't add anything.
Production values aside, everything else simply doesn't work. Vangelis's music is disappointing, it does have its epic parts, but it overall is too grandiose and overpowering for my liking. The story benefits from a great idea and if explored wonderfully could have given us a thorough insight into Alexander the Great. However, the storytelling told in meandering flashback structure is stodgily told, and any parts that could have been so interesting are instead superfluously explored especially Alexander and the battlefield, and I would say the same for the sketchy characterisation too. The battle scenes are beautifully shot but uncompelling.
Alexander also has some pretty dreadful acting, which is disappointing considering how good some of the actors are. Colin Farrell tries but is somewhat too effeminate and he does have too many moments where he is not charismatic enough. Angelina Jolie looks beautiful, and she actually has given some good performances despite what has been said about her, but she being too young is hopelessly miscast as is Val Kilmer, while the normally reliable(in many cases even wonderful) Anthony Hopkins is the only one who gives anything close to a good performance. I was really disappointed at how woefully underused Brian Blessed, Christopher Plummer and Rosario Dawson were as well. Worst of the lot is Jared Leto, whose acting and presence is so wooden and lifeless it makes a wooden plank much more animated.
The acting and superfluous storytelling are big problems, but it is nothing compared to the script, which is toe-curlingly bad. There is also the cumbersome length, pedestrian pace and Oliver Stone's direction which is rather pretentious(a term I try to avoid like the plague but the term applies when talking about the direction here).
In conclusion, it may have great spectacle but there are too many poor assets that made Alexander in all honesty a chore to watch. 2/10 Betahny Cox
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