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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.55%
Worth A Look: 4.49%
Average: 6.18%
Pretty Bad: 39.33%
Total Crap40.45%

10 reviews, 118 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"I’d Rather See Films About Graham Bell or P. Keaton, Than This Again."
1 stars

Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers probably has as deep a chasm that exists between those who loathe it and those of us who truly admire it. I’m in the latter, justifying it as another celebratory notch in a career that I’ve respected for years. JFK is one of my favorite films and a qualified, revolutionary masterpiece. Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July are possibly the two best films ever made about the Vietnam experience. Occasionally, Stone’s excess can get the best of him as the NBK haters will attest, but even sprawling epics like The Doors and Any Given Sunday have their share of fascination, solid performances or enough ideas to keep us involved. Alexander, on the other hand, is one big bloated mess of a travesty that is way too long to enjoy camp status and not short enough for anyone forced to sit through it.

Alexander the Great (here portrayed by Colin Farrell) was one of my favorite figures in history class. We never seemed to learn much about him, but how can you not be intrigued by someone who, literally, conquered most of what was then the known world. After a rocky beginning where Stone takes us to the end of his life, then forward 40 years to Anthony Hopkins as an old colleague of Alexander’s who is going to tell his scribe and us ALL about this supposed “Great.” And tell us he will.

Alexander’s boyhood was the stuff of Shakespeare. His ancestor was the great warrior Achilles. His father was the one-eyed King, Philip (Val Kilmer) who taught him the history of Greek tragedies and how they all seemed to involved the wickedness of a woman. Mommy was the snake-lovin’ Olympias (Angelina Jolie) who did everything to stir in her son the constant betrayal of man. No wonder the boy would grow up a confused bisexual.

Laying out this familial conflict, Stone is on the right path to establishing Alexander’s psychology. But like a speed-reader, skipping through chapters of a 167-volume text, he over-relies on Hopkins to fill-in-the-blanks and fast-forward through events we want to be witnessing firsthand. Instead of seeing the death of Philip, we’re told about it. Instead of the transition from boy to king, we’re informed of all his conquests leading up to the major battle that paved the way to Babylon. Excuse me, but any story worth telling about a man who conquered the world should make room for his rise to power and more than just a pair of awkwardly handled combat sequences. Imagine being in school and its movie day in class. You’ve just read The Lord of the Rings, you’re watching The Return of the King, then the teacher stops the movie to tell you all about what happens at Pelennor Fields. The narration for Alexander is perhaps the worst since the days of Timothy Farrell on Ed Wood productions. Every ounce of your moviegoing schooling urges you to yell at him to just shut up and then pray for some Caesar-like assassination by his scriptors for ultimately telling them one thing and then saying, “Um, yeah, forget I said that. Never mind.

Still known today for his military strategies, Alexander gives us precisely one Stratego map worth of instruction (and subtitles to announce troop placement) that translates into just another bloody skirmish where the tactics come a distant second to the visceral carnage. A five-minute explanation on The History Channel just a few days after my screening of Alexander clarified for me what Stone wanted to show us and was fascinating utilizing what basically amounted to human chess pieces to reenact them. Ironically, it was Stone’s longtime military advisor, Dale Dye, who laid the groundwork that Stone wasn’t able to translate to epic form.

If the first hour of Alexander is marginally attention-grabbing, then the second sets some kind of record for unbearable, leading to a deer-in-the-headlights third that keeps us in a fish-eye like trance. At the two-hour mark, we even go backwards to finally witness Philip’s death; a filmmaking gaffe of such incredulity that even a base amateur would recognize just one of its many failings. Why not just show it to us sequentially? It eliminates the need for Hopkin’s narration on the matter, plus it heightens not only Alexander’s will to prove himself in his father’s footsteps but the relationship with Lady Olympius Macbeth, whose questionable role in her husband’s death should be of no surprise and certainly not worth a care to anyone who has made it to the two-hour mark.

Parts of it may be Stone’s middle finger to the puritanical slant we’ve fallen towards, but it never even achieves a Caligula-like outlandishness or laughability to maintain its car wreck sensibility. Alexander’s sexual nature, which has come under undue scrutiny from modern Grecian lawyers, is hardly worth the hype crammed down our throat of its authenticity. (Please - to this day, the stereotype of the culture’s fascination with ass remains a punchline.) Most of it is done in long, gazing, blue-eyed looks, a lot (A LOT) of hugging moreso than kissing and double entendres spread throughout the film like “The East has a way of swallowing men and their dreams” or “He was never beaten except by Hephaistion’s thighs” (referring to the boy wrestlers overseen by Prince Vultan) and to “Never confuse your feelings with your duties.”

It’s not the movie’s fault that the key stop of Alexander’s Bond-villain-like campaign, Gaugamela, sounds like the ancient battleground where the Smurfs defeated their archenemy or the monkey-lovin’ tribe that Alexander would name “Monkey” or Jolie rolling her “R’s” so vociferously it wouldn’t surprise you to hear her belt out “R-R-R-uffles have R-R-R-idges.” Then again, maybe it is because if the film had any focus whatsoever, seriousness would have overcome silliness.

As if Stone was trying to one-up the legendary “Great” himself by going all over the map, he reaches for so much and dies so early. Production design, gorgeous matte paintings and a nice Vangelis score that all but disappears midway aside, Alexander falls to the depths with Luc Besson’s Joan of Arc debacle, The Messenger, of the worst historical excursions ever given such the ambitious treatment. For Stone to even fall back on homaging his Scarface screenplay by Olympius announcing to Alexander that “THE WORLD IS YOURS!” shows either a lack of vision or such a confused mentality that his anti-hero could be compared across the gauntlet from George W. Bush to Tony Montana. Obviously the appearance of Farrell’s shlong prevented Stone from recycling “say hello to my little friend” but even if Alexander had been ambushed at the end by a group of angry Cubans, the sheer anachronistic absurdity wouldn’t have been enough to awaken me from my slumber. “When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.” Even without the benefits of a classical education that Hans Gruber suggested, I still felt like weeping for having witnessed it.

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originally posted: 11/24/04 16:47:22
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User Comments

11/05/15 David Hollingsworth The accents are really annoying! 1 stars
8/17/12 Ed Not a bad movie. Does take a while to capture the scope and essence. 3 stars
8/15/09 Jeff Wilder Not great or even all that good. But I've seen worse. Better than King Arthur at least/ 2 stars
9/04/08 Alexandru Totir I don't know why many of you didn't like it. I think it's a great movie and I loved it. 5 stars
8/21/08 Shaun Wallner boring! couldnt watch the whole thing. 1 stars
7/10/08 L. Slusarczyk not that bad of a movie. Liked the final release the best of the 3. 3 stars
5/02/08 Max Sloppy, disjointed, pretentious, and lifeless. 1 stars
11/06/07 Tiffany Losco Leto is hott!!! 5 stars
9/24/07 Nicholas Maday Would have been better if Ptolemy hadn't been telling the whole story. 2 stars
7/30/07 Samantha it was different than other stuff we hear, but it was dramatic and passionate I loved it 5 stars
6/28/07 Anthony Irish accents ruined the whole movie 1 stars
1/29/07 titwank incredible, epic, great music, fantastic story, masterpiece... 5 stars
1/22/07 sam i won't watch the movie if not required in my subject. eww! 1 stars
12/17/06 Briseis A complete flop, sorry 2 stars
12/14/06 The Deadly Assassin Oliver Stone messes up history 2 stars
11/11/06 cody a pretty ok film about the alexander, but flashbacks were mess up plot and kinded of gay. 3 stars
10/10/06 Steve Newman Took me three days to watch this on Sky plus - AVOID!!! 2 stars
9/16/06 Doremimi Hey, Angelina, say "Moose and Squirrel." 1 stars
9/08/06 Thomas Semesky A lot of miscast characters. How can you make a someone like Alexander so boring? 1 stars
4/28/06 Alana M. Barquero This was a pretty bad movie. I was forcing myself to watch it because it had Angelina Jolie 2 stars
4/25/06 Anthony Feor The word terrible at its best 1 stars
1/10/06 John Linton Roberson A sad, incomprehensible failure. 1 stars
11/08/05 Major Bludd Not that bad my friends... could have been much worse 4 stars
11/08/05 ELI Colin Farrell's nuts, that alone gets 4 stars. plus the movie was funny! :) 4 stars
10/25/05 David Really pretty boring, could have neen really awesome but totally missed the mark. Shameful. 2 stars
9/28/05 christopher matrisciano This movie was my favorite Irish film next to " In the Name of the Father". 2 stars
9/23/05 JM Troy is better, Alexander is homosexual 2 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes 100% garbage 1 stars
9/20/05 John he psyhedelic version of Alexander the Great - terrible 1 stars
9/07/05 Melina Deserves to be re-told - different director, cast and story 2 stars
9/03/05 dan mccarthy this is absolute garbage 1 stars
8/26/05 EZ Alexander the Great was great this film was extremley bad 1 stars
8/18/05 --- Too few battles, too much gay stuff, irish accents for greeks? 1 stars
8/16/05 john smith worse than that mistake platoon 1 stars
8/16/05 A Whittick A crass treatment of a potentially great subject matter, laughable at best - mainly crass 1 stars
8/15/05 .:*paris*:. its boring and i didnt understand the story.needs some work! 2 stars
8/09/05 snowcapsdean finally a movie that is outside the box with balls. 5 stars
8/06/05 Richard Simmons Ollie Stone is an overrated piece of s**t, and so are his movies. 1 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma It wasn't that bad. 4 stars
5/18/05 Pippin007 Boring!! 1 stars
5/11/05 Simon If you want to know how to absolutely ruin an epic story via film, look no further. 1 stars
4/07/05 chris man critics need to get a clue they always whine about wanting something difftrent 5 stars
3/26/05 Greg Ursic I've never checked my watch that many times during a movie. Stone sucks! 1 stars
3/09/05 LarryV Better than expected 4 stars
3/03/05 Cassander Loved it 5 stars
3/03/05 michael weber EHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Shut up movie 1 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung this just reeks 1 stars
2/25/05 L.G. Ugh... and yuck. Hmmm... History Channel produces beter stuff. Almost fell asleep 1 stars
2/16/05 Melody Arneil For a good laugh watch it on DVD for Angelina Jolie's over the top performance 2 stars
2/12/05 Gabriel Jolivet what a bad movie !!!! do I need to say more !!! 1 stars
2/11/05 Sharon Davis Bad, unexpectedly bad 1 stars
2/08/05 Jeff Anderson A TOTAL BOTCH! Miscast left & right, lots of historical mistakes, & boring to boot!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
2/07/05 marky i love you baby!!! 1 stars
2/05/05 bongeezer Awesome....LY BAD!!!! 1 stars
2/05/05 COlleen GOldrick regretfully not a good one 2 stars
2/04/05 craig varney loved it great escapism 5 stars
2/04/05 Debbi Kalstein disapointing 2 stars
2/04/05 ss OMG! I cant say enough about this movie.. Go see it 4 stars
2/03/05 Kent B. Borrrrrinnnggggggggg zzzzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
2/03/05 Clifford C Gardner weak - Colin is out of his depth 2 stars
2/02/05 Mark McConnell totally misunderstood - more important technical battle scenes than lotr 5 stars
1/31/05 caro awful 1 stars
1/29/05 clarance the cobra sucked balls...collin farrel is the biggest fagget and worst actor 1 stars
1/27/05 The Lurchprong Splitter Loses steam after the first 2 hours. Alexander shouldn't've gone to India. 3 stars
1/26/05 Jo-Art Oliver Stone is no Peter Jackson 1 stars
1/21/05 malcolm the longest road trip in history. rosario dawson nekkit was definitely the highlight. 3 stars
1/14/05 pym Stone should lose his license over this one. A big, cheese oozing pile of mumbo-jumbo. 1 stars
1/09/05 keithers.. Made durning the epic craze after lord of the rings 2 stars
1/08/05 flor hidalgo It was a movie I would rent if I have nothing else to do on a sunday. My husband just slept 3 stars
1/07/05 LL great film. dont know what these yanks are talking about (i think theyre all homophobic) 5 stars
12/27/04 Tom Troy and Gladiator were much better films, R Crowe, B Pitt better in Lead roles 2 stars
12/15/04 kev boy best film i've seen in along time......way to go OLIVER!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/13/04 UMER GLADIATOR-mania should really now stop after this . 2 stars
12/12/04 Kevin I actually enjoyed the film. It wasn't that bad. U can't really judge a movie thats a bio. 4 stars
12/12/04 nitram Alexander assasinated by Oliver Stone! 1 stars
12/12/04 john overdone psychadelic version of Alexander's life - fails in a big way 1 stars
12/11/04 Christie Robnett Very well done movie. Farrell was excellent in this role. Oscar nomination? 4 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams Rosario dawson is in it, so it was bound to bomb. 1 stars
12/08/04 Ricardo Never seen s film fail in so many directions simultaneously! 1 stars
12/07/04 wes todd worse battle scenes ever! 2 stars
12/06/04 Jennifer i loved this film! 5 stars
12/06/04 DTree They needed to focus on what made Alexander Great, instead of his romance with Hephastion 2 stars
12/05/04 KayCe Whitacre It is simpply titled "Alexander" because it is so far from "The Great" that we deserve. 1 stars
12/04/04 Michael Alexander, the mother hating, gay porn star. 1 stars
12/04/04 Denise good 3 stars
12/04/04 JL awesome in some parts, but lags in others however its awesome 5 stars
12/03/04 jesna BRILLIANT!! 5 stars
12/03/04 Catholic One of the best action, slashing, war movies I have seen in a while. 5 stars
12/02/04 Ashley This movie portrayed Alexander as a whiny brat and didn't show his military genius 1 stars
12/02/04 Punker omg this sucked nutz 1 stars
12/02/04 Al Guy I knew this was a bad idea. Yuk. 1 stars
12/01/04 A. Newman It was total crap. it could have, no should have, been better 1 stars
12/01/04 Naka "Gay thing" or no gay thing, this movie SUCKS UTTERLY. Stone is a failure. 1 stars
12/01/04 Lyu I'd rather have lung cancer than having to watch this shit again.It was that bad. 1 stars
12/01/04 Mohit Ahuja this movie is a load of crap ! 1 stars
11/29/04 John Keenan mired down, too much homo, story misses Alexander's greatness 2 stars
11/28/04 Alex Montesino To all you bigots, Alexander the Great was GAY! Get over it! 3 stars
11/28/04 calvin fag flick 1 stars
11/28/04 Alexandra And people wonder why Europe hates Americans!!!. European hero turned into flaming gay! 1 stars
11/27/04 T@T homo crap total waste of time 1 stars
11/27/04 carl fun, critics are so knit picky wanabe's ok not to have to see everything 5 stars
11/27/04 Chuck One of the worse movies I have ever seen. 1 stars
11/27/04 luke hopkins and kilmer were good everyone else at best average 3 stars
11/27/04 Naka Hahahahaha and this thing had OSCAR BUZZ?! lol nope! 1 stars
11/26/04 jcjs i enjoyed it...critics are way too harsh with this...i don't know why 4 stars
11/26/04 the greatest hitchcock movie until psycho, i love it and the cats and! people that dont like this film think there smarter than everyone that does, those pussies. 3 stars
11/26/04 sens4evr 3 hours of my life... gone... wasted... 1 stars
11/26/04 Andy Greschner Alexander the Great? Really? You sure? Alexander the gay waffler? Yeah, thats more like it 1 stars
11/25/04 vagile Alexander the Great on bizarro world maybe. 1 stars
11/25/04 MARZ great film. gotta see it again! 5 stars
11/25/04 gregory neil What a self important flop 1 stars
11/24/04 Arid History for the dummies: directed by one, and acted by another 1 stars
11/23/04 Kristina Williams Saw this at my campus. Not Troy bad, but not Spartacus good. 3 stars
11/21/04 atanu Ultra crap. somebody put a stop to the overrated fucker farrell 1 stars
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  24-Nov-2004 (R)
  DVD: 27-Feb-2007



Directed by
  Oliver Stone

Written by
  Oliver Stone

  Colin Farrell
  Angelina Jolie
  Anthony Hopkins
  Val Kilmer
  Jared Leto
  Rosario Dawson

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