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Overall Rating
2.03

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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Alexander
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by MP Bartley

"Alexander really shouldn't get Stoned."
2 stars

There's a great bit in 'Singing In The Rain' when after a disastrous preview of their new talkie, Donald O'Connor suggests they redub the dialogue, add songs, and hey presto a new comedy classic is born. A similiar trick could be pulled in 'Alexander' if they did rewrite and redub all the dialogue. And recast it. And reshot it. And re-edited it. Because although 'Alexander' may not be as bad as some people are calling it, when you consider just how bad that is, it still doesn't work as an endorsement does it?

Oliver Stone's history lesson takes us from the young Alexander growing up to try and rival his father Philip (Val Kilmer), to the young king played by Colin Farrell who is increasingly at odds with his mother, Angeline Jolie (who looks every inch only two years older than Farrell, which she is). This young Alexander will later conquer most of the known world and find lands previously undiscovered by humanity.

Sounds exciting doesn't it? But note that I said 'history lesson', because that's exactly what it is: a dry as bones lecture from Anthony Hopkins over pretty shots of jungles and deserts. If just reading about Alexander's exploits and battles sounds thrilling, then just imagine what it's going to look like on the big screen. But unfortunately, you're going to have to imagine, as Stone has incredibly made a film about THE GREATEST WARRIOR TO HAVE EVER LIVED!, but only included a miserly two battles to illustrate this. In a three hour epic. You want to see Alexander's first few scraps as he brutally puts down the first stirrings of rebellion against him? Tough, we'll just be told that he does and accept it. You want to see Alexander sweep across the whole world for years on end with no limits to his horizons? Tough again, we'll have to settle for being told that he's gone, er, quite far for, er, quite a long time now.

It's as if Oliver Stone and the cast and crew decided to have a sweepstake as to how many elements of a film they could get wrong. Whoever had their money on 'practically all of them' should collect their winnings now.

Should we first mention the fact that Stone has seemingly lost all of his linear, powerful storytelling skills that were honed to perfection in 'JFK' for example? Or the fact that he has such little clue as to what he's doing, that for the final battle ( a faintly surreal charge against an army on elephants) he bathes the screen in a lurid red. For no apparent reason. For minutes on end.

Oh yes, there's a couple of battles here to illustrate just what Alexander was about. But the first, a huge army face-off at Gaugamela, while awe-inspiring at first with its sheer size, quickly becomes incomphrensible as the desert is kicked up into a sandstorm obscuring everything we can see. The main impression that we come away with after this battle is "Wow...the battle of Pelennor fields in 'Return of the King' was really something wasn't it?". Peter Jackson has raised the bar for epics so high now that Stone and 'Alexander' can't even see it, they're that far below it.

A ludicrously bad cast give no help either, particularly with their acting taken from the pages of 'Dial-a-accent'. Farrell has a commanding presence, but his decision to play Alexander with the accent and demeanour of an Irish doorman ruins his interpretation from the start. Val Kilmer meanwhile, seems to believe that Philip was equal parts Yorkshireman, Irishman and everywhere inbetween, while Jolie obviously hails from that little-known part of Macedonia, Russia. Jolie's performance is almost enjoyable as she's so bad and high camp, like the ghosts of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Zsa Zsa Gabor rolled up into one.

'Alexander' might have - just - worked, if it had been as camp as Jolie's performance is. But unfortunately it isn't, as Stone has crafted an incredibly boring film about an incredibly interesting man. Instead of battles we have endless philosophical monologues to the troops about death and destiny (can we just close the book on warriors addressing their troops on horseback just before the big battle, please?) which don't stir the emotions, but close the eyelids. We have endless lovelorn looks between Alexander and his best friend, Hephiston (Jared Leto). Dragged out longer than Ross and Rachel in 'Friends' you just want to scream "Get a room!!" at them to hurry the film up.

And the script gives zero insight into just why Alexander was such an accomplished and inspirational leader. Instead we have endless scenes of talking and dialogue about politics. Which is potentially interesting if it didn't start sounding uncannily like the sequel for 'Anchor Man' ("By the sweet breath of Olympia!" is only one step away from "Odin's ravens!"). And talking of 'Anchor Man', a debate about Alexander's policy that descends into a full blown argument, hilariously brings to mind the "I don't know what we're yelling about!" scene. If only 'Alexander' could be as constantly funny.

There's a fun drinking game to be had during 'Alexander'. Knock back a shot for every time Stone uses a pretentious symbolic shot of an animal as a substitute for one of the characters. You'll be wasted from the Jolie = snake references alone, and that's unfortunately the only fun you'll have from 'Alexander'. When we first saw the trailer for it, my girlfriend remarked: "Why would you want to see that? It's just a twat on a horse". Alexander, the world's greatest warrior, just a twat on a horse? Sadly true, I couldn't have put it better myself.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11182&reviewer=293
originally posted: 02/02/05 03:47:59
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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
8/13/05 Aldo I RATHER PICK MY NOSE.....ALEXANDER THE GAY 1 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 Naka HAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. 1 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 directors..it'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
11/27/04 STANZ WORST MOVIE EVER!! OLIVER SHOULD BE ASHAMED!! 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 Shane WORST MOVIE EVER!!! FUCK THIS REALLY SUCKED MORE THAN NETHING COULD EVER SUCK!!! 1 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Nov-2004 (R)
  DVD: 27-Feb-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Jan-2005


Directed by
  Oliver Stone

Written by
  Oliver Stone

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



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