Alexander

Alexander

For better or worse (and in this case, it's mostly for better), Oliver Stone's Alexander Revisited should stand as the definitive version of Stone's much-maligned epic about the great Asian conqueror. Following the DVD release of his previous Director's Cut, Stone offers a video introduction here, explaining why he felt a third and 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. In Stone's final cut, epic battles remain chaotic (although Alexander's strategy is somewhat easier to follow, with on-screen titles indicating left, right, and center during his army's greatest maneuvers) and the ultra-violent battles are more graphically gory than ever (hence their "unrated" status). The animalistic lovemaking of Alexander and his barbarian bride Roxana (Rosario Dawson) is slightly extended (with Dawson as ravishing as ever), and Stone's additional footage also improves the overall arc of Alexander's relationship with his closest generals and male companions, although his most intimate homosexual encounters remain mostly discreet. As Alexander Revisited makes clear, the film's weaknesses remain unavoidable, but Stone deserves credit for recognizing how a longer running time, and more disciplined narrative structure, would bring Alexander closer to the respect it never earned from critics and filmgoers alike. This is unquestionably a better film than it used to be, leaving us to wonder why it took three separate efforts to shape Alexander into its best possible presentation. --Jeff Shannon

Director(s): Oliver Stone
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  6 wins & 19 nominations.
 
IMDB:
5.6
Metacritic:
39
Rotten Tomatoes:
16%
R (Restricted)
Year:
2004
214
$34,264,081
Website
3,093 Views

Alexander:
You've all honored your country and your ancestors and now we come to this most distant place in Asia where across from us Darius has at last gathered a vast army, but look again at this horde and ask yourselves, who is this great king who pays assassins in gold coins to murder my father, our king in a most despicable and cowardly manner? Who is this great king Darius who enslaves his own men to fight? Who is this king but a king of air? These men do not fight for their homes. They fight because this king tells them they must. And when they fight, they will melt away like the air, because they know no loyalty to a king of slaves! But we are not here today as slaves. We are here today... as Macedonian free men! And all their arms, their numbers, their chariots and their fine horses will mean nothing in the hands of slaves. Some of you, perhaps myself, will not live to see the sun set over these mountains today, for I will be in the very thick of battle with you. But remember this, the greatest honor a man can achieve is to live with great courage, and to die gloriously in battle for his home. I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time: conquer your fear and I promise you you will conquer death! Someday I promise you, your sons and grandsons will look into your eyes. And when they ask you why you fought so bravely at Gaugamela, you will answer, with all the strength of your great, great hearts: "I was here this day at Gaugamela...for the freedom...and glory...of Greece!" Zeus be with us!


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