Directed by Oliver Stone.
Written by Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle and Laeta Kalogridis.
Starring Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer and Jared Leto.
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 11/29/04
Another swords and skirts adventure?
Hey, I'm a sucker for bloody ol' war epics, so I signed up for
"Alexander" tonight and man...I blew it.
A tale of Alexander the Great's run through
Asia in...well, sometime before the birth of Christ, Alexander
(Colin Farrell) rises from illegitimate heir to the Greek throne to
world conqueror status thanks to some land grabs in Persia and then
India. In between, he kills a shitload of people, tries to get
over the psychological impact his crazy mom Olympias (Angelina Jolie)
had on him, and mates with a common dancer (Rosario Dawson) while
trying to fend off assassination attempts and coup plots from within
his own gang of politicos and military types. And, did I
mention that Alexander seems to have, in the great words of Ryan
"Always Bet On" Black, an extreme case of "the gay"???
Here's what great about "Alexander":
it is a beautiful looking production, especially on a digital
projector (yeah, I got lucky).
Here's what's not great about "Alexander":
every single other thing about this fucking movie.
Now, let's not discount the look of this
thing--man, "Alexander" sure LOOKS like it cost the $150 million
folks are talking about, because from the sets, to the special
effects, to the actors, everything does look quite good and no one
should even start to argue this point. Truly breathtaking,
looks-wise. But, how did the great Oliver Stone come up with a
movie that was so bad? I don't even know where to begin.
Colin Farrell. From his look to
that hair to his line delivery, Farrell just isn't right for this
part. I could never place a finger on exactly why--although he
occasionally seems to deliver his lines with the emotional strength
of David Duchovny--but I never fully believed that soldiers would
follow this man into any battle anywhere in the world.
The script. Man, who makes
three-hour adventures with only two major action scenes? Man,
who scripted this supposedly 2000-year-old dialogue like guys were
talking a hundred years ago? Man, why was I squirming in my
chair waiting for this film to end for almost an hour???
"Alexander" also seems to need better editors, because this thing
was hemorrhaging in places all over the map...ugh.
Homoerotic themes. Here's my
thing about painting a picture of Alexander as reasonably-gay
soldier: Stone seems to spend so much time giving us
is-he-or-isn't-he scenes that I was actually just hoping Alexander
would just BE GAY ALREADY, rather than giving us literally seven
scenes where Alexander is mentally undressing the ambiguously-male
servant that always gives Alexander his baths. I mean, I
really just wanted Stone to give in and say, "You know what, folks,
okay. Alexander was gay. In the next scene, the male
servant and the Great One are going to do the nasty. So
there." Each time we got another one of these scenes I was
just sitting there like "ENOUGH ALREADY!!!"
Only two action scenes...and two not very
good ones at that. Man, if I have to suffer through
another "rain of arrows" shot in a swords-and-skirts movie, I might
have to kill myself. The action scenes we do get are only cool
when we get to watch people trying to fight against armored
elephants. Otherwise, all dogshit.
Not enough Rosario Dawson. Man,
Dawson is hot...but, she is mostly second-fiddlin' it for
"Alexander" and I was not happy about this. In general, not
enough women to keep the Daddy happy here. Even Jolie wasn't
much of a turn-on here.
Seriously, the only thing saving "Alexander"
from Hard Vice status is its look. Otherwise, this is a
surprisingly bad movie.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard