Whatever you do…

don’t go see Alexander. Man, that movie was horrible. If you’ve seen the movie, then you can probably relate. And if you haven’t, then hopefully this will convince you not to.

Warning: This article may get a little graphic. It was really that bad. And there’s spoilers, as if you could even begin to spoil that piece of garbage.

First of all, for a 3-hour movie, to spend around 90 minutes on battle scenes is a bit much. But fine, much of the stuff that got Alex famous was his performance on the battlefield. But the battle scenes were so terrible. It looked like they gave a camcorder to a dog or 2-year-old, and just let them run around for a while. The potency of the extreme gore was completely lost, since it never focused on anything long enough for us to know whose leg or arm or whatever-the-hell-that-was was getting chopped off. The action was so hard to look at, it made my eyes tired. If it was shorter scenes, it would have been more bearable, but after a few minutes of that, I felt like I’d been reading the phone book.

Tired eyes isn’t a good condition to be in with acting and writing as bad as this. Angelina Jolie is hot as hell, but I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s just not enough - if it doesn’t involve a skin-tight Lara Croft outfit, I’m not interested in anything she does in the future. The acting was horrible, the lines were trite, the characters grossly two-dimensional, and no one’s actions were given any kind of relatability or reasoning.

If it had been mostly historically accurate, then all the rest would be overlookable. At least it’s educational, we’d say. But it wasn’t. Most of the scenes were the kind of back-room innuendos that never would have made it into the history books, and all the really cool history, like how Alexander won the hearts and loyalty of the subjects, and got in with the Persian nobility, was completely glossed over. After every choppy-out-of-focus-splurting-horse-mangled spear fest, we were treated to a bad music video, with the same veiled and bejeweled Arabian dancers as they had in the last country that A. to the G. mowed down. And what’s with quoting Virgil? I mean, the Aeneid wasn’t written until 380-something years AFTER Alexander died.

The teachings of Aristotle really blew me away, too. Never mind the epistemology and egoism that set the whole “Western Civilization” ball a’rolling - nope. Mr. Stone’s Aristotle had two major teachings:

  1. Gay sex is cool, if it’s about the virtue and not about the sex.
  2. Persians are bad.

Um, yeah. What can I even say?

Speaking of gay sex, Alexander and Hephaistion had quite the affair going on. It seemed that in every damn scene, those two had to gush about how much they love each other, and how they’ll go to the ends of the earth for each other. No action to speak of. Like the Billie Holiday song, “This is a fine romance.” I didn’t find out until later that the Hephaistion relationship was supposed to be why Al’s first wife came at him with a knife on their wedding night. Since she was naked in the scene, it was one of the few moments that I’m glad I was awake for. If it was just an excuse for some gratuitous sexually charged violence, well, what can you expect from the man who brought us The Doors and Natural Born Killers? But other than her occasional snide homophobic remark, no reason was ever given for her trying to kill him. None. And then the next time we see her, she’s all sad because he’s not home enough.

Re: “Conquer your fear, and I promise you - you will conquer death!”
Braveheart sure was a good movie, wasn’t it? Remember that part where the Scottish guy said that stuff about freedom? And he was on a horse? Remember that part? Wasn’t that part cool?
Yeah… Oliver Stone thought so, too.

So, about assway through the movie, they’re standing in the snowy Himilayas. Alexaurus Rex is debating whether to go over the mountains or brave the pass of Kazad-d?m. Someone said something about someone’s mother or something, and the next I know, there’s flashbacks of his drunken Jim Morrison-esque father, and Alexander the Great becomes Alexander the Impaler. He kills some guy, cries about it, kills someone else, kills anyone who things that it’s wrong to be doing all this killing, kills a few more people who wanted to go home, cries about them, kills some poor sap for wearing mismatched socks…
It was so bad.

Flash forward to Alexander getting hit with an arrow while charging an elephant (another out-of-focus-and-much-too-bright battle scenes,) and appears to be down for the count. He sees Hephaistion nearly dead as well. Hooray! It’s over! Hahaha, you wish! Oliver truly met Joe Black on this one - it ended like a half dozen times before credits rolled. In one tragic ending scene, Hephaistion is sick with some kinda leukemia, hair falling out from grueling chemotherapy and whatnot. Ilksandr launches into some monologue about dreams and conquering death and how their children will grow up in a free nation, and blah blah blah. He walks over towards the window, continuing his speech. Turns back towards Hephaistion, and lo and behold! He’s dead as a stump! I laughed my ass off, but I felt a bit like croaking myself after that speech.

That movie was a 180-minute bloody abortion of overdone preview-scenes, shitty sound clips, and bad directing, without an ounce of good story-telling to be found. This coming from a fan both of historical dramas and of Alexander the Great (the actual historical figure, I mean.) I wouldn’t even recommend getting it on video: it was an offensively bad movie. If you’re on a plane, and you feel like taking a nap, pay attention. The action might just put you to sleep.

One Response to “Whatever you do…”

  1. On November 30th, 2004 at 10:57:52, Haze Said:

    VDH said the same thing, in his unique style. I?m not much of a historian, but these two reviews together have crushed even my entertainment curiosity. Stone has already shown that he can make a historical move very interesting and entertaining, while at the same time pissing on the historical evidence, as seen in JFK. But it sounds like he couldn?t even do that here.

    By the way, thanks for the tip over at my site, the clean URL?s look a lot better.

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