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224 of 234 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More true to history than people think
I originally sat on the fence in my opinion of the theatre release of Alexander, but Alexander Revisited has won me over as admirer of the film. The new cut has a truly epic feel and the leading characters are portrayed with more breadth and depth. In particular, the climactic crises of Alexander's career are conveyed more intelligibly and convincingly than before. I am...
Published on March 11, 2007 by A. M. Chugg

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85 of 97 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A review from a history teacher who focuses on Greece, Rome and the Hellenistic World
20 minutes into this movie I was thinking that it had real potential. We get to see the ugly details of Alexander's childhood. We get an understanding of his need to conquer, the need to achieve more than his father and his fascination for the non-Greek world (thanks to his mother).

An hour into the movie I was confused and disappointed. Confused because of the...
Published on October 8, 2005 by DWD's Reviews


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224 of 234 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More true to history than people think, March 11, 2007
I originally sat on the fence in my opinion of the theatre release of Alexander, but Alexander Revisited has won me over as admirer of the film. The new cut has a truly epic feel and the leading characters are portrayed with more breadth and depth. In particular, the climactic crises of Alexander's career are conveyed more intelligibly and convincingly than before. I am the author of both academic articles and non-fiction books on Alexander, so I feel I should comment particularly on the historical accuracy of the film. In my opinion Alexander Revisited is notably honest, daring and sincere in its pursuit of historical accuracy. Although Oliver has deliberately conflated events which actually occurred at different times and places into single scenes (I think he had to in order to tell the whole story in a single film), almost everything has some kind of historical basis in the group of 2000 year old accounts, which provide most of our knowledge of Alexander. For example, such details as Cleitus severing the arm of a Persian about to strike Alexander, the incident with the monkeys in India and Alexander's visit to the wounded after the battle are all in the sources. Even that eagle is mentioned by Curtius. Furthermore, many snippets of dialogue are based on words actually said to have been spoken by Alexander: e.g. "He too is Alexander", "So would I if I were Parmenion", "It is a lovely thing to live with courage..." Great attention to historical detail was also paid to the costumes and scenery. Babylon was particularly good - the ziggurat, the flowers and the caged big cats were all really there when Alexander drove into the city in a chariot. Overall, Alexander Revisited gives a more authentic sense of the real history than any other film about the ancient world that I can think of. Gladiator was a great film, but its greatness owed more to Marvel comic strip principles of action and violence than to its setting in ancient Rome. Alexander Revisited is a great film because it tells one of the most compelling human stories in all of history with faithfulness, drama and pathos.
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208 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alexander Revisited...a review from one who has the 3 DVD's, February 28, 2007
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Oliver Stone's Alexander Revisited is now something of a masterwork. He is given the chance to tell the story as he would have originally liked to have presented it. The 45 minutes of extra's are true extra's...spread out in short 2 to 5 second edits...to more lengthly exchanges that happily include Brian Blessed as the Physical Instructor, Christopher Plummer as Aristotle and quite a bit more voice over and character addition from Anthony Hopkins as the aged Ptolemy.

The action starts almost immediately with a longer, more graphic version of the Battle of Gaugemela (Wonderfully undertaken, Stone paying homage to the great Sergei Bondarchuk with those terrific panning shots) and then works backwards through Alexanders youth. The film moves forward and backwards from there yet the new subtitles give you the year and how long, before or after, from the previous scene. It is quite instructive to anyone the slighest bit confused and is a superb history lesson. Also good are longer dancing scenes with Roxanna's troupe and Bogoas' troupe...both superb, filmic scenes...beautifully done. The Bogoas character (Francisco Bosch) is also expanded and made far more sympathetic.

The Indian Battle (wonderfully filmed in Thailand) is also more graphic as are some of the more intimate scenes yet nothing is without merit. This is not 2007, it's 330BC and mores and the concept of battle, honor, fidelity etc were different for those times. I for one, praise Mr. Stone for a very accurate feel and presence...and even minor characters are explained in far greater detail...such as the young Guardsman who killed Philip (Kilmer)...in a flashback we see his motives. It is now far more beautifully edited...from a master filmaker who values editing, JFK gets my vote as the best edited film of all time.

I am giving it 5 Stars...a masterpiece. Do watch the Stone introduction, he says it better than I..."If you liked the original you'll love this, if you hated the original you'll hate this even more!" Now there is a man!

The only part I am saddened about is that over the end titles Vangelis' epic piece 'Titans' is still only 2 minutes long...yet it fits the edit...and I would urge you to purchase the CD for the complete 4 minute version...one of the best pieces of film music I felt ever written.
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89 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Improvement, March 31, 2007
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Having admired the initial theatrical cut i was disappointed with the directors cut released on DVD. To me this appeared to be a sell out by Oliver Stone to appease the negative reaction this film received on release and try and win over more people with extended battles and less homosexual overtones. The directors cut played out badly and missed important backstory and character development shown in the original version. Hearing a final uncut, full length version was to be released i purchased hoping Oliver had had a rethink and restored his film to its greater glory. Well i can happily say he did and more. This is the cut which despite its 3.5 hour running time should have been released at the beginning. Alexander and his relationships have been given greater attention here and it helps the audience gain a greater understanding of this flawed but valiant person. The battle scenes have been extended and include some new graphic additions (a person being squashed to a pulp by an elephant being a memorable one) really adding to the scope and brutality of warfare. Colin Farrell does a great job however i felt Val Kilmer to be slightly weak and unbelievable. Overall this is a fine film which makes a noble attempt at capturing the essence of one of history's most revered and mysterious figures. The elephant battle scene is one of the best ever committed to film. Oliver Stone confirmed he wanted to make a film like the old greats (Ben Hur) with the same large canas and epic vision. Whilst he has succeeded i cannot forgive him for taking three goes to get it right. I would of thought someone as gifted as him wouldn't have needed to do this and is very lucky Warner Bros have given him another chance. I have not heard of anyone being this lucky before. Nevertheless i highly recommend this film for history buffs and battle fans who should rejoice in the fantastic canvas on display here. This is definitely NOT the disaster so many labelled it and the director should be very proud he has finally got it right.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alexander Stoned, April 1, 2007
This review is from: Alexander (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
There aren't too many epic filmakers these days, and just about all of them court controversy at some point in their careers. Oliver Stone is just that kind of a man. From "JFK" to the recent "World Trade Center," he is not afraid to make decisions that will rankle people. Such is the case with his glorious mess, "Alexander." Everything about this movie is so right that the total failure of the film to connect can only lie on Stone's shoulders.

Colin Farrell plays Alexander as a troubled Mama's boy. The much debated 'gay content' is limited to googely-eyes shared between Farrell and Jared Leto (the hottest sex scene is when Rosario Dawson and Farrell get it on). Everyone - from Farrell to Val Kilmer, speaks as if Macedonia was Northern Ireland. Except Angelina Jolie, who plays Alexander's mother like she just left a gig doing Natasha voice overs for "Rocky and Bullwinkle" cartoons. Kilmer, by the way, is nothing short of brilliant as King Phillip. I didn't even recognize him at first, he is so enveloped in the role.

The filming itself is rich, lush, beautiful. So what does Stone do with it? Everyone stands up and makes speeches. Over and over, people talk on and on through scenes that go way beyond their need. Anthony Hopkin's voice overs give the film a much needed narrative connectivity, yet Hopkins himself barely appears. When he DOES show up, it is to pontificate like he's onstage at some Shakespearian production.

The battle scenes are mammoth, chaotic, splendid. That is, unless you want to have any indication of who is fighting who. Then, all the thrown dust and swirling camera work leave you guessing. Same with the bizarrely intercut timelines. You will have several WTF moments as you try to figure out not just the what, but the when an activity is taking place. Be patient and you will be rewarded with the spectacle of Alexander's final battle in India, with charging elephants and stunning scenery.

When comparing "Alexander" to "Troy" or "Kingdom Of Heaven," Stone's movie falls somewhere between the two. "Alexander" is more an accurate portrayal of Alexander than "Troy's" bungling of Homer's Iliad, (at least Stone didn't flinch away from bi-sexuality they way Wolfgang Peterson did with Achilles in "Troy"), but Troy never felt like it was dragging in pace. One the other hand, Colin Farell and the cast of "Alexander" are far more convincing than "Kingdom Of Heaven," even if I believe Ridley Scott managed to craft the more watchable movie.

It's too bad that all this amazing work is left floundering in chaos, becuase "Alexander" had all the making of a brilliant movie. It is so ambitious that I can't help but add the fourth star, but I suspect that a few more edits might have made this a more choherent movie. We all know Oliver Stone has it in him, after all, he made a movie that was mostly two hours of men buried in rubble fascinating. Why "Alexander" seems like it was left as rubble mystefies me.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A film that had the potential to be "Great"...., April 8, 2007
After watching the movie and reading quite a bit of reviews. I decided I wanted to write my own. Just to let my ideas and my fustration out with my unanswerable question of "why" this film was so badly put down by many.

I neither gave it a 5 stars "GREAT!" review nor a 1 star "Mess of a movie" but I am leaning more towards the good.

I'll just start off with the bad. I've read many reviews complaining about the cast. Some say they love Angelina Jolie and hate Colin Ferrel. Other's say the exact opposite. Some even bashed Anthony Hopkins as being boring. I think it's more of the opinion of which is your favorite actor, from most of the reviews I've read. I didn't think Colin Ferrel was a great Alexander. Good, yes, I think he certainly gave it his all, but not great. At certain points of the film he was lacking, like his speech at the Gaugemela battle, which could have been cut short. I wanted to get on with the battle scene. I was not very fond with Jolie's Russian accent, but I wasn't as bothered by it as some people. But I did like her sorceress ways and her pet snakes. And I really didn't understand why people were tearing out Hopkins and his role. I thought he gave a good and honest performance of an old Ptolemy recollecting the past.

The conclusion I came to this was that Oliver Stone went overboard with the star studded cast. To me there was just one big celebrity clashing with the other. I felt all of them were going to implode because they were all trying to top each other on their performances.

The music score could have been better for a big film such as this. I didn't find much diversity in the music, it seem the same as you hear it throughout the film. I would've liked it to be dramatically different as Alexander goes from one country to the next.

The Good: It was visually stunning! The set designs, costumes, etc. were all excellent. Despite all the bad reviews I would still like it just because of the visuals. The designs for the Babylon palace are amazing. It makes me think of Alexander as a fool for not wanting to go back to the palace in Babylon and stay there for the rest of his life. The costumes were all culturally diverse from one region to the next.

I also found the battle scenes great and exciting. I don't believe the reviews that say the battle scenes are a mess. I thought it was more believable that a battle would be so chaotic that its hard to tell who's who or which is which. A real battle is not nicely choreographed! I never thought it was confusing when I was watching it, for one thing there were subtitles telling you which flank you're watching and you get what the army is trying to do.

As for historical accuracy, there are many who criticize films for being historically inaccurate. Alexander is not one of those films. It tries to be as historically accurate as it can be, given what we're to guess as how Alexander's life was. And Alexander was more accurate then other films it was compared to like Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven. Though I do like these films, they were grossly inaccurate. A gladiator didn't kill emperor Commodus in the arena. Lucilla did not outlive her brother. Balian was NOT a blacksmith, nor was his father Godfrey. And Balian never had an affair with Sibylla. As for Alexander, at least the main facts are straight. He did have a mother named Olympia and a father named Phillip. He did marry a girl named Roxane. He did become king at a young age and led a strong campaign to conquer the known world. And he died the time he did with the same incident as history has told us, from a fever. The movie also incorporates some of the debate that historians have to his death, example: poisoned, over drinking, etc. which I found interesting.

As for the flow of the story. Many complained that there is no clear answer of Alexander in the movie. Well of course it wouldn't have a very clear point. Nobody really knew what Alexander was like, save all but a few stories, and cryptic texts. Another things is the movie is narrated by Ptolemy, Alexander's general and not by Alexander. Ptolemy didn't know all of the facts of Alexander's life, the movie showed this. He told to the best of his ability at what he perceive Alexander to be.

I also found the dialoged engaging. I didn't mind it. I'm not really the type to have fight scenes left and right and all over the movie. People don't fight 24/7. It takes more then a few lines to explain what Alexander's motives are, his relationship with his friends, family, peers, and his dreams of a united world. Understandably there should be a bit of talking.

All in all, it was a good movie. I found it to be more emotionally driven then Troy and more or less passion as it would have like Gladiator. Know that this review is for Alexander REVISITED. I never saw the theatrical version or the first director's cut. Maybe it was those other versions that people were put off by. From this final cut maybe people would like it more. I found it to be enjoyable and I gave my most honest opinion about it. Now it's up to you to decided if Alexander is worthy for your time to watch, it certainly was for me.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The complete Alexander, March 4, 2007
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I really like this version. It gives more detail to the characters. I think Colin makes a great Alexander. He was a complicated and interesting person in history. This version shows more of his bisexuality. I think that is what a lot of folks do not like about this film, but it was part of who he is. I own the Director's Cut as well. The action scenes are more brutual here but also more dramatic and stunning. So glad this unrated complete version has been released.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oliver Stone's Alexander Revisited - a success!, March 8, 2007
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Oliver Stone's third try at revising his biopic of Alexander the Great has been a success. The story line is now much clearer and cleaner. The film brings us much closer to the man and his military successes. Though the story of Alexander the Great will never clearly separate the myth from the man because of the extensive passage of time and the loss of physical evidence including the destruction of written contemporary history about the man and his accomplishments which were stored in the tragically burnt down Library of Alexandria in Egypt, I felt that this final revisit of this film by Oliver Stone has brought us closer to the essence of the man who was hailed as "Megas Alexandros". It is my hope that this version will stand out as the version which will recognize Stone's fine effort to present the great conqueror's life and story. I encourage others to take the time to look at this new version of the Alexander film.
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85 of 97 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A review from a history teacher who focuses on Greece, Rome and the Hellenistic World, October 8, 2005
20 minutes into this movie I was thinking that it had real potential. We get to see the ugly details of Alexander's childhood. We get an understanding of his need to conquer, the need to achieve more than his father and his fascination for the non-Greek world (thanks to his mother).

An hour into the movie I was confused and disappointed. Confused because of the incessant flashbacks. I knew what was going only because I teach this stuff for a living.

How could the average movie-goer possibly understand why Alexander invaded the Persian Empire based on the feeble information supplied by Stone? Stone has an oblique reference to Phillip's murder, but the average movie-viewer does not know even know who Alexander the Great is, let alone that his father was murdered(he shows it in detail in a flashback - at the end of the movie - so the uninformed viewer will stay confused for nearly 2 more hours). A casual viewer might think that Alexander invaded Persia because he was following an eagle, since it was used so much in this battle scene (and mostly dropped for the rest of the movie).

On an historical note, I think it is disingenious to blame the entire invasion on Alexander's need for revenge when the Greeks and the Persians had been fighting off and on again for nearly 2 centuries before Alexander's invasion finally put an end to it. Stone ignores all of that history and puts it all on Alexander(In my opinion, Stone is looking for conspiracies again -shades of 'JFK')

My disappointment stemmed from the casual skipping of most of Alexander's campaigns - from the destruction of the Persian navy to the conquering of the unconquerable Tyre to the Egyptians and their declaring him a god - all was covered in one paragraph from Ptolemey. One of the greatest military campaigns in all of history - possibly the greatest of all - dismissed like it was just so much garbage in the way of the true story.

***Note to Oliver Stone - the difference between Alexander the Great and every other mentally disturbed egomaniac with a Messiah complex, an abusive father and an over-protective mother with a snake fetish is those battles. They made him 'The Great!' Dismissing them with a wave of Ptolemy's hand over an ancient map is disrespectful to the story and to the viewer!

Stone's battle sequences are busy, noisy and confusing. Those are appropriate adjectives for any movie's battle scenes. However, they are also cold, distant and fail to convey the true genius that Alexander had as a battlefield commander. This is where it would have been useful to include those early campaigns - to show the viewer that Alexander was flexible, ruthless, personally brave and in many ways the ideal of a soldier and a general. He comes close when he shows Alexander speaking to the men before the Battle at Granicus. He alludes to a common history, but the viewer knows nothing of it and really cares very little for the people invlolved. Mostly, it's 10 minutes of Alexander riding his horse very fast.

Oliver Stone's re-creation of Babylon is very nice. He does a good job of showing Alexander's fascination with Asian culture and of demonstrating the tension between his desire for a united Greek-Asian empire and his men's desire to just take Asia's riches and return home to Macedon.

However, there's almost no development of the supporting cast of Macedonian characters. Alexander's male love interest has one main scene while they are in Asia and otherwise lurks in the shadows with sultry looks for Alexander. His men just become a part of the scenery so there is little emotional punch when Alexander starts to kill them off for mutiny.

The constant flashbacks were irritating. Some might think that they are sophisticated. I think they were insulting. Stone shows Phillip accusing his men of disloyalty in a flashback and then show Alexander doing the same. He shows Phillip bringing in a second wife in a flashback and then shows Alexander ignoring his wife in favor of his boyfriend. Phillip's second wife is dealt with as is the boyfriend. Phillip is assassinated as is Alexander (historically shaky...) Are we too stupid to make these connections without having them paired up for us in back-to-back scenes?!?

For those that blame the failure of this movie on Alexander's bisexuality and America's prudishness I would say that as a history teacher in America, not 1 American in 100 knows who Alexander the Great was, let alone knowing his sexual preferences. Rather, what everyone heard was that it was a long, bad movie.

Too bad that Oliver Stone took this topic that was so rich in potential for a great movie and ruined it for this generation of movie-goers. I suppose we'll have to wait for 20 more years before someone will be able to get the financing to try again and do it right.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE OF A LEGEND, December 12, 2006
First of all, it baffles me at all of the negative critiques of this movie. I think many of the people who wrote negative reviews don't understand the complex story of Alexander. Read any history book and this movie provides accurate descriptions of his life including him being taught by Aristotle and referencing him throughout the movie. Also, Alexander was depicted accurately leading to his rise and fall of conquering the world. I almost think the negative critics wanted complete action throughout the movie like Troy. Well guess what Troy was mostly based on a battle and this is quite the opposite for Alexander. Alexander was based on his life story and was told in a great light.All the actors did a great job in the movie as well. GREAT MOVIE WATCH IT YOURSELF
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than expected, April 27, 2007
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having read all the reviews about how bad this film is I didn't expect much when I finally got round to watching it. Thing is, the film is not all that bad at all. I can remember when this film was being made the complaints coming from Greece because Alexander was shown as bisexual (I can only assume those Greeks who were complaining must be living in denial about their history) Its kind of sad that this aspect was 'toned down' to make it more 'acceptable' What was equally odd were the complaints from Iran because the film showed flied buzzing around the heads of Persian soldiers, some of them wearing Turbans (yeah OK that is annoying considering it isn't an Iranian head dress and this is supposed to be a historical epic) but most daft of all where the complaints that the film showed Iran (or Persia) in a bad light.

Come on now, first of all this is a film. Now are you seriously trying to tell me that there are not films made in Iran showing victories of historical Persian armies over their enemies? All cultures have their own history and their own conception of history.

Now on with the film. First off everyone will have a complaint about this film as it is impossible to chronicle Alexanders entire life in a few hours of cinema what the director here has done is attempt to capture some of the most important aspects of it and in this I think he has done a fairly good job.

The greatness of the Persian empire and its capital, the warlike Greeks, the strange cultures that Alexanders men met on their journey east, the battle scenes are well directed (especially those in India) the whole hedonistic culture of the ancient world also is well captured. Perhaps there could have been a better choice of actors for some of the roles (Alexander for example) and not entirely sure about Angelina Jolie in this role (not too sure about her in any role for that matter, wasn't too bad in Gia though)

Still, think the critics were a little too harsh. Watch it a couple of times and it will grow on you.
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Alexander (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Alexander (Two-Disc Special Edition) by Oliver Stone (DVD - 2005)
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