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Customer Review

102 of 110 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Improvement, March 31, 2007
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This review is from: Alexander, Revisited: The Final Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 1, 2009 10:49:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 1, 2009 11:03:20 AM PDT
Nate Bachamp says:
Great review! Just wanted to impart a quick informative comment on the last part, tho. You mentioned that you "...have not heard of anyone being this lucky before." I'll give you an example that will hopefully show that, as a director, Stone was not so much "lucky," but determined. And that is a quality that shows a truly great director. If you've enjoyed Alexander, then surely you've also had the chance to view Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven - The Director's Cut?" That film, like Alexander, bombed at the box office. However, Scott's director's cut finally did the film justice, and sadly the film was never given the credit it deserved as a cinematic masterpiece. To Scott's credit, however, he knew what was happening to his film from the get-go. Pressured by the studio to finish quickly, and being reminded constantly of budget and length concerns, he decided to beat the studio at their own game. Frankly, he didn't want a repeat of his "Blade Runner" fiasco from years earlier (4 totally different cuts released over several years). This time, he actually had two scripts for the movie en tow. When they were done filming principal photography on the "studio edition" of the film, they would then use the rest of the filming day to capture scenes for his eventual director's cut. In many cases, these extra scenes weren't in the movie budget, so he (and the producers) forked over the dough themselves to cover production costs. Then, his editor worked on cutting the two films simultaneously. Literally, he was working on his director's cut from the very start. He was determined to make the film his way, which I think is why the theatrical version truly wasn't all that great. I, myself would only offer it 2.5 stars. He just didn't care about that film because it wasn't HIS film - it was the studio's film, the way the studio wanted it. Luckily, however, he was able to see what was happening and make his effort to correct the problem, even if that meant releasing a bad film to save a great film. So, I feel this was probably the same problem Oliver Stone was facing. However, Alexander does seem to be a much larger, more ambitious film, with greater location and timing concerns. So, for Stone, saving the film may not have been so easy from the start. But he also had that great directorial determination. He felt like he wasn't getting his point across, so he gave it another crack. Director's also bear certain rights over the films that bear their namesake, in most cases owning majority share of the rights. This makes it easier for them to say, "I'm going to re-edit this film now, so deal with it," and less likely to say, "I really don't like the way this film turned out, do you mind if I take another whack at it?"

So anyway... there's my two bits. I highly recommend Kingdom of Heaven - The Director's Cut, if you haven't seen it already. And, keep up the good reviews!! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2009 9:07:47 PM PDT
G. Tempany says:
Cheers, thanks for the information about Kingdom of Heaven, i wasn't aware of this at all. I have seen the original theatrical version but wasn't overally too enthralled by Orlando Bloom to bother with an extended cut. However i might check it out now. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2009 11:43:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 4, 2009 1:19:57 PM PDT
Nate Bachamp says:
I hope you like it! As I said, the theatrical version was just entertainment, while the director's cut is a complete experience. You can tell it's totally different from the very start of the film. Before the opening credits there is an overture, and following the intermission (when you have to change discs) there is an entr'acte. The music is absolutely astounding. It gives you a chance to sit back and relax and get ready for the adventure. It also lets you know that this version is not quite as gung-ho as its predecessor - this time, you're getting your money's worth! You'll also be pleased when you find that entire characters and plot-points that weren't in the theatrical version are in the director's cut, as well. It's amazing how much these additions can change the tone and the meaning of certain scenes. You may remember the part in the theatrical cut when Sibylla's character says to Balian, "Save the people from what I have done." However, "what she has done" in the theatrical version is not the same as what she has done in the director's cut. I think you'll be surprised, and pleased with the added depth to the characters. Let me know how you like it if you ever check it out! Alexander, Revisited arrives at my house tomorrow. Looking forward to it!! :)

As a clerification: The Overture, Intermission and Entr'Acte are only included in the 4-disc DVD edition, while they have been eliminated from the single-disc Blu-ray version.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2009 6:29:47 PM PDT
G. Tempany says:
I just purchased the blu ray single disc of Kingdom of Heaven. Will let you know my thoughts when i watch it, very busy at the moment! Let me know what you think of Alexander.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2009 10:56:43 AM PDT
Nate Bachamp says:
My roommate and I watch Alexander 2 nights ago. I liked the first version from the start, so the final cut made the movie even better. I love character developement and extended story-lines, so the movie was perfect. My roommate usually can't sit through movies like this. Normally I have to stop the movie every 10 minutes to explain to her what's going on. This time, however, she loved the movie and kept telling me to hush and wouldn't let me pause it to go to the bathroom... I had to wait until intermission!! But she was into it, so I guess that's a good thing! :)

Enjoy KoH!!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 25, 2009 3:12:05 AM PDT
G. Tempany says:
Thanks for the comments Nathan, glad you liked it. I have to say that although i agree with you that the extended version of Kingdom of Heaven was an improvement i still found the whole experience rather lacklustre. Perhaps it is still my beef with Orlando Bloom. I honestly don't think he was a strong enough actor to carry this film. Oh well each to their own. Enjoy your movies. Take care.

Posted on Nov 7, 2014 5:26:43 PM PST
Gustavo says:
Just finish the trilogy Alexandros from Manfredi and near to finish Alexander the Great from Robin lane fox, so, now I can watch the movie.
I got the 10 year special edition and reading about, I realize about this final cut!. Apparently this version is the longest one, right?
So, which one you would recommend better?
Thank you very much

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2014 5:39:55 PM PST
G. Tempany says:
This version is in my opinion the best one. Oliver Stone has released another version since this review!!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2014 5:51:46 PM PST
Gustavo says:
Thanks Tempany, indeed, is the one I just received today, a 10 anniversary edition but shorter in time than the one we are talking about, so, I believe I will get this one too, in order to get both impression :).
I know already that there are not included many battles I have read on the books, maybe Hbo should have done a miniserie, "Rome" style instead of a single movie by Stone...but is what we have!...
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