Director    Oliver Stone
Starring    Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer
1 stars

24th February 2005

Since Russell Crowe left audiences worldwide either pumped up with testosterone/so turned on that the seat needed sponging down (delete according to sexuality), we've seen the rebirth of "the Historical Epic". Troy, The Last Samurai, and now Alexander have all tried to hang onto Gladiator's money-scented coat tails. So is Alexander up there with Ben Hur? Or is it more a case of Carry on Cleo?

It starts out so promisingly; there's Angelina looking good (ignore the accent; if I were to spend time criticising the accents in this film, we'd be here all day). There's Val Kilmer being mad and bad (imagine a fatter, louder Jim Morrison and you're there). And there's some annoying little proto-Anakin brat guaranteeing we'll feel ill disposed toward Alexander too. Okay, all of the dialogue thus far is pretentious, and the score seems to have been borrowed from a romantic comedy, but lets give it a chance...

The anticipation of a decent film continues; we even get to see Brian Blessed in the opening minutes, which put my mind at rest about the thus far stilted dialogue. Then I remembered he was also in the Phantom Menace, and my heart began to sink. After an eternity of the Irish voiced Macedonians childhood, we get to the 1st big battle scene. By this point, interest is fading fast; absolutely nothing seems to have really happened, and it's happened in as portentous a tone as possible. What we need to jolt the audience's interest is a Gladiator-style battle; all sinew and gristle and gore. And, in fairness, it's a decent scene as cinematic battles go. However, it's also the LAST big battle scene. There is only one more good-sized battle, and that's at the end. Frankly the film isn't worth sitting through to get that far.

Of a 3-hour film, about 10 minutes is worth watching. For the rest of the time, not much happens. And it happens S-L-O-W-L-Y. Action fans will be disappointed by the lack of action scenes (2 battles, and the deaths of a few of the anodyne main characters). History buffs will be disappointed at the lack of context to almost every scene, and the cutting of some key moments of Alexander's life (no Gordian knot here for example). Anyone coming to see how the bisexuality of the titular character is handled might glean some satisfaction, as it's dealt with in such a way that only the most rampant homophobe would be offended.

However, a realistic depiction of Alexander's love life is no compensation for such an irredeemably dull film .I spent the last hour actively willing Alexander dead so that the film would finish and I could go home. All this is before I even start on the ropey acting, appalling script and melodrama throughout, and a score that sounds as if it was hurriedly put together for a sequel to The Sound of Music.

Alexander the Great: Ruler of the known world by the time he was 30, and arguably the greatest warrior, general...hell, greatest man who ever lived. And he's been remembered by a 3-hour dirge. A dirge that the director sought to excuse by claiming that the films box office failure was due to "homophobia". Oliver, homophobia did not sink this film. The fact that it is almost breathtakingly boring did. Bah. In summary then; under no circumstances see this film. It is without any shadow of a doubt the biggest and most putrefied box of monkeycock I've ever had the bored and restless displeasure of sitting through.

More:  Action  Drama  Biopic  Stinkers
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