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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.5%
Worth A Look: 5.03%
Just Average: 6.15%
Pretty Crappy: 39.11%

10 reviews, 119 user ratings

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by David Cornelius

"The extra hour means more time for crap!"
2 stars

A handy guide to watching Oliver Stone’s “Alexander:” 1. Show up forty-five minutes late, just in time for the first battle sequence. 2. After the battle, take a bathroom break. 3. Return to movie, keep watching for a while to see the mildly interesting storyline that follows. 4. Around the halfway mark, take a nap. 5. Wake up around one hour later for another decent battle scene. 6. Leave early, sneak into showing of “The Incredibles.”

No, Stone’s first go at an all-out historical epic isn’t as royal a failure as you may have heard by now. But yeah, it’s still not worth the time. To steal a line from Johnny Carson, it’s one hour of decent movie spread out over a three hour show.

So let’s start with what works. Namely, the thing looks great. I’m a sucker for widescreen Technicolor epics, and this one’s a beaut, the frame spilling over with lush set design, intricate costuming, and delicious panoramic cinematography. There are times we’re visually transported to the ancient world, the look of the film is that convincing.

Stone also supplies us with the occasional Grand Moment, little bits of filmmaking wizardry that, while hurting the film by reminding us how great it should have been, makes the time better by providing us with brief snippets of goodness. The battle sequences are, as mentioned above, quite involving, yet another overwhelming barrage of violence we’ve come to expect in our war epics. But the good parts aren’t limited to the war; consider one marvelous moment in which Stone backs away from the traditional pre-battle troops-rousing speech, only to have the camera soar into the air, then zoom back down on the opposing army. Aside from simply looking cool, it adds a new twist to this war epic cliché - just what are the other guys up to while our hero’s out there delivering the St. Crispin’s Day speech? Turns out, they’re being ordinary humans, some showing fear, others buckling down for the good fight. What a terrific moment.

Soak that moment in, though, because it’s one of the only good ones you’ll get in the three hours Stone spends delving into every tedius detail of Alexander the Great’s conquering of the known world. The timeline we get ranges from the boring (who’da thought a Rosario Dawson sex scene would produce so many yawns?) to the too-restrained (Alexander’s bisexual exploits are bravely handled... except Stone shyly backs away from actually showing anything, and the restraint is distracting) to the downright laughable (why does Angelina Jolie sound like the Baroness from “G.I. Joe?”). This movie is one gargantuan mess, never certain where it’s headed, never focusing in on the ideas that matter most.

Ideas like Alexander’s conquering of everything. We keep hearing thoughts on how Alexander united the world, yet the film refuses to expound on this notion. Instead, the script (penned by Stone, Christopher Kyle, and Laeta Kalogridis) merely has Alexander plowing ever eastward, with only lip service paid to the new world he’s created behind him. How did the nations unify under him? Was it as peaceful as Alexander had hoped, or were there more problems at hand? We never really know, as Stone, like Alexander, never looks back.

Now, maybe that was Stone’s intent, to focus on the leader’s own perspective of his world. Fine. But why make it so irritatingly dull? The movie finds itself in a rut, as Alexander snags a new city, tussles with his subordinates over what to do next, thinks about his mother, gives the googly eyes to childhood pal/prettyboy Jered Leto, screams out some overwritten speech, lather, rinse, repeat. This is a lazy screenplay, one that refuses to find anything new as the timeline continues. (Another sign of laziness: it’s left up to narrator Anthony Hopkins to quickly fill in all the points of the timeline the writers didn’t feel like covering with actual scenes. Necessary, perhaps, in a story of this size, although with all that jumping around, one gets the feeling that several key moments are glossed over in the process.)

The worst moments in “Alexander” come not from the script but from the cast. As hard as it is to make such laughable nuggets of dialogue as “In my womb I carried my avenger!” sound worse than they already are, leave it to the actors here to make do. Which is a surprise, considering the quality of work we usually expect from the likes of Colin Farrell and Val Kilmer. Things get weird when Kilmer, playing Alexander’s father, is required to take on an Irish accent, just to explain why his son has one. (Yeah, I know, if I’ll accept them speaking English, I should accept them speaking with Irish accents, but c’mon. An Irish Alexander is just plain silly, no matter how you slice it.)

Other cast members add in their own embarrassing touches - Dawson, as the future Mrs. Alexander, makes up for an underwritten character by piling on a doofy accent and gratuitous nudity; Leto looks like a Calvin Klein model who got lost and wandered onto the set - the real gem here is Jolie. Hers is a performance of complete and utter horridness, a brilliantly awful mix of overacting and this vague Natasha-from-”Bullwinkle” accent. As Alexander’s mother, her character becomes the year’s best headscratcher: just how is it that she perpetually looks a supersexy thirty years old for all of Alexander’s life, only to age fifty years within the last two years of the movie? If the hamminess doesn’t get you laughing, the old lady makeup will. Why was she cast as Colin Farrell’s mom again? Was it the boobs?

One wants to leave “Alexander” thinking of the good parts and what might have been. But the memories of the lame, the dumb, the ridiculous are inescapable. Stone, who has made many great films and a handful of pretty bad ones, does his best to prove that he can handle costume dramas like the best of ‘em, only to get overwhelmed in a terrible script and a bland story. People always leave an Oliver Stone movie arguing; here, however, they’ll only be arguing about why they bothered to sit through the whole thing.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11182&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/02/04 14:42:33
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User Comments

9/07/20 dupadoit pop cans 4 stars
11/04/15 David Hollingsworth The accents are really annoying! 1 stars
8/16/12 Ed Not a bad movie. Does take a while to capture the scope and essence. 3 stars
8/15/09 Jeff Wilder Not great or even all that good. But I've seen worse. Better than King Arthur at least/ 2 stars
9/03/08 Alexandru Totir I don't know why many of you didn't like it. I think it's a great movie and I loved it. 5 stars
8/20/08 Shaun Wallner boring! couldnt watch the whole thing. 1 stars
7/10/08 L. Slusarczyk not that bad of a movie. Liked the final release the best of the 3. 3 stars
5/02/08 Max Sloppy, disjointed, pretentious, and lifeless. 1 stars
11/05/07 Tiffany Losco Leto is hott!!! 5 stars
9/24/07 Nicholas Maday Would have been better if Ptolemy hadn't been telling the whole story. 2 stars
7/29/07 Samantha it was different than other stuff we hear, but it was dramatic and passionate I loved it 5 stars
6/28/07 Anthony Irish accents ruined the whole movie 1 stars
1/28/07 titwank incredible, epic, great music, fantastic story, masterpiece... 5 stars
1/22/07 sam i won't watch the movie if not required in my subject. eww! 1 stars
12/16/06 Briseis A complete flop, sorry 2 stars
12/14/06 The Deadly Assassin Oliver Stone messes up history 2 stars
11/10/06 cody a pretty ok film about the alexander, but flashbacks were mess up plot and kinded of gay. 3 stars
10/09/06 Steve Newman Took me three days to watch this on Sky plus - AVOID!!! 2 stars
9/15/06 Doremimi Hey, Angelina, say "Moose and Squirrel." 1 stars
9/07/06 Thomas Semesky A lot of miscast characters. How can you make a someone like Alexander so boring? 1 stars
4/27/06 Alana M. Barquero This was a pretty bad movie. I was forcing myself to watch it because it had Angelina Jolie 2 stars
4/24/06 Anthony Feor The word terrible at its best 1 stars
1/09/06 John Linton Roberson A sad, incomprehensible failure. 1 stars
11/07/05 Major Bludd Not that bad my friends... could have been much worse 4 stars
11/07/05 ELI Colin Farrell's nuts, that alone gets 4 stars. plus the movie was funny! :) 4 stars
10/24/05 David Really pretty boring, could have neen really awesome but totally missed the mark. Shameful. 2 stars
9/28/05 christopher matrisciano This movie was my favorite Irish film next to " In the Name of the Father". 2 stars
9/22/05 JM Troy is better, Alexander is homosexual 2 stars
9/20/05 Jonathon Holmes 100% garbage 1 stars
9/19/05 John he psyhedelic version of Alexander the Great - terrible 1 stars
9/07/05 Melina Deserves to be re-told - different director, cast and story 2 stars
9/02/05 dan mccarthy this is absolute garbage 1 stars
8/25/05 EZ Alexander the Great was great this film was extremley bad 1 stars
8/17/05 --- Too few battles, too much gay stuff, irish accents for greeks? 1 stars
8/16/05 john smith worse than that mistake platoon 1 stars
8/15/05 A Whittick A crass treatment of a potentially great subject matter, laughable at best - mainly crass 1 stars
8/14/05 .:*paris*:. its boring and i didnt understand the story.needs some work! 2 stars
8/08/05 snowcapsdean finally a movie that is outside the box with balls. 5 stars
8/05/05 Richard Simmons Ollie Stone is an overrated piece of s**t, and so are his movies. 1 stars
7/08/05 Moctezuma It wasn't that bad. 4 stars
5/17/05 Pippin007 Boring!! 1 stars
5/10/05 Simon If you want to know how to absolutely ruin an epic story via film, look no further. 1 stars
4/06/05 chris man critics need to get a clue they always whine about wanting something difftrent 5 stars
3/25/05 Greg Ursic I've never checked my watch that many times during a movie. Stone sucks! 1 stars
3/08/05 LarryV Better than expected 4 stars
3/02/05 Cassander Loved it 5 stars
3/02/05 michael weber EHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Shut up movie 1 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung this just reeks 1 stars
2/24/05 L.G. Ugh... and yuck. Hmmm... History Channel produces beter stuff. Almost fell asleep 1 stars
2/15/05 Melody Arneil For a good laugh watch it on DVD for Angelina Jolie's over the top performance 2 stars
2/11/05 Gabriel Jolivet what a bad movie !!!! do I need to say more !!! 1 stars
2/10/05 Sharon Davis Bad, unexpectedly bad 1 stars
2/07/05 Jeff Anderson A TOTAL BOTCH! Miscast left & right, lots of historical mistakes, & boring to boot!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
2/07/05 marky i love you baby!!! 1 stars
2/04/05 bongeezer Awesome....LY BAD!!!! 1 stars
2/04/05 COlleen GOldrick regretfully not a good one 2 stars
2/03/05 craig varney loved it great escapism 5 stars
2/03/05 Debbi Kalstein disapointing 2 stars
2/03/05 ss OMG! I cant say enough about this movie.. Go see it 4 stars
2/03/05 Kent B. Borrrrrinnnggggggggg zzzzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
2/02/05 Clifford C Gardner weak - Colin is out of his depth 2 stars
2/01/05 Mark McConnell totally misunderstood - more important technical battle scenes than lotr 5 stars
1/30/05 caro awful 1 stars
1/29/05 clarance the cobra sucked balls...collin farrel is the biggest fagget and worst actor 1 stars
1/27/05 The Lurchprong Splitter Loses steam after the first 2 hours. Alexander shouldn't've gone to India. 3 stars
1/25/05 Jo-Art Oliver Stone is no Peter Jackson 1 stars
1/20/05 malcolm the longest road trip in history. rosario dawson nekkit was definitely the highlight. 3 stars
1/13/05 pym Stone should lose his license over this one. A big, cheese oozing pile of mumbo-jumbo. 1 stars
1/08/05 keithers.. Made durning the epic craze after lord of the rings 2 stars
1/07/05 flor hidalgo It was a movie I would rent if I have nothing else to do on a sunday. My husband just slept 3 stars
1/07/05 LL great film. dont know what these yanks are talking about (i think theyre all homophobic) 5 stars
12/26/04 Tom Troy and Gladiator were much better films, R Crowe, B Pitt better in Lead roles 2 stars
12/15/04 kev boy best film i've seen in along time......way to go OLIVER!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/12/04 UMER GLADIATOR-mania should really now stop after this . 2 stars
12/12/04 Kevin I actually enjoyed the film. It wasn't that bad. U can't really judge a movie thats a bio. 4 stars
12/11/04 nitram Alexander assasinated by Oliver Stone! 1 stars
12/11/04 john overdone psychadelic version of Alexander's life - fails in a big way 1 stars
12/10/04 Christie Robnett Very well done movie. Farrell was excellent in this role. Oscar nomination? 4 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams Rosario dawson is in it, so it was bound to bomb. 1 stars
12/07/04 Ricardo Never seen s film fail in so many directions simultaneously! 1 stars
12/06/04 wes todd worse battle scenes ever! 2 stars
12/05/04 Jennifer i loved this film! 5 stars
12/05/04 DTree They needed to focus on what made Alexander Great, instead of his romance with Hephastion 2 stars
12/04/04 KayCe Whitacre It is simpply titled "Alexander" because it is so far from "The Great" that we deserve. 1 stars
12/03/04 Michael Alexander, the mother hating, gay porn star. 1 stars
12/03/04 Denise good 3 stars
12/03/04 JL awesome in some parts, but lags in others however its awesome 5 stars
12/03/04 jesna BRILLIANT!! 5 stars
12/02/04 Catholic One of the best action, slashing, war movies I have seen in a while. 5 stars
12/01/04 Ashley This movie portrayed Alexander as a whiny brat and didn't show his military genius 1 stars
12/01/04 Punker omg this sucked nutz 1 stars
12/01/04 Al Guy I knew this was a bad idea. Yuk. 1 stars
11/30/04 A. Newman It was total crap. it could have, no should have, been better 1 stars
11/30/04 Naka "Gay thing" or no gay thing, this movie SUCKS UTTERLY. Stone is a failure. 1 stars
11/30/04 Lyu I'd rather have lung cancer than having to watch this shit again.It was that bad. 1 stars
11/30/04 Mohit Ahuja this movie is a load of crap ! 1 stars
11/28/04 John Keenan mired down, too much homo, story misses Alexander's greatness 2 stars
11/28/04 Alex Montesino To all you bigots, Alexander the Great was GAY! Get over it! 3 stars
11/27/04 calvin fag flick 1 stars
11/27/04 Alexandra And people wonder why Europe hates Americans!!!. European hero turned into flaming gay! 1 stars
11/27/04 T@T homo crap total waste of time 1 stars
11/26/04 carl fun, critics are so knit picky wanabe directors..it's ok not to have to see everything 5 stars
11/26/04 Chuck One of the worse movies I have ever seen. 1 stars
11/26/04 luke hopkins and kilmer were good everyone else at best average 3 stars
11/26/04 Naka Hahahahaha and this thing had OSCAR BUZZ?! lol nope! 1 stars
11/26/04 jcjs i enjoyed it...critics are way too harsh with this...i don't know why 4 stars
11/25/04 the greatest hitchcock movie until psycho, i love it and the cats and! people that dont like this film think there smarter than everyone that does, those pussies. 3 stars
11/25/04 sens4evr 3 hours of my life... gone... wasted... 1 stars
11/25/04 Andy Greschner Alexander the Great? Really? You sure? Alexander the gay waffler? Yeah, thats more like it 1 stars
11/25/04 vagile Alexander the Great on bizarro world maybe. 1 stars
11/24/04 MARZ great film. gotta see it again! 5 stars
11/24/04 gregory neil What a self important flop 1 stars
11/24/04 Arid History for the dummies: directed by one, and acted by another 1 stars
11/22/04 Kristina Williams Saw this at my campus. Not Troy bad, but not Spartacus good. 3 stars
11/20/04 atanu Ultra crap. somebody put a stop to the overrated fucker farrell 1 stars
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  24-Nov-2004 (R)
  DVD: 27-Feb-2007



Directed by
  Oliver Stone

Written by
  Oliver Stone

  Colin Farrell
  Angelina Jolie
  Anthony Hopkins
  Val Kilmer
  Jared Leto
  Rosario Dawson

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