Is Oliver Stone's Alexander worth a watch?

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I have been checking the Netflix listings for August and Oliver Stone's Alexander is gonna be coming to Netflix next Monday and its the Ultimate Cut of the movie.

Now my only exposure of this movie is from History Buff's review of it and he was very critical of the movie. Not failing in historical accuracy, but failing as a movie:

So at first I wrote off the movie, but then after actually reading the history of Alexander's history for my class, I recently saw this video of it:

OK movie now you sold me, I like me some epic battle scenes. I liked Troy, 300, Kingdom of Heaven, and parts of Gladiator because of the battles. And doing furthur research Oliver Stone did many director's cuts to improve the movie, like its the difference between the theatrical cut of Kingdom of Heaven and the Director's Cut I heard.

So is it worth a watch?

When it first came out I got a free ticket to see it and I still wanted my money back.

Like, if all your friends bail on a Saturday night and you've hit no matches on Tinder in a while than maybe but otherwise your time would be spent, I dunno, watching the Weather Channel or something.

Chewster:
When it first came out I got a free ticket to see it and I still wanted my money back.

Like, if all your friends bail on a Saturday night and you've hit no matches on Tinder in a while than maybe but otherwise your time would be spent, I dunno, watching the Weather Channel or something.

But again you were watching the theatrical version and since then many new director's cuts came out to rehibilitate and improve the film.

Netflix is getting the last "Ultimate" Cut.

300 is pretty much lies. Gladiator is a bunch of stupid. So Alexander is a step up from that. But honestly, I watched it once and that was enough. I cant remember much about it. Much like Troy to me. If you do watch it, don't expect it to be great.

Also, I never thought I'd say this, Kingdom of Heaven is the best movie on that list. And I don't like KoH

trunkage:
300 is pretty much lies. Gladiator is a bunch of stupid. So Alexander is a step up from that. But honestly, I watched it once and that was enough. I cant remember much about it. Much like Troy to me. If you do watch it, don't expect it to be great.

Also, I never thought I'd say this, Kingdom of Heaven is the best movie on that list. And I don't like KoH

I could have also mentioned The Patriot, Waterloo, Glory, and Gettysburg to include a more modern esque historical War movie.

And lets not forget Braveheart :P

That movie blows. Honestly, I don't remember anything about it, just that I watched it when it came out and I thought it sucked.

You're better off playing some Age of Empires, Rise of Nations, or whatever RTS the kids play these days.

Samtemdo8:
I have been checking the Netflix listings for August and Oliver Stone's Alexander is gonna be coming to Netflix next Monday and its the Ultimate Cut of the movie.

I haven't seen it myself, so I can't help you on that front, but if it's coming on Netflix you don't really have anything to loose if you give it a shot and don't like it (other than a bit of time I suppose). It's not like the ancient days of Blockbuster where you had to pay to rent it. You can give the movie a shot and if you don't like it partway through you can always switch to something you know you like.

The director's cut is a lot better. If you want a historical docu-drama then it fills that role very well. But it is not what one would consider a good mainstream film.

It does jump around a ton as well, but if you know the history it is something you will appreciate.

If you want a great historical film though you can't go wrong with Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World.

Abomination:
The director's cut is a lot better. If you want a historical docu-drama then it fills that role very well. But it is not what one would consider a good mainstream film.

It does jump around a ton as well, but if you know the history it is something you will appreciate.

If you want a great historical film though you can't go wrong with Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World.

Here is where my historical preference and biases arises.

I am not that big a fan on History after the Middle Ages and Renaissance era. I.E. anything after the 16th Century.

I think Warfare from 17th Century to US Civil War is not as "cool" as good old melee and swords.

Even the era of Pike and Shot had more Melee combat then the Napoleonic War.

I saw it a long time ago. I remember thinking "Man, Oliver Stone. You took the life of Alexander the Great and made it BORING. That takes some talent right there".

I don't really remember anything beyond that, honestly. Somehow I don't think watching it now would improve my opinion much.

trunkage:
300 is pretty much lies. Gladiator is a bunch of stupid. So Alexander is a step up from that. But honestly, I watched it once and that was enough. I cant remember much about it. Much like Troy to me. If you do watch it, don't expect it to be great.

Also, I never thought I'd say this, Kingdom of Heaven is the best movie on that list. And I don't like KoH

Gladiator, much like Braveheart, is bullshit from top to tail, but fuck if it isne't compellingly told, magnificently scored and (largely) brilliantly acted bullshit. And I'll take well made nonsense of badly made accuracy any day of the week.

Kingdom of Heaven was just okay unless you got the Director's Cut which I think is legitimately incredible.

Gordon_4:

trunkage:
300 is pretty much lies. Gladiator is a bunch of stupid. So Alexander is a step up from that. But honestly, I watched it once and that was enough. I cant remember much about it. Much like Troy to me. If you do watch it, don't expect it to be great.

Also, I never thought I'd say this, Kingdom of Heaven is the best movie on that list. And I don't like KoH

Gladiator, much like Braveheart, is bullshit from top to tail, but fuck if it isne't compellingly told, magnificently scored and (largely) brilliantly acted bullshit. And I'll take well made nonsense of badly made accuracy any day of the week.

Kingdom of Heaven was just okay unless you got the Director's Cut which I think is legitimately incredible.

Could not disagree with you more. I think Gladiator is atrocious. I'd watch Alexander anyday over it

Samtemdo8:
Here is where my historical preference and biases arises.

I am not that big a fan on History after the Middle Ages and Renaissance era. I.E. anything after the 16th Century.

I think Warfare from 17th Century to US Civil War is not as "cool" as good old melee and swords.

OK, that's fine...

Even the era of Pike and Shot had more Melee combat then the Napoleonic War.

Typo? Given that the Napoleonic Wars were more or less the ideological epitome of smoothbore firearms warfare, of course the era of Pike & Shot would have more melee combat.

Anyway, regarding whether to watch Alexander, as a spectacle, it's a great deal more refined (& researched in terms of military systems, admittedly) than Alexander the Great (Richard Burton), and though I've only seen the first Director's Cut, it was alright as it got most events right, the battle of Gaugamela (which was actually a hash-up of Gaugamela and Issus... took me a while to get over that, but I got over it) is well portrayed and the stand out scene for me. My main criticism being that Macedonians = Irish.

I wasn't a fan. It felt like it was trying too hard and not succeeding. It didn't feel at all authentic and lacked the soul of the epic it was pretending to be. I can't say what part of it was bad enough that the movie was bad for it, but you won't get anything out of watching it. It doesn't have spectacle, it doesn't have tremendous characterisation and drama, it doesn't have a clever story, it is a forgettable film masquerading as an epic.

A film critic might be able to identify where the main issues were, but I can say it's not worth your time.

trunkage:

Gordon_4:

trunkage:
300 is pretty much lies. Gladiator is a bunch of stupid. So Alexander is a step up from that. But honestly, I watched it once and that was enough. I cant remember much about it. Much like Troy to me. If you do watch it, don't expect it to be great.

Also, I never thought I'd say this, Kingdom of Heaven is the best movie on that list. And I don't like KoH

Gladiator, much like Braveheart, is bullshit from top to tail, but fuck if it isne't compellingly told, magnificently scored and (largely) brilliantly acted bullshit. And I'll take well made nonsense of badly made accuracy any day of the week.

Kingdom of Heaven was just okay unless you got the Director's Cut which I think is legitimately incredible.

Could not disagree with you more. I think Gladiator is atrocious. I'd watch Alexander anyday over it

I personally think Gladiators and the Colosseum are the most overrated thing about Ancient Rome. Why did that movie won best picture?

And HBO's Rome is way better.

KingsGambit:
I wasn't a fan. It felt like it was trying too hard and not succeeding. It didn't feel at all authentic and lacked the soul of the epic it was pretending to be. I can't say what part of it was bad enough that the movie was bad for it, but you won't get anything out of watching it. It doesn't have spectacle, it doesn't have tremendous characterisation and drama, it doesn't have a clever story, it is a forgettable film masquerading as an epic.

A film critic might be able to identify where the main issues were, but I can say it's not worth your time.

Did you watch the Ultimate Cut?

trunkage:
300 is pretty much lies.
Also, I never thought I'd say this, Kingdom of Heaven is the best movie on that list. And I don't like KoH

Kingdom of Heaven is a good movie. It's just awful history all around.

300 is kind of the same, except it doesn't even pretend to be actual history. The narrative format, including that scene at the end, makes it clear it's pretty much a Spartan Propaganda tale, told in such a way to get the Spartans all riled up for the upcoming battle. Which I thought was brilliant.

If the Spartans had made films, I imagine most of them would have been similar to 300. Over the top and jingoistic as all hell.

Dalisclock:

trunkage:
300 is pretty much lies.
Also, I never thought I'd say this, Kingdom of Heaven is the best movie on that list. And I don't like KoH

Kingdom of Heaven is a good movie. It's just awful history all around.

Had the best Battle scenes then any Historical Movie I have seen. The Siege of Jerusalem gives Helm's Deep a run for its money:

And I still think Orlando Bloom is way too maligned an actor. He's not that bad that everyone makes him out to be.

Unless the ultimate cut somehow replaces Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie then you're still in for three hours of terrible performances. Farrell has proven himself a capable actor, but he was horribly miscast for Alexander. I have no clue what Jolie was doing with her performance or why Stone allowed her to do that goofy accent, but it's dreadful.

The battles are well staged though. There is just way to much bad acting in between to make it worth watching just for that.

ItouKaiji:
Unless the ultimate cut somehow replaces Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie then you're still in for three hours of terrible performances. Farrell has proven himself a capable actor, but he was horribly miscast for Alexander. I have no clue what Jolie was doing with her performance or why Stone allowed her to do that goofy accent, but it's dreadful.

The battles are well staged though. There is just way to much bad acting in between to make it worth watching just for that.

I do got the impression that the worse parts of the movie is when Alexander and Olympias are on scene together. Anyway here's the list of the various changes and updates the movie got:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_(2004_film)#Versions

The Ultimate Cut went as a far removing some scenes, hopefully its the scenes with the cringiest acting.

Personally, I hated it. Just bad dialogue, bad characters, nobody I could really identify with and root for.

Also Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie are just godawful in everything.

jademunky:
Personally, I hated it. Just bad dialogue, bad characters, nobody I could really identify with and root for.

Also Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie are just godawful in everything.

Well I am just gonna be watching it for the spectacle then. And so far this fully confirms my thinking that Julius Caesar is better and cooler than Alexander the Great. Can someone make a Virgin Alexander and Chad Caesar joke?

To think this man wept at Alexander's statue because he wanted to emulate him.

Well, the Director's Cut has something for everyone: In one scene you get to see Rosario Dawson topless and in another you get to see Colin Farrel's naked testicles from behind.

I kid you not.

The movie is an okay movie. It's worth watching and has some good scenes but it's not something I've rewatched again and again. Instead it's a movie I might pull out every 5 or so years and watch again.

Samtemdo8:

Well I am just gonna be watching it for the spectacle then. And so far this fully confirms my thinking that Julius Caesar is better and cooler than Alexander the Great.

Well Caesar could really do it all. The man was a military leader, an orator, a writer, a statesman, etc.

There really had never been someone like that before (and arguably since, maybe Napoleon kinda sorta but not-really).

jademunky:

Samtemdo8:

Well I am just gonna be watching it for the spectacle then. And so far this fully confirms my thinking that Julius Caesar is better and cooler than Alexander the Great.

Well Caesar could really do it all. The man was a military leader, an orator, a writer, a statesman, etc.

There really had never been someone like that before (and arguably since, maybe Napoleon kinda sorta but not-really).

All three men brought low from within more than from without... which you can argue in either direction.

While I respect all three, my attitudes towards them are almost disdainful by comparison, insomuch that their contemporary material legacies are all rather tainted. Though in fairness, there are few such leaders that managed to escape such a fate.

SckizoBoy:

jademunky:

Samtemdo8:

Well I am just gonna be watching it for the spectacle then. And so far this fully confirms my thinking that Julius Caesar is better and cooler than Alexander the Great.

Well Caesar could really do it all. The man was a military leader, an orator, a writer, a statesman, etc.

There really had never been someone like that before (and arguably since, maybe Napoleon kinda sorta but not-really).

All three men brought low from within more than from without... which you can argue in either direction.

While I respect all three, my attitudes towards them are almost disdainful by comparison, insomuch that their contemporary material legacies are all rather tainted. Though in fairness, there are few such leaders that managed to escape such a fate.

Three Men?

Who's the third we are talking about?

Samtemdo8:

SckizoBoy:

jademunky:

Well Caesar could really do it all. The man was a military leader, an orator, a writer, a statesman, etc.

There really had never been someone like that before (and arguably since, maybe Napoleon kinda sorta but not-really).

All three men brought low from within more than from without... which you can argue in either direction.

While I respect all three, my attitudes towards them are almost disdainful by comparison, insomuch that their contemporary material legacies are all rather tainted. Though in fairness, there are few such leaders that managed to escape such a fate.

Three Men?

Who's the third we are talking about?

I assume the three men he was talking about were Alexander, Caesar and Napoleon (I mentioned him previously).

So I have seen the movie and yeah I was mostly skipping the scenes to get to the things that are interesting. So many cuts and editions and Oliver Stone never realized "Hey, mabye we should have all the sequences of events in historical chronlogical order"

But holy shit was the Battle of Hydaspus as seen in its entirety was sick, eat your heart out Oliphaunts in Return of the King, they used real elephants. And the Battle of Gaugamela was also badass.

I guess they could not show the Siege of Tyre because Alexander had that placed Sacked and Butchered, which would probably make him look less like a hero protagonist.

In the end perhaps Oliver Stone wasn't cut out for directing a more "Classical Epic" War/Drama movie. Just stick with doing contemporary 20th-21st Century USA movies dude since that is your fortee. Leave movies like this to someone more worthy of it, Mel Gibson did it better in Braveheart, and so did Ridley Scott in Kingdom of Heaven.

Samtemdo8:
But holy shit was the Battle of Hydaspus as seen in its entirety was sick, eat your heart out Oliphaunts in Return of the King, they used real elephants. And the Battle of Gaugamela was also badass.

Definitely (re: Gaugamela), but for Hydaspes, being colour blind, that scene gave me an almighty headache and it was far too stylised to be sensible and too simplified to explain Alexander's respect for the Indians.

I guess they could not show the Siege of Tyre because Alexander had that placed Sacked and Butchered, which would probably make him look less like a hero protagonist.

Why not? Shows he was a 'man' (even if a great one) and, along with the scapegoating of Philotas and Parmenio (you may need to remind me how much detail there is regarding their executions/justifications, been a while since I watched it), plants the seeds for his eventual (alleged) assassination, disintegration of his empire, Antipater's... antipathy, Ptolemy/Aristotle's increasing skepticism and indicates his inability/unwillingness to do anything about the Macedonian propensity for backstabbing (and, to a degree, his own alcoholism).

SckizoBoy:

Samtemdo8:
But holy shit was the Battle of Hydaspus as seen in its entirety was sick, eat your heart out Oliphaunts in Return of the King, they used real elephants. And the Battle of Gaugamela was also badass.

Definitely (re: Gaugamela), but for Hydaspes, being colour blind, that scene gave me an almighty headache and it was far too stylised to be sensible and too simplified to explain Alexander's respect for the Indians.

I guess they could not show the Siege of Tyre because Alexander had that placed Sacked and Butchered, which would probably make him look less like a hero protagonist.

Why not? Shows he was a 'man' (even if a great one) and, along with the scapegoating of Philotas and Parmenio (you may need to remind me how much detail there is regarding their executions/justifications, been a while since I watched it), plants the seeds for his eventual (alleged) assassination, disintegration of his empire, Antipater's... antipathy, Ptolemy/Aristotle's increasing skepticism and indicates his inability/unwillingness to do anything about the Macedonian propensity for backstabbing (and, to a degree, his own alcoholism).

Essentially he had them executed over a "possible" conspiracy where they were gonna have Alexander poisoned through his drink, over there misgivings about the direction Alexander's campaigns have been, mostly with regards to him making "friends and lovers" with the Persian people.

Abomination:
The director's cut is a lot better. If you want a historical docu-drama then it fills that role very well. But it is not what one would consider a good mainstream film.

It does jump around a ton as well, but if you know the history it is something you will appreciate.

If you want a great historical film though you can't go wrong with Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World.

Agreed. Watch the Director's Cut. It's still a mess, but worth a watch.

Russ Pitts:

Abomination:
The director's cut is a lot better. If you want a historical docu-drama then it fills that role very well. But it is not what one would consider a good mainstream film.

It does jump around a ton as well, but if you know the history it is something you will appreciate.

If you want a great historical film though you can't go wrong with Master and Commander, The Far Side of the World.

Agreed. Watch the Director's Cut. It's still a mess, but worth a watch.

Well I was watching the Ultimate Cut on Netflix.

So I have no idea what the prior three cuts offered.

Samtemdo8:
Well I am just gonna be watching it for the spectacle then. And so far this fully confirms my thinking that Julius Caesar is better and cooler than Alexander the Great. Can someone make a Virgin Alexander and Chad Caesar joke?

Fun fact which came up in my IRL research recently. Julius Ceasar was renowned for being effeminate by Roman standards.

He was very particular about the way he dressed and about his hair, and he always wore a loose belt (in Rome, any kind of loose clothing was a sign of unmanliness). There are accounts that he would only scratch his head with one finger to avoid messing up his hair, which was considered a kind of stereotypically feminine gesture.

In pre-Christian Roman society, being unmanly in any way was considered shameful for a normal, virile man, and thus while sex between adult men was acceptable, it was extremely shameful and socially maligned for the bottoming partner (and at times, punishable for Roman citizens). Julius Ceasar also seems to have kind of ignored this whole thing completely. One of his friends, Gaius Scribonius Curio, once described him as "every man's woman, and every woman's man".

Modern audiences (like Shakespeare) tend to see Ceasar as a very stoic, manly figure because we assume that's what a military general and powerful dictator must be like, however, the reality is a lot weirder than that. There's even an argument that Ceasar deliberately emphasised his own effeminate qualities in order to set himself apart from the traditionalist, aristocratic class of Rome, and to establish that he was something new and a force for political change.

Honestly, for those people who were upset about the gay stuff in Alexander, a "realistic" historical movie about Julius Ceasar would probably blow their little minds.

I'm not contesting you though, for me this makes him incredibly cool. He became the most powerful person in the Roman world while also being a textbook example of someone Roman society didn't tend to think should be powerful.

evilthecat:
There are accounts that he would only scratch his head with one finger to avoid messing up his hair, which was considered a kind of stereotypically feminine gesture.

AFAIK, he did that because he lost a fair bit of his hair quite quickly and had the equivalent of a comb-over, so he'd only scratch with one finger to prevent losing more hair. I'm not sure, but with the femininity in this regard, he just ran with it.

In pre-Christian Roman society, being unmanly in any way was considered shameful for a normal, virile man, and thus while sex between adult men was acceptable, it was extremely shameful and socially maligned for the bottoming partner (and at times, punishable for Roman citizens).

The irony is that mid/late-Republic was when they really started aping Greek culture. Koine was the lingua franca from before 150BC. Which goes (weirdly), hand in hand with the Roman/Greek contrast in attitudes towards the penis.

Honestly, for those people who were upset about the gay stuff in Alexander, a "realistic" historical movie about Julius Ceasar would probably blow their little minds.

You want mind blowing, how's about portraying Spartan soldiers on their down time (made worse by women's pedagogic relationships at the same time)?! XD

evilthecat:

Samtemdo8:
Well I am just gonna be watching it for the spectacle then. And so far this fully confirms my thinking that Julius Caesar is better and cooler than Alexander the Great. Can someone make a Virgin Alexander and Chad Caesar joke?

Fun fact which came up in my IRL research recently. Julius Ceasar was renowned for being effeminate by Roman standards.

He was very particular about the way he dressed and about his hair, and he always wore a loose belt (in Rome, any kind of loose clothing was a sign of unmanliness). There are accounts that he would only scratch his head with one finger to avoid messing up his hair, which was considered a kind of stereotypically feminine gesture.

In pre-Christian Roman society, being unmanly in any way was considered shameful for a normal, virile man, and thus while sex between adult men was acceptable, it was extremely shameful and socially maligned for the bottoming partner (and at times, punishable for Roman citizens). Julius Ceasar also seems to have kind of ignored this whole thing completely. One of his friends, Gaius Scribonius Curio, once described him as "every man's woman, and every woman's man".

Modern audiences (like Shakespeare) tend to see Ceasar as a very stoic, manly figure because we assume that's what a military general and powerful dictator must be like, however, the reality is a lot weirder than that. There's even an argument that Ceasar deliberately emphasised his own effeminate qualities in order to set himself apart from the traditionalist, aristocratic class of Rome, and to establish that he was something new and a force for political change.

Honestly, for those people who were upset about the gay stuff in Alexander, a "realistic" historical movie about Julius Ceasar would probably blow their little minds.

I'm not contesting you though, for me this makes him incredibly cool. He became the most powerful person in the Roman world while also being a textbook example of someone Roman society didn't tend to think should be powerful.

I have heard he had affiars with male lovers in his lifetime. But homoerotic tendencies or not, Caesar is still the better man then Alexander.

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