How is it possible to take one of history's most interesting figures and a huge budget and make possibly the world's worst movie, ever?
I was saddened when Alexander the movie received criticism for
featuring homosexuality. Besides being a neanderthalic prejudice, it
distracted from the many valid reasons for criticism. This is a strong
contender for worst movie ever made.
I will say first that this film has a marvelous cast. But it really
doesn't help. Really.
It's almost totally ahistorical, but that's standard practice. It's
irritating if you know something about Alexander's life and deeds (I
studied him college), but the people I feel sorry for are the ones who
walk away thinking they've been exposed to an educational experience.
There is a small book in explaining how wrong this assumption is. It'd
write it, but it would involve watching the movie again. But the rather
liberal interpretation of the available information is a side issue in
explaining why this is a strong contender for worst movie ever made.
The script is dreadful. Mind-bendingly dreadful. It's deficiencies take
several forms. I shall enumerate them;
1) The dialogue is actually a series of monologues. Every-one is
apparently reciting excerpts from their autobiographies, or treatises
on whatever is at hand, letters to whomever they are talking to,
letters to the editor, political speeches, self-help manuals... It's
certainly not conversation.
2) It's portentous. I sometimes like portentousness, it can lend
atmosphere. Here, it lends to the tedium. The tedium doesn't need
adding to, it's already oversubscribed.
3) It never knows when to stop. Anthony Hopkins has a monologue at the
end that goes on for several minutes. You keep thinking it'll end,
hoping, praying it will end (this Anthony Hopkins! He could probably
read the ingredients of soap and make it sound interesting), and it
does, eventually, but by then you slipped even further into a coma and
are in no fit condition to cheer. Colin Farrell seems to spend half the
movie looking off into space and holding forth at length on, oh,
whatever, but always passionately.
4) It's badly written. It's a bad series of portentous monologues that
never know when to stop.
Aside from the script (perhaps) the film features other flaws that
inhibit it from greatness. Such as?
Pointless time jumps. I have nothing against time jumps. Highlander,
Once upon a time in America, Godfather part two, Once upon a time in
the West, For a few dollars more, and probably other films that weren't
by Sergio Leone... Many great films feature them. But usually they
follow a rationale. Usually they aren't apparently random and
unconnected. Here, it's like they put a couple of reels in the wrong
Sins of omission. While I said that the lack of adherence to historical
accuracy was a side issue, not mentioning almost any episode that might
actually have been exciting or interesting seems a dubious policy.
Alexander, as the posters implied, was the stuff of legend made real.
(I make no moral judgement here). Does it mention the phalanx? Any the
innovative ways that he overcame apparently unassailable fortresses by
looking at the problems from another angle? The political methodology
whereby he kept a grip on all of the peoples behind him? The Gordian
Knot? Does it hell. It does feature a couple of battle scenes, the
second of which is shot in a vivid and pretty colour scheme, and both
of which illustrate that he fought at forefront of his army. So that's
The most laughable sex scene ever committed to film. Alexander wins
over his bride by making kitty-cat claws gestures and noises. There's
more, but that's definitely the stand-out feature.
I could go on, but this film has already eaten enough of my life. The
only thing epic here is the ineptitude. It actually made me feel
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