August 3, 2005

On a scale of one to ten? It sucked.

Posted in movies tagged , at 12:51 am by placeinthestars

Okay, so L. came over and we ordered pizza and I drank two bottles of cider and she had sea breezes and we watched Alexander, the theatrical version.

If you liked this movie, this is not the entry for you. Please scroll on by. Thanks, and good night.

For anyone who’s left.


I knew the reviews were bad, both the professional reviews and from a few people on LJ back when it was in theatres, but you know, as I’ve said in the past, I enjoyed Troy despite it’s many, many flaws, so it’s not like I expect a lot from sword-and-sandals movies.

But this was just… how did Oliver Stone not see what a huge mess he made? I mean, seriously? I mean, this movie went for the trifecta – godawful writing, egregious (over)acting and craptacular directing. The casting was highly questionable, though Cleitus is my new Macedonian boyfriend. Colin Farrell plays Alexander as a petulant, weak boy, and we never ever see any reason anybody would follow him to the powder room, let alone across the known world. Hephaistion has no characterization whatsoever, except to look unbearably pretty until his eyeliner gets too thick and he looks like an incredibly pretty smack addict. Olympias was like Morticia Addams except even more over the top. The script completely let them all down. I mean, I don’t think anybody was phoning it in, I think they *tried*, but god, I think the script was just poorly structured and badly written and they had nothing to work with.

There was no focus, there was barely a theme (visionaries must be killed before they kill us all, the whole brotherhood of man crap) and it basically died on the vine. If I hadn’t already known the story, I’d have been lost after Mieza. There was no time spent on character development. There was just a lot of laughable Freudian imagery (and dude, an actual Olympias/Alexander sex scene would have *improved* this movie), questionable dialogue and endless exposition dumps that didn’t actually tell us anything.

We spent a lot of time laughing at the hysterical overacting and scenery chewing, were bored by Ptolemy’s endless voiceovers – and I *adore* Ptolemy. He’s so *sensible*. I understand the taking of liberties and rearranging the history, but none of it made any more sense the way Stone did it than if he’d left it alone. And god, every time JRM was on screen I was like, “We’re not even supposed to BE in Osgiliath, Mr. Frodo.” Er, I mean, Cassander’s not even supposed to BE there.

I mean, I knew there would be trouble as soon as “Fortune favors the bold” appeared as the epitaph, because hello? Alexander slept with The Iliad, not The Aeneid under his pillow. Stone couldn’t have bothered to check? He couldn’t have used “Ever to strive to be the best” instead? Because I gotta tell you, fortune may favor the bold, but she laughs at movies like this. And the maps in Greece being in English. And then Latin! Latin! Gah! Okay, those are minor details, and I thought the Ishtar Gate was FABulous, and did I mention how hot Cleitus and Hephaistion are?

Okay, there were two or three things I liked. The balcony scene – “you strike me still.” *guh* And the scene where Hephaistion gives him the ring. And the bit after he kills Cleitus and Roxane is all, “Let me see him,” and Hephaistion is all, “Bitch, please.” And of course, Hephaistion’s death, with Alexander weaving the fantasy of their future life together as Hephaistion dies behind him. *sniff* And Farrell actually sold the grief/rage combo, which was unexpected, but the overacting finally paid off. He actually seemed menacing when he attacked Roxane, and was all, “You killed the only thing I ever loved!” *sniff* I thought they (A/H I mean) were ridiculously first date the night before Gaugamela, with Hephaistion obviously not knowing how to flip his hair seductively enough to get asked in for a pre-battle shag. I am very pissed that there was no kissing. We got the ridiculous juxtaposition of Alexander (and a glimpse of Colin’s goodies) taking Bagoas to bed while Cleitus (and did I mention how hot Cleitus was?) kills Parmenion, but we never got more than faux manly hugging between Alexander and Hephaistion. I do not approve, Mr. Stone. I think you sold your story out there, but then, having given neither Alexander nor Hephaistion any characterization that would make an unfamiliar audience interested and invested in them as individuals and as a couple, I guess you had no story to sell out.

The fact that you actually had one of the most interesting stories of like, EVER to tell, had you taken a little care in shaping it, makes me hate you a lot more than I used to. Have you even made a good movie since Wall Street?

As an aside, why is so much of the (published/professional) fiction about Alexander SO BAD? I mean, I expect great gobs of fanfiction to suck as a matter of course, but I would hope that if something got chosen to be published or filmed it would at least be halfway decent.

I also sniffled a little at Bucephalus’ death. Other than that, though, nothing much sticks out in my head as well, good. There was a lot of bad and a lot of laughable, but this isn’t even the fun kind of bad movie that you can rewatch and laugh at. It’s just mindbogglingly bad. The battle scenes were poorly done, and, and! No Issus, no Granicus, no Chaeroneia (and I know I’m spelling that wrong), no TYRE. God, I’m actually kind of glad there was no Tyre, because I didn’t have to witness it onscreen sucking like a hoover.

So, um, yeah. Given how much in love with Alexander and Hephaistion I am, there was no way I wasn’t buying this movie, but god it sucks. Cleitus is hot, though. Did I mention that? I should have a Cleitus icon.

At least I had alcohol, pizza and good company to soften the blow.



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