Front Page















'Alexander' the Grate
November 30, 2004

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

What do you do if you just made a big-budget flick that was meant to be a blockbuster but instead turns out to be a bore? Pander to your American-hating European friends and try and get them to boost disappointing box office receipts.

That's apparently Oliver Stone's latest strategy to try and ratchet up ticket sales and save some "Alexander" face.

Reportedly, the tab for the epic film was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million. My hunch, though, is that the most sizable portion of the costs went to foot the mascara bill for the guys in the flick.

The casting of the movie is pathetic. Colin Farrell can't seem to remember whether he's in a History Channel special or an SNL spoof. The fiercest battle appears to be going on in his head, with surfer dude expressions that betray an inner struggle - "Did Ollie say warrior conqueror or B.C. comic?"

Angelina Jolie plays Alexander the Great's mom. While the age discrepancy is bothersome enough in and of itself, somehow Stone must have directed her to offset Farrell's Irish brogue with some Transylvania diction.

Rounding out the miscast is Hannibal in a toga Anthony Hopkins and Batman in a crown Val Kilmer. Hopkins plays Ptolemy, the senior reminiscer who makes long-winded speeches about Alexander's conquests. Kilmer is Alexander's dad and apparently studied with the same speech coach as Madonna.

The Toronto Star calls the film "not just a bad movie but a bad movie of truly epic proportions."

The Washington Post says that, "as expressed through the weepy histrionics of Colin Farrell," Stone's main character "is more like a desperate housewife than a soldier."

The Northwest Herald warns that the flick "often seems a couple of heartbeats away from turning into a gay porno film."

The New York Times says Stone's work contains "puerile writing, confused plotting and shockingly off-note performances."

The Los Angeles Times describes the movie as an "indifferent epic" and a "plodding endeavor."

The Boston Globe says that the film "is full of brilliant highlights, and they're all in Colin Farrell's hair."

Don't feel too bad for Stone, though. He's seeking redemption for "Alexander" from the Michael Moore fans in Europe, and he may get it. While receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Stockholm International Film Festival, Stone remarked, "I think one of the reasons I am being honored here is Europeans tend to see me a little differently than they do in the U.S."

Get this. He talked about the "incredible parallels" between the ancient Macedonian conqueror and President George W. Bush. Evidently, he was trying to fuel the kooky European sentiments by comparing Alexander the Great's efforts to expand his empire into the Middle East with President Bush's invasion of Iraq.

"Alexander" is just more Stone paranoia on screen.

Reproduced with the permission of . All rights reserved

Copyright © 2004
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

All Rights Reserved