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Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut (DVD Review)

25 Feb, 2007 By: John Latchem

Street 2/27/07

$24.98 DVD
Stars Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Hopkins.

The best review of this new DVD version of Alexander is summed up by director Oliver Stone himself in his introduction: “Those of you who liked the first Alexander I think will like this even more, and those of you who hated it, I think you're going to hate it even more.”

For those keeping score, this is Stone's third pass at the material, following a theatrical run in November 2004 and a DVD director's cut in August 2005.

This latest attempt to make the film palatable combines almost all the footage into a single, three-and-a-half-hour narrative not unlike the historical epics of yesteryear, which Stone admits inspired him so much.

The plot has been restructured, leading off with the epic battle of Gaugamela, then cutting back to Alexander the Great's childhood to show some influences on his later actions. Stone then shifts back and forth between Alexander's Eastern campaigns into India and his troubled relationship with his father, Philip II.

While the film covers all the significant events in the Macedonian king's short life, it feels like a bloated biopic — a project too ambitious even for Stone, who clearly has a great fascination with Alexander. Yet, he still fails to translate this affection in a way the audience can absorb. Stone is so busy outlining the details he forgets to get to the point, a failing no amount of additional footage can overcome.

There may be some allegory in this story of a leader so obsessed with crawling out from his father's shadow he engages in a series of wars in the Middle East that prove increasingly unpopular as time marches on. But, any subtlety is washed away by incessant narration from Anthony Hopkins as an elder Ptolemy, one of Alexander's trusted generals.

Stone promises this will be the last version of the film to see the light of day, and I'd like to believe him. His introduction, and a letter inserted into the DVD package, serve almost as a plea to forgive him for his indulgence.

He asks for fan feedback at alexanderthemovie.warnerbros.com. To that I say, “Enough is enough. It's time to let it go!”

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