Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut (DVD)

“Why a third version of Alexander? The best answer I can manage is, I couldn’t get it out of my system. It’s a film that’s been haunting me since the theatrical version first appeared in November 2004 in the U.S., followed by a Director’s Cut on DVD in July 2005.” Oliver Stone

Jesus Christ, Mr. Stone, why? Why can’t you just leave that gaping wound alone? Why can’t you just let it heal? Why can’t you just leave well enough alone and accept that you made a really bad movie? You made a bad movie! There was no homophobic conspiracy, no boycott against you. You made a neo-“Caligula,” a film that takes itself so seriously it can’t even realize it has a huge “Kick My Pompous Ass” sign on its back. While we chortle in the distance, you’re still hung up on this figment that we just can’t accept a film about a hero who is bisexual. So, you grace us with three cuts of the same crappy film. Stone, know when to stop breathing air in the infectious cavity. You win some, and you lose some. You lost big with “Alexander” and you only help increase the sentiment with this “final” cut. You’re off your game, face it. And worst of all, Stone wants to cater to his audiences rather than accept defeat. There was the original cut (175 min.), then the trimmed down cut which increased the action and pulled back on the homosexual overtones (167 min.), and now there’s this “Final Cut.”

Now at three and a half hours (!), I was forced to sit through this travesty yet again after swearing I never would. Sure, it was obligation, but half of it was pure curiosity. Could Oliver Stone salvage this pure mess of a film? Could he relinquish the sheer campiness with a newer cut? Could the hilarious yet utterly obnoxious cat fight between a naked Dawson, and a femmed up Farrell somehow be altered to seem somewhat watchable? Miracles only happen once in every blue moon. With the letter insert in the DVD case, the double disc packed with extras, and the bait “Free “300” movie Ticket!” you just know Stone wants us to give him another chance, and he’s intent on winning us over. If only that were possible, pal. Five minutes in and you can still hear the Scottish accent behind Farrell who, in his blond mane, tries to hide it behind often brief under voice responses, that hide it poorly. Farrell is still impossible to buy as a fifteen year old ruler, and his performance is still quite possibly one of the worst in years. “Alexander” is, sadly, still the same animal, regardless of how open-minded I was. It’s still incredibly campy, and it’s still awfully hard to sit through, even with Stone splitting the film in two parts to pay homage to the epics of the golden age of film.

Still remains it the hammy dialogue between actors, and the Danielle Steele drama, which leads me to the resolve that Stone has no idea why his film is awful, since none of the actual problems are touched upon. Stone opens the film with the hook and then leads into the story. There’s a grand battle, and then… still the same movie as before. The narrative, as the former, is still all over the place. We skip from a war, to Alexander’s troubled youth, to his teaching as an emperor, to his adulthood, and different conquests and lovers, and it can never bind as a coherent epic that musters a hint of interest. Not to mention, there are still scenes so utterly long-winded, even audiences with the most extended attention spans will deem it extremely difficult to prevent from blacking out, particularly the scene with Alexander’s father explaining the different Greek myths which remains an awfully redundant sequence with very little impact. And of extras? There aren’t any besides the introduction by Stone. What’s the point with two previous releases?

What there are, are two discs with the movie on both in an attempt to, as Stone puts it, give audiences a chance to think over the previous part while watching the film at their own pace. It was quite a struggle on this end. Stone just continues with the same mistakes again and again emphasizing the bisexual angle on Alexander more even featuring a mild sex scene between Alexander and a male lover, but the impact and spectacle of the scene is undercut by the long winded whining courtesy of Alexander who still huffs about his daddy, lusts after mommy, and takes in lover after lover male and female. “Alexander” is still so incredibly long winded and so unnecessarily verbose, with awfully cheesy dialogue, and often excruciating sequences involving battles and relationships. It’s still a very flat, and awful “epic” that Stone can’t accomplish for the life of him. It’s a valiant effort. After viewing the introduction, it’s a valiant effort for Stone to attempt to win his audience over and prove himself, but “Alexander” is simply a mess that can not be salvaged no matter how many times it’s re-cut. Like “Troy,” and “Caligula,” it’s simply a film that’s famous for being bad, and sometimes you just have to move on.