Sprawling Soap Opera

Main Cast : Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Rosario Dawson

Director: Oliver Stone

Taking a stab at the life and times of Alexander the Great, Universal and director Oliver Stone decided to focus more on the man than the historical events he helped cause. That’s fine, so long as one can sympathize with our hero. I can’t say that I did.

I can’t believe that the real Alexander was such an emotional wimp. Colin Farrell plays the great warrior with a troubled brow and worried expression for many of his scenes, flailing out angrily at real or imagined slights with the petulance of a three-year old. Now that I come to think of it, as written the Gods are usually depicted the exact same way. Hmm. His mother swore he was the son of Zeus. Maybe he was, at that. Even so, I still could have done without the histrionics and drama.

I think the real problem is insolvable. We have 21st century actors portraying those that lived so long ago. These people were different than us: in thoughts, social mores, the way they lived. While history books and information can give us some inkling, we really are peering through a glass, darkly. Our actors simply can’t cast off the manners and the ingrained training of this century.

Ah, well. Other than the forced drama, how was the rest of the film? Well, the sets, costumes, and special effects were superb. The battle scenes were horrific and were certainly chaotic enough to ring true. I could have done without the “temporal whiplash”: setting up scenes in wildly different times. 3 years ago, present, 20 years later. We hop around like a crazed jumping bean. I could follow, but it was annoying.

And, lastly, it was good that they made it clear that Alexander’s mother was a witch, because Angelina Jolie never, ever looked old enough to be his mother in her later years, a few dyed gray hairs at the temples notwithstanding.

Bottom line: while flawed, I suggest Troy over Alexander if you are looking for a period piece such as this. Neither are great movies, but the former wins over the latter.

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