Thursday, September 15, 2005
Codename V attempts to watch Alexander
In which V. tackles an Oliver Stone epic with rather poor results.

Right, so. Alexander. I rented this a couple of days ago, but haven't been in the mood for A Serious Epic. It's due back on Saturday, so I figured, the time is now. Otherwise I probably won't have time to finish it.

First let me point out that this film clocks in at something crazy like 160 minutes. That's, like, nearly 3 hours long. I have kind of a history of not having a lot of patience for films that stretch much past 90 minutes. Usually I find that when a film is intolerably long like that, it's because there's a hell of a lot of pointless filler that could easily have been cut without sacrificing narrative integrity at all.

Secondly, let me point out that this film is by Oliver Stone. According to the IMDB, Mr. Stone has personally directed 21 films. I have personally enjoyed exactly two of these - Natural Born Killers and U-Turn.

So from the start, it would seem I am doomed. Nearly 3 hours of rambling incoherence, because honestly, Oliver Stone is the King of Rambling Incoherence.

Alexander does not disappoint in the "rambling incoherence" department. It flips around between past and present every few minutes. From what I can gather, Anthony Hopkins has aged about 300 years since the Hannibal Lecter days, Colin Farrell looks incredibly stupid with bleached blonde hair, and Angelina Jolie is batshit crazy (no shit) and is speaking with what sounds like a Romanian accent for NO APPARENT REASON.

So I get through the "Alexander's Childhood" bit of the film, wherein his dad (Crazy One-Eyed Val Kilmer) hates him and hates his mom and hates everyone basically, but is proud of wee Alexander for taming a wild horse. And Angelina Jolie is batshit crazy (duh) and sounds Romanian and plays with snakes, and is all the time singing songs about how snakes will make you brave, but they'll turn on you, and isn't that true about people, and why does Crazy One-Eyed Val Kilmer hate her because really she doesn't look THAT old does she?

It is a miracle I made it that far. So yeah, Alexander grows up and decides to go kick Persia's ass. He seems to think the king of Persia paid someone to assassinate his dad (Oliver Stone = conspiracy). His troops are way outnumbered by Persia. So he rallies them and stuff, and rides around on his horse giving them this Big Braveheart Pep Talk. Except, he starts addressing each soldier individually, telling them how badass they are. I doze off. I wake up what must be a full 15 minutes later, and he's still bigging up his effing troops. This makes me feel a bit confused and disoriented.

Suddenly, there's some huge battle. You'd think bloodshed and gore and general brutal violence would get my interest, but no. I actually dozed off again. I ended up turning the DVD off and taking a nap for an hour - and I never take naps. I have to be really seriously bored out of my mind to take a nap in the middle of the day, especially considering I got a full night's sleep. Conclusion: Alexander has some kind of mind-numbing hypnotic effect on the viewer, something akin to what happens when I try to watch The English Patient.

So, my evaluation of Alexander is still incomplete. I'll take it on again a little later and see if I can stay awake long enough for the incest. Cos, I mean, there's incest, isn't there? I heard there was incest...