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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Oliver Stone
Cast:
Colin Farrell, Val Kilmer, Angelina Jolie, Jared Leto, Anthony Hopkins
Writing Credits:
Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle, Laeta Kalogridis

Tagline:
Fortune favors the bold.

Synopsis:
Now available is an all new and completely unrated version of Oliver Stone's incredible epic film, Alexander, loaded with nearly 40 minutes of additional never-before-seen footage that takes the film to a new level of realism and intensity. Restructured and expanded into two acts with one intermission, Oliver Stone's vision is delivered the way he originally conceived and intended. With the new, unrated and graphic battle scenes and unadulterated sensuality, it's the movie you couldn't see in theatres ... now available on DVD for the very first time!

Box Office:
Budget
$150 million.
Opening Weekend
$13.687 million on 2445 screens.
Domestic Gross
$34.293 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 214 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 2/27/2007

Bonus:
• Introduction with Director Oliver Stone


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut (Special Edition) (2004)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 26, 2007)

Like a dog with a particularly beloved chew toy, Oliver Stone just can’t stop playing with 2004’s Alexander. 2007’s Alexander Revisited – The Final Cut stands as the movie’s third released variation. There was the 175-minute theatrical version and the 167-minute Director’s Cut. With the Final Cut, we get a considerably extended look at things, as it runs almost 40 minutes longer than the original theatrical edition.

The story remains the same, though the structure differs. Bracketed by narration from an elderly Ptolemy (Anthony Hopkins), this edition starts with 20-something Alexander (Colin Farrell) as he leads his Macedonian forces against the Persian army commanded by King Darius (Raz Degan). After years of bloody conflict, Alexander eventually succeeds and becomes the ruler of the Persian Empire. This takes us to age 25. The rest of the movie follows Alexander’s remaining seven years of life and all his conquests. These take him to the limits of the world known at the time and see how much of that territory he ruled. also watch how he deals with others close to him such as boyhood friend – and more – Hephaistion (Jared Leto) and wife Roxane (Rosario Dawson).

In addition to those elements followed chronologically, the movie often leaps into the past to show what brought Alexander to that point. We also see the events that influenced his character and desires. We meet his abrasive father King Philip (Val Kilmer) and his freaky mother Olympias (Angelina Jolie). The pieces coalesce as they tell the tale of Alexander and his empire.

I didn’t see the theatrical Alexander, so I can’t comment on it. I really didn’t care for the Director’s Cut of the film, though, as I thought it was too chatty and dull. Stone talked the audience to death and rarely used visuals to depict matters. He took an exciting tale and made it shockingly boring.

While I can’t say that the Final Cut turns that sow’s ear into a silk purse, I do think it creates a considerable improvement over its predecessor. Even though the Final Cut goes with a less strictly chronological view, it actually becomes much more coherent. The flashbacks help illustrate personality elements rather than serve to stand on their own, and that makes them more engaging.

The choice to start with the fight against Persia also helps draw us into the action more quickly. As I mentioned, the earlier version was awfully talky and stiff. Some of those elements still materialize – especially in the conclusion, which threatens never to end – but Stone lets the visuals work for him more actively here. Though the fact we get less clear exposition should make matters more confusing, the opposite is true. This cut feels better thought-out and more intelligible.

The lead character benefits from this. Stone shies away from all the Freudian interpretation of the prior version in this take. Sure, we still get a little of that, but the Olympias character plays a much smaller role, a change for the good. Indeed, the involvement of Olympias and Philip is less prominent, so we’re not stuck with dime store psychology.

Instead, the Final Cut prefers to look at Alexander as a visionary. We see his quest to unite cultures and can view him as a man ahead of his time rather than just a wussy bossed around by his mommy. Farrell proves more effective in this context. I didn’t care for him in the Director’s Cut, as it emphasized his royalty. Without that view of things, I can better accept his more working class feel. I won’t say he stands out as strong in the role, but he’s fine; at least he doesn’t act like a negative.

I can’t clearly delineate all the changes made for the Final Cut. I only saw the Director’s Cut once, and I don’t remember it well enough from that summer 2005 screening to offer specifics. I can say that it greatly alters the structure as mentioned above, and it definitely includes racier content. There’s a much heavier depiction of Alexander’s homosexuality, and – happy news for the straight boys! - we get more nude shots of Rosario Dawson.

I think the secondary characters receive better development in the Final Cut. While few stood out as memorable in the Director’s Cut, they actually show personality here. We can differentiate among them and take them as their own characters – to a decent degree, at least. The movie doesn’t follow them terrifically well, but I’m happy that they manage to come across as something other than simple background noise.

I can’t say that Alexander Revisited – The Final Cut turns the material into a great movie. It’s still too long-winded and a bit scattered. That said, this edition offers greater clarity and seems more dynamic than its earlier takes. The Director’s Cut bores me, but the Final Cut manages to keep me reasonably involved.


The DVD Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus D-

Alexander Revisited – The Final Cut appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The “Final Cut” of Alexander spreads the movie across two discs. DVD One gives us the flick’s first two hours, eight minutes and 40 seconds, while DVD Two lasts one hour, 27 minutes. Virtually no problems emerged during this strong transfer.

Sharpness seemed excellent. At no point did any issues with softness materialize. Instead, the movie almost always looked nicely detailed and concise. I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed absent. Print flaws also never reared their ugly head, as the movie seemed clean at all times.

Given the arid setting of so much of the story, tans often dominated. Once Alexander headed east through Persia, brighter colors came into play, mostly via costumes. Whatever the palette at the time, the movie demonstrated tones that looked lively and accurate. Blacks seemed dense and firm, while low-light shots presented good clarity and visibility. This was the kind of positive image I expect of a recent, big-budget flick.

While generally satisfying, I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Alexander was a little more subdued than expected. This mix stayed surprisingly oriented toward the front speakers and didn’t make great use of the surrounds. Even the big action sequences continued to focus on the front. Those sequences opened up matters decently but weren’t especially involving. Most of the time, the movie featured general reinforcement of the music as well as ambience in the rears.

At least the front channels worked effectively. The score offered strong stereo delineation, and effects blended together smoothly. Those elements popped up in the appropriate spots and moved cleanly across the speakers. The lack of active surrounds was a relative disappointment, but the overall impression of the soundfield remained good.

I found no problems with audio quality. Speech consistently sounded concise and crisp, and no issues with intelligibility or edginess manifested themselves. The score offered the strongest parts of the mix. The music was bright and dynamic, with good range and definition. Effects also boasted good clarity. Those elements seemed distinctive and lively. Bass response added nice depth to the track. The audio lacked the ambition I expected, but it still worked well enough to earn a “B+”.

How did the picture and audio of this Alexander compare to those of the 2005 Director’s Cut? The sound seemed pretty similar, as both were good but not excellent. On the other hand, the visuals showed improvement. While the original disc seemed terrific, the Final Cut was even stronger. It demonstrated slightly better sharpness.

Unlike the prior DVDs of Alexander, this one includes almost no supplements. All we find is a three-minute and 27-second Introduction with Director Oliver Stone. In this clip, he tells us a little about the composition of the “Final Cut” and some of the ways it alters the other two versions. It’s a decent overview, but it doesn’t substitute for a more substantial examination of this edition. An audio commentary would have been very welcome.

With Alexander Revisited – The Final Cut, Oliver Stone should be able to put his baby to bed. The prior versions of the movie were chatty and boring, whereas this edition manages to become fairly entertaining and effective. It’s still a flawed film, but at least this one’s watchable. The DVD offers excellent picture and very good audio but skimps on extras. If you want to see Alexander, skip the crummy prior versions and go with the more satisfying “Final Cut”.

To rate this film visit the Director's Cut review of ALEXANDER

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