Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

When it comes to history’s greatest conquerors and warriors, no discussion would be complete without Alexander the Great, whose ambition knew no bounds. Alexander (Colin Farrell) was driven to power like few others could imagine, his desire to overtake and claim was that of legend. Even when he was outnumbered, overpowered, or faced with certain defeat, he refused to back down and against all odds, he would be triumphant. Oliver Stone brings the story of Alexander to life here, but the movie was trashed by critics and avoided by audiences. While I agree that Colin Farrell was a terrible choice for the lead, the movie isn’t that bad and has some terrific sequences. If Farrell were replaced by someone with more skill and presence, this could have been a great epic, but sadly Farrell drowns in his role. A lot of controversy surrounded Alexander due to homosexual elements, but this is a historical film and history tells us that the society within the film was open toward homosexuality. So why complain? Stone would revise those elements in his director’s cut, but this Final Cut reinstates them. Is Alexander is bad as its reputation suggests? I don’t think so. The movie is flawed and Farrell crumbles under his role, but the battles are fantastic and the movie has some great moments. So don’t listen to the negative hype and decide for yourself.

The trend of releasing director’s cuts and unrated versions of movies has boomed in recent years, as all kinds of films are revisited to hammer out new editions. Some are just to cash in on a second purchase by offering a few “too hot for the theaters” moments, but others have substance and are worth the second look. In the case of Alexander, this is the third different incarnation, though director Oliver Stone has promised it is also the last one. The theatrical release was ill received by audiences and critics, so Stone issued an director’s cut on home video, overhauled with more action. Now Stone has graced us with The Final Cut, a three and a half hour epic that he claims is his definitive vision of Alexander. To be fair, this is the best overall version of Alexander, but it still doesn’t solve the problems found in the others. I was pleased to see that some of the gaps have been filled in however, so this cut does seem like a more complete version. I do think the film is stretched thin at times, especially toward the end, but I was never bored, I just wanted things to pick up a touch. The movie is still a flawed epic, but it has plenty of great scenes and is well worth a look, especially in this new version. The supplements have been lopped off, but if you’re a fan of the movie or just love period epics, Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut is recommended.

Video: How does it look?

Alexander is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I have a hard time not holding these transfers to a higher standard, since I have been seeing so many incredible high definition transfers. But as far as standard DVDs are concerned, the transfer here is quite good, but far from flawless. I was let down by the level of detail, as even close ups sometimes lack depth and subtle touches, which is inexcusable. Even so, the rest of the transfer looks good, with vivid colors and accurate contrast. I didn’t see any problems with the print either, so the image is clean throughout. As I said, this just doesn’t have the detail depth I expected, but aside from that, the movie looks more than solid here.

Audio: How does it sound?

The video didn’t bowl me over, but the audio is impressive. I wouldn’t rank it with the elite soundtracks out there, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is powerful and well crafted. Of course, the battle sequences stand out and deliver on all counts, loud and with power to burn. As the swords clash and the arrows are fired, you will feel like you’re on the battlefield yourself. The surround use is never forced either, even in the most active moments, so the audio is very natural. As for the lower key moments, no complaints there, even dialogue is crystal clear. This release also includes English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This release includes an introduction with Oliver Stone, but no other supplements.

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