6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Five Stars for the Theatrical Version, Aug. 31 2005
I liked this movie so much when I saw it in the theatre I went back and saw it again a few days later. This is not just another war movie. By the time you see Alexander standing at the top of the Hindu Kush telling Ptolemy that every time he goes to a new country he peels away another layer of illusion, it is obvious that this movie is portraying Alexander's conquest as a creative and spiritual quest driven by deep personal needs. I liked the feeling of destiny, the exhilaration of vicariously enjoying the success of someone who is not afraid to go after what he wants, tempered by the awareness that everything has its limits and that ultimately "all men reach and fail."
Another thing I liked was how Alexander's mother Olympias puts her own strength and ambition into him. In her intense love for him, as well as her horrible manipulativeness the movie shows (whether Oliver Stone intended to or not) what can happen to the energies of a strong woman in a society where she has no outlet for her ambitions except through her son. I liked too how Alexander's relationship with Hephaistion provides him with a balancing factor to his obsessive need for achievement. Hephaistion reminds him that love is important too. He is very supportive of Alexander, but provides a balancing perspective. Theirs is as close to an equal relationship as a king at that time could have, a spiritual-sexual friendship of the kind approved in the movie by their teacher Aristotle. I like a lot of things about this movie but I'll only mention one more. I liked the way the symbolism of the eagle appears throughout the movie and underlines the major themes.
I give the Theatrical Release version five stars.
I give the new Director's Cut only four stars because of excessive flashbacks that interrupt the flow and shape of the story, and some things taken out that I think should have been left in.