Note: this review covers the theatrical version of the film.
Oliver Stone's epic portrait of one of the greatest figures in history had the potential to be as epic, mythic, and great as the person it is about. What it turned out ot be instead was a bloated, hollow, unfocused mess filled with bland dialogue and some really out there and stilted performances. It's certainly not for lack of trying though.
For this should have been masterpiece, Stone at least assembled an awesome and talented cast that includes Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, and an all too short appearance by Christopher Plummer. Farrell was a decent enough choice, but I' not sure I really like the characterization all that much. Kilmer was okay, but seemed to be channelling his take on Jim Morrison a bit much. Jolie started off fine, but could have stood to dial it down quite a bit, and go for something more subtle and nuanced. Same goes for Rosario, and once again, Stone makes a film where women unfortunately get the short end of the stick. Hopkins was okay, but seemed better suited for a better film. Leto was likewise fair, but sorta came off as a bit too fey.
I liked that the film tried to tackle many facets of Alexander the Great's life, personality, and career, and had some decent themes to it, but it all comes off as really overblown, a tad pretentious, and actually rather boring and meandering. For someone as colorful as Alexander, this shouldn't be the case. The battle scenes are epic, really well done, and some of the best parts of the film, but sadly they are too few and far between, which is a problem when the film has a 175 minute running time and all the other stuff, which good at times, becomes really difficult to sit through.
I will give the film props for having a historical advisor on board (though oddly uncredited for whatever reason), and the costumes, period details, and all that are top notch, as are the cinematography, and Vangelis's score (which is atypical of what he usually does). Overall though, I'm not on board, even though I really wanted to be. I'd like to think that I knew what Stone was going for, but I can't really figure it out. Maybe I need to see one of the other cuts he came out with, since those are supposedly better.
As this one stands though, it's not a failure, but it's still an average, out of control and unbalanced mess.