Some of the films listed on the biggest flops ever can be a surprise.
But not this one.
If you ever needed proof positive that throwing a big name director together with a big name cast, then adding a budget of $155,000,000 was never guaranteed to result in a great film, then ‘Alexander’ (2004) is it.
I can imagine the studio licking their lips at the prospect. Seven production companies, guaranteed worldwide distribution, and Oliver Stone in the director’s chair. Then there was the cast. Colin Farrell as Alexander, along with Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Val Kilmer, and Jared Leto. Every generation of fans covered, and all actors with a track record of being big box-office draws.
Stone toured the world with pre-release interviews about just how great the film was. He had hired the foremost authority on Alexander’s army, a man who knew the period, the way battles were fought, and what the people of the time would have been wearing. He took the man along for those interviews, so he could convince the pundits. Historical authenticity was guaranteed. Worldwide film locations included Morocco, Thailand, and Malta.
Carbon footprint was not an issue for this production.
I was excited. After all, Stone had brought us JFK, which was great. Farrell was solid, with ‘SWAT’ and ‘Phone Booth’ showing he could act the part. Kilmer had been fabulous in ‘Tombstone’, and very good in ‘Heat’. Jolie had captivated me in ‘Changeling’. As for Anthony Hopkins, enough said.
But then I watched the film.
Never had a cast been so miscast. They not only didn’t suit their roles, they didn’t seem to relate to each other in any way. Stone’s insistence on that historical accuracy left me (and everyone else) wide-eyed in disbelief, and numerous other historical experts up in arms. It turned out that Oliver’s hired specialist was a self-deluding nut-job who made it up as he went along.
Oliver had been fooled, and we were left wanting.
The critics panned it, and the audiences stayed away. Then Stone added to his folly. He decided to drastically cut and alter the DVD release of the film, to make it less wordy, and more exciting. The resulting mess lost any cohesion, and became a jumble of unconvincing battle scenes populated by extras who looked like they had wandered in from a ‘Mad Max’ film. And I had been stupid enough to buy it, hoping that the much-lauded ‘Director’s Cut’ would be better than the screen version.
This film is just awful.
Small wonder that it lost an estimated $90,000,000, and took the place at number seven of all-time flops.