Film Flops I have Seen (3)

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.

50 thoughts on “Film Flops I have Seen (3)

  1. I’ve never been so bored in my life. First of all the accents were horrific. I have no idea what accent Angelina Jolie was going for but it flopped. I also didn’t know that most of the Macedonians in 400 BC were actually Irish. I can understand why Colin Farrell might have been unable to shake off his brogue but I’m not sure why American Jared Leto felt the need to copy it. For all the supposed homoerotic undertones, in every scene where Alexander and Hephastion were staring lovingly into each other’s eyes, Colin and Jared looked like they were about to piss themselves laughing. What a complete mess!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pete, you are so right about this one: a pedigree that should have ensured success may have, in fact, been one reason it bombed…big name cast that didn’t fit the role…great Director whose hubris got the better of him…and the write-off. ouch!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Agreed. Alexander was absolutely dreadful! I too was very disappointed. The old “Alexander the Great” starring Richard Burton (!) in the title role was better – but still not a winner in my book. Regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny how some major moments in history just don’t seem to translate well to film. I had to give up movies at the theatre, because they almost always trigger a bad migraine, no matter what kind of story. I guess that at least that problem saved me from this movie! LOL. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nobody has ever done a good ‘Alexander The Great’, so you haven’t missed anything, Jon. 🙂
      Burton did one in 1956, William Shatner in 1963, and they were rubbish too.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  5. Ahahah! I’ve never seen this movie, and have no intention of doing so, but I loved the anecdote about the crazy historian! X–D
    Surely it wasn’t Stone’s fault, right? I assume he was hired by the producers…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I confess that I really like ‘Hot Fuzz’. It is an amusing mockery of cop dramas on TV, and deliberately contrived to be so.
      But we can’t all like the same films of course, Stevie. I’m sure that even ‘Alexander’ has its dedicated fans. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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