Monday, August 22, 2005

Alexander: The true origin of the mullet

Poor Alexander. Or maybe it's poor Oliver Stone. He wanted to make this movie for SO LONG! And then he finally did and everyone said it sucked. I really tried to watch it objectively and I did see it had some interesting stuff. Like hair! Colin's dyed-blond mullet was just fantastic. Angelina's snaky curls were extra perfect. And Val's King Philip barbarian scruff was scruffy. Some warriors had short hair and some long. Did they have scissors in ancient Macedonia? Or did they just use their swords? Or daggers? Who cut hair? It's a mystery.

Early on in the movie Angelina did something I didn't like. She threatened Alexander (while he was in bed) with the snake she was holding, telling him to be careful, or the snake will strike. Well, that snake was easily identified as a ball python, which is a really nice, non poisonous snake. I used to have one as a pet, and he/she was really sweet. I miss you, Casey. But Olympias was kind of a crazy person, or so it seemed to Alexander. I found the movie fairly misogynistic. I worked hard to find one female character that Alexander wasn't afraid of and couldn't. He was threatened by his mom, dad's new wife, his own wife, you name it. The only woman he didn't seem afraid of was the babylonian princess and that's because she was more afraid of him.

What a pageant! This movie reminded me of the old MGM films I used to watch with my dad on Sunday afternoons. "Cue the elephants!" "You! Dancing slave girls! You're up next!" The screen seemed like it would bust with all the activity. Another thing I found amusing was the first big battle scene in Persia. I could barely keep up with the strategy and I guess no one else could either. So, just when I need it, a title comes up on the screen "Macedonian Center" and then later "Macedonian Left" to let all us non warrior folks understand what the hell was happening. I imagined Oliver viewing the dailies with the cinematographer: "Who are they? they look just like that other bunch of dudes!" "How will anyone figure it out?" (Photographer dude) "We'll just label them on the screen and then they'll understand." "Good, good. I like it." What a dope!

What about all those poked-out eyes? Did you see all of them? King Philip had such a scary facial scar I barely recognized Val Kilmer. O.k., he's a dude who has seen some battle. But then, in perhaps a macabre King Philip Lookalike contest I started seeing them everywhere! I counted at least four faces with similar eye scars. I'm always wondering if folks working on the film play tricks on us, the poor viewers. Were they playing a joke? Or was it just a bad year (or ten) for eye injuries? Huh.

Alexander, Alexander, Alexander. The world just isn't ready for an ambiguously gay world conquerer. Even the Greeks cried "Alexander wasn't gay! Alexander wasn't gay!" Audiences hated the gay scene so much Oliver cut it out just to sell some dvd's. What a cop out. Remember Braveheart? Remember Gladiator? Even Russell Crowe, as annoying as he can be, exuded significant manliness onscreen. And that movie didn't have one sex scene in it. In Braveheart, after the coolest battle scenes, the warriors went back to camp to rib each other and tend to their wounds. In Alexander, warriors went back to camp, washed the blood off and applied eyeliner. Even the characters in the movie were homophobic. Mom didn't seem to care but cautioned him to "get an heir!" and "remember your father!" who I guess was severely homophobic. I actually worried that Alexander was so gay he wouldn't even be able to be with a woman. But with enough slapping Rosario around he managed to make things happen.

Alexander was clunky and confusing to the non-Alexander the Great-historian. I was left guessing during the movie (what's his name?) (who the hell is that again?) as the story plodded along. But! Always a glutton for punishment I will soldier on and watch Troy next.

1 comment:

Putty said...

Hahahaha! I'm so glad you rented this one. What a thoroughly uncomfortable movie. To monopolize on your analogy with Gladiator or Braveheart, where the hell was the affinity you were supposed to feel for Alexander that made Gibson or Crowe's roles so powerful? I just found myself hoping that he'd do *anything* admirable, heroic, or even perspicacious. Chit, by the time hour two was up, I was hoping he'd just die.

And talk about uncomfortable. I'm not sure what really set me on edge, but I'd guess it was the sexual tension in all of the wrong places. Mom wanted a piece of him, half the soldiers in his cabal would have dropped drawers at his behest, and the only interaction any men ever had with those of the opposite sex were prefaced by bouts of serious violence. Gah, I'm getting the willeys all over again. Now I have no idea how I would've received this movie had they built up Farrell's character with more charismatic traits and still left him rampantly homosexual; even then I may not have been okay with things. But the bottom line is that this felt like a documentary on the tangled love life of Alexander the Great, and not on one of history's greatest conquerors.

Good call.