I don't quite know what to say about Alexander. I feel vaguely like there's a good film trying to get out, somehow - but it hasn't quite managed it.
The portrayal of Olympias is interesting. Her relationship with Philip is perfectly plausible and actually fairly intriguing, but it's the emphasis on her as foreign and exotic that's noteworthy. The business with the snakes is presumably inspired by the stories about Philip seeing her sleeping by a snake around the time she conceived Alexander - which were meant to imply that Alexander was the son of a god, usually Zeus. She's portrayed as foreign and exotic, with a pseudo-mid-European accent (as opposed to all the others who have... Irish accents. Hmm. I'll get to that). But although young Alexander refers to all of them as Greeks, Olympias is actually the only Greek - the others are all Macedonians. Since Aristotle, also Greek, has an English accent, logically, so should Olympias (though to be fair, she may have been from a different city-state, I can't remember offhand). In Greek terms, everyone else are the barbarians - she's the Greek. That wouldn't fit Stone's insistence of filming her as an exotic, almost witch-like villainess though. She insists that Alexander is Zeus' son, whereas in reality it's more likely he came up with that idea, or it seems that way to me anyway.
The use of Irish accents for the Macedonians, presuambly resulting from Colin Farrell having trouble doing anything else, results in some rather unfortunate playing into stereotypes. Just as the Greeks characterised Macedonians as semi-barbaric, alcoholic, violently-inclined thugs, as Val Kilmer as Philip literarlly throws Olympias around in a drunken rage, with red hair and bellowing in an Irish accent, the portrayal plays into all those stereotypes of the Irish that Americans seem so fond of. I suppose I should admire the synchronicity of the way the ancient Greek prejudice against Macedonians is directly reflected in the modern prejudice against the Irish, the two nations both related, both speaking the same language but it different dialects, the one displaying a certain scorn towards the other. But, being more-than-half-Irish myself, I just find it annoying I'm afraid.
This film is very oddly structured. It entirely skips over Alexander's conquest of Greece and Egypt, heading straight to the battle of Gaugamela and the conquest of Persia. Military history isn't really my forte, so my reaction to the battle of Gaugamela is as follows - yay, camels! And shouldn't the Greek hoplites be standing closer together? Also, there seems to be more blood in the hospital after the battle than during the battle itself.
I quite like the scenes showing Philip and Alexander bonding a little bit, as Philip teaches him some particularly pertinant Greek myths (Oedpius! Medea! I wonder how they may turn out to be relevant to the plot...). Some of the wall paintings Philip shows Alexander look weirdly like they're styled afrter Picasso or something though, which is odd. The interpretation of Achilles and Patroclus' relationship as described in the film fits how it was interpreted in classical Athens, so accurate historically (though I disagree on the interpretation of Homer).
Ptolemy asks why Alexander took Roxanna as his wife and the audience want to ask the same thing - he's had a big row with his mates about her, but she hasn't had so much as a line of dialogue at that point to show us why he's so taken with her. We've been told she loves him and he seems strangely obsessed with her, but all we've seen them do together is he's watched her dance. They have a less close relationship than Herod Antipas and Salome. Surely it wouldn't have been too much to hear a single conversation between them, or see them relate to each other in some way before Alexander marries her against advice and much to the chagrin of Hephaestion?
I rather like the story between Alexander and Hephaestion, a tragic love story in which they love each other but Hephaestion has to be cast aside for a woman who can bear him sons (hopefully). It's not entirely appropriate for an ancient Greek context, of course. In Classical Greece, a man could marry and have a wife and sons, and have a homosexual relationship with another man alongside quite happily. In Athens, it would be expected that these relationships would only be with younger men, teenagers, but perhaps in other cities, like Sparta, it could be with men of the same age. The ancient world did not have separate terms for 'heterosexual', 'homosexual', 'bisexual' and so on. There was sex - you have it with wives to produce children, with captives to demonstrate power, with boys/men (depending on city-state) for love/lust/affection. Or you're Plato and you try to argue for the superiority of a meeting of minds.
The bit where everything gets tinted red is pretty weird, but I think it's supposed to symbolise Alexander's disoriented state after being shot. Or something (I'm watching the director's cut). Certainly, Ptolemy solemly tells us it was Alexander's bloodiest battle (except it looks kind of pink, so essentially it seems to suggest that Alexander's army is made up of Klingons). I think Stone might be trying to tell a story about hubris - but hubris in the modern sense, as in terrible pride before a big fall (hubris in an ancient Greek context is very hard to define, but refers broadly to a crime against the gods, that dishonours the gods as well as human beings).
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