Alexander: The Ultimate Cut is supposed to be the final cut… the final FINAL cut, and even though I’m still not overly enamored with the film, I can appreciate the production and costume designs, some of the performances and the ambitiousness of the character and story.
Alexander: The Ultimate Cut
Genre(s): Drama, Action, Suspense
Warner Bros. | Unrated/R – 207 min. / 175 min. – $39.99 | June 3, 2014
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
A flop at the box office back in 2004, $34.3m on a $155m budget (though it made $133m overseas), Oliver Stone’s Alexander was panned by critics and audiences alike, though it would seem over the years it’s gained some more respect… however not from this reviewer. In any case, despite the film’s failures, it somehow keeps getting resurrected with new versions, the latest, and presumably final one, is “The Ultimate Cut” clocking in at 3 hours and 26 minutes – 31 minutes longer than the theatrical version, 39 minutes longer than the director’s cut and amazingly 8 minutes shorter than the final cut – this version isn’t terrible and certainly is better than the theatrical version, but it plods through at a snail’s pace at no point did I get emotionally involved instead admiring the technical aspects, and even some of the performances, rather than a enthralling story.
Honestly, Alexander isn’t an awful film and this “Ultimate Cut” seems to balance the best of “The Final Cut”, which many fans seem to love, and some elements of the “Director’s Cut”. I’m not sure if I’ll ever revisit this film, although I do hope to if only to see if my opinion changes, but I do have give some respect at least to Oliver Stone and his dedication and hopefully the “Ultimate Cut” gets it just right for the variety of fans out there. For me, I just never really found it all that engrossing.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
The 2-disc set is housed in a foldout digipak which is encased in a sturdy box which also has an envelope with letters from Oliver Stone to various members of the cast as well as a photo book of sketches and on-set pictures. Also included is a Digital Copy of the Ultimate Cut.
Disc One: Alexander: The Ultimate Cut
Audio Commentary with Oliver Stone as he explains this latest cut and the changes made, why it was necessary and his disappointment with the theatrical version being too rushed. I normally don’t care for solo tracks but Stone is an engaging fellow filling up the 3+ hour running time.
The Real Alexander and the World He Made (29:45; HD) is a scholarly documentary on the legend that is Alexander the Great and contains interviews with professors as well as Oliver Stone intercut with scenes from the movie.
Fight Against Time: Oliver Stone’s Alexander (1:16:13; HD) – Directed by Sean Stone, this lengthy documentary takes a look at making the historical epic from early on through filming and some of the challenges of making it. It’s more of a fly-on-the-wall feature from the perspective of Stone’s son.
Disc Two: Alexander: Theatrical Cut
Audio Commentary – Director Oliver Stone and Historical Advisor Robin Lane Fox, recorded separately it seems, sit down for an informative if not slightly dry commentary as Fox, who fills most of the time, talk to the accuracy of the film.
Resurrecting Alexander (26:41; SD), Perfect is the Enemy Good (28:53; SD), The Death of Alexander (31:16; SD) and Vangelis Scores Alexander (4:31; SD) – These are behind-the-scenes featurettes using some of the footage from the “Fight Against Time” documentary, just vastly cut down. These show just how vast the production was, sometimes hours of setup for less than a minute of screen time.
Also included is a Teaser Trailer (1:55; SD) and Theatrical Trailer (1:57; SD).
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Alexander: The Ultimate Cut gallops into battle on the Blu-ray field presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a nice-looking 1080p high-definition transfer. This is a fantastic looking transfer that really shows off the excellent production values from the sets and costumes. Colors tend to go into the warm elements but in certain well-lit scenes, the colors do pop off the screen well enough.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track included has nice depth showcasing the battle sequences while also having good levels for the lower range including the dialogue coming through the center channel and the soundtrack/score making use of the front and rear speakers.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Alexander: The Ultimate Cut is supposed to be the final cut… the final FINAL cut, and even though I’m still not overly enamored with the film, I can appreciate the production and costume designs, some of the performances and the ambitiousness of the character and story. The Blu-ray released by Warner Brothers does have some OK features, and includes the theatrical cut in HD for the first time, and the video/audio transfers are both well done.