I will preface this with the pronouncement that Oliver Stone has made some really great films: JFK, Natural Born Killers, Platoon, Wall Street; I’ve even heard good things about his most recent film, Savages. That being said, his ill-advised sword and sandals anti-epic Alexander was not one of those great films. Yet we have been gifted with not one, not two, but THREE versions of Alexander, each less intelligible than the last. Well, brace yourselves folks, because Oliver Stone claims that he’s going to release cut number four.
This announcement comes to us via The Film Stage, who are also predictably risible about Stone’s re-cut. We also have an extensive comment from Stone himself, to whit:
“On Alexander, I released a shorter version [in theaters] because of Warner Brothers issues. And I [was] also rushed. [When] I released the director’s cut – it wasn’t called a ‘director’s cut’. It was called ‘The Final Cut’ because [earlier] there was a rushed director’s cut that I was responsible for. My third version three years later in 2007 was called ‘A Final Cut’ and I actually added forty some odd minutes – which I think makes the film better. [I didn’t go back] for money. I just did it because I didn’t feel I had finished the movie, and I felt like I was rushed… It took three years [for me] to fully understand [Alexander]. I’m going to go back next year actually. I’ve been asked by Warner Brothers because they did so well with ‘The Final Cut’. They actually sold more than a million copies. They’ve asked me to go back next year and do a fourth version.
Frankly, it’s a movie about history and I just feel like I can add something more. I wouldn’t do it otherwise… I don’t need more footage. I want to cut it down now because I added too much. I want it to come back a little bit. There’s some trimming [needed]. Have you ever heard of Abel Gance and Napoleon? Coppola actually brought back a version in 1980 at Radio City Music Hall. Huge, black and white, silent movie and it worked. It was magic. Gance had like thirteen versions of the film by the time he died because it was done in triptych in those days. They did three screens. This version that he did was unbelievable. I’m not saying I’m going to have thirteen [versions of Alexander], but I just think it’s important to me, this film. DVD has given it that second life because all the people that have seen it, that million people adds up to a huge different base and they get it.”
I’m not entirely certain what to take from that, except that Stone just compared Alexander with Abel Gance’s Napoleon, widely considered one of the greatest epic films ever made. The cinephile in me is crying.
So I’m not exactly on board with this one. Oliver Stone would do much better to try to return to his superb 90s form and to be honest, I would rather watch a trilogy of Uwe Boll films than sit through another cut of Alexander.