11/23/2004: Thought for the Day:
Call me old fashioned, but I like my epic heroes to have some complexity, internal conflict, tragic flaws, a nice helping of moral ambivalence. It worked for Homer, right? Alexander fits the bill nicely -- bold, charismatic Hellenistic culture hero on the one hand, murderous pederastic megalomaniac drunkard on the other.
Some rather modern themes of propaganda mixed in there as well. Alexander justified his imperialism as spreading freedom and high (Hellenistic) culture to the benighted victims of Eastern despotism, but wound up a tyrant himself. Remakes of historical epics often reflect contemporary tensions, and I'd be surprised if a director as sharp as Stone doesn't take advantage of those themes.
Hopefully he'll have a more complex vision than the current American action formula, where the hero wins audience sympathy by being victimized for the first fifteen minutes of the film and then soaks the screen in blood for the next hour and a half. Righteous killing, there's nothing like it -- combines the entitlement of being a victim and the fun of being a sadistic bully. No one who followed American action movies should have been surprised that we would use 9/11 as an excuse to leave a trail of blood and wreckage.
--Marcus Stanley [on the film "Alexander"]
Len on 11.23.04 @ 06:11 AM CST