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Blu-ray Review Alexander the Great Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by matt-hough, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    benbess and PMF like this.
  2. Virgoan

    Virgoan Supporting Actor

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    I am looking forward to this one. I have to admit I recorded this film off TCM a few years bak and just could not get into it, so I dumped if off my DVR. I've rather regretted it because I've read some positive things about the film.

    I'm a fan of Burton, I like some Mario Nascimbene from time to time, and I appreciate the standards Twilight Time uses in selecting the movies they put out.

    I don't know what rewards may be waiting for me, but your review gives me some hope!
     
  3. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    To me, Alexander the Great is one of those "the sum of the parts is greater than the whole" type of movies. Matt's review is very good. It is a sort of "dry" epic. The music score by Nascimbene seems to want to sound "authentic", so it eschews complex melodies in favor of a somewhat primitive and unmelodious sound. It was shot in dry and dusty climates that also emphasize primitive and ancient over spectacle. Some of the effects, such as those involving burning/sacked cities are pretty cheezy. the end is rather abrupt as it wraps up in montage the final less glorious campaigns. Then, he dies.

    I mainly like it for Burton. He excelled in playing ruthless and cynical people and hits the right notes for Alexander. His blond wig doesn't bother me all that much. Many of the men in the film wear similar wigs. I would probably have put him in something different, but I can look past it. Burton's haughty patrician style and brilliant voice and diction contrast nicely with the rougher, less refined style of Frederic March. I think it's a pretty good film, and it is certainly intelligent. but It misses being a great epic. I am still glad to have it on Blu-ray from TT.
     
  4. Ernest

    Ernest Supporting Actor

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    Burton is excellent in portraying Alexander and the director does show Alexander's strategy in moving down the Mediterranean coast into Egypt. On his way winning battle after battle. Unfortunately, neither movie shows Alexander's greatest victory over the battle of the island Tyre. The few battle scenes are poor Oliver Stone did a much better job in showing the Greeks using their frontal assault 16 x 16 with fighters using up to 18 foot long spears. Alexander showed battle after battle a smaller highly motivated well skilled fighting force can defeat a much larger enemy who is very disorganized. The Persian army relied on foot soldiers and chariots with some fighters on horseback. Alexander felt chariots were not an effective fighting force because they were not as mobile as horse back and the required a driver. Alexander saw the driver as a wasted soldier his great fighting force was his 7000 fighters on horse back.
     
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  5. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Thank you for verifying that this is in stereo. There is an annoying trend now of labeling everything "2.0" with no indication of whether it is 2 channel mono or stereo.
     
  6. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    The "battle" scenes look to me to be the initial rehearsals and not the actual intended takes. Very low energy!:lol:
     
  7. skylark68

    skylark68 Screenwriter

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    I remember watching one of the battle scenes in this film in World History my sophomore year of high school (can't remember if it was on VHS or laserdisc). It's definitely a "low energy" kind of film, but I still enjoy it, and am glad I picked up my copy from Twilight Time. Loads better than the ancient DVD I had for so long. I remember having this one and the 300 Spartans on DVD (Richard Egan was really great in an otherwise lackluster film) and doing a double feature on occasion.
     
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  8. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    Yes, definite improvement, and glad to have it.
     
  9. Message #9 of 16 Jun 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
    rdimucci

    rdimucci Stunt Coordinator

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    I couldn't agree more with this comment. Unfortunately, the "stereo" description is still inadequate. The original film was produced in 4-channel discrete sound (i.e., three front channels and a rear mono surround). The laserdisc of the film was labeled as being in Dolby Surround, which matrixed the four channels into two so that they could be decoded back into four by a Dolby processor. So, is this Blu-ray in two channel front stereo only, or is it in two-channel matrixed surround sound?
     
  10. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    On my system the Blu-ray decoded into matrix surround (DPL and DTS Neo) and sounded fine.
     
  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Can you give an example of a 4-channel discrete soundtrack that has been remixed into stereo only? Every mixdown I've ever encountered always plays back properly as pro-logic surround.
     
  12. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    How or why the original 4-track discrete got to this 2 channel stereo I don't know. For the time, I think the only other track would have been mono optical, but correct me if I am wrong. I think any stereo track can be run through a matrix decoder and you will get a surround output. If your player has bitstream and lpcm output, you would choose lpcm for this purpose. I think the varying results depends on the encoded metadata flags at the time of mastering.
     
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  13. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    The mixdown would likely have occurred in the 1980s. Hundreds of discrete soundtracks were mixed down during this era for use on home video formats such as laserdisc and VHS.
     
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  14. Message #14 of 16 Apr 12, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    There are some good elements in this one, but somehow it just doesn't come together as well as I wish it did. Matt Hough in his review effectively analyzes the main problem:

    "Writer-director Robert Rossen has used a rather patchwork technique for his script fashioning scenes that are sometimes only seconds long and occasionally ending in blackouts as a means of seguing into another shot. That technique has made the characterizations sketchy with the viewer never comfortably familiar enough with Alexander’s surrounding cast of characters. Even the major force in his life – his mother – drifts into and out of scenes staying on the sidelines and not letting us into her feverish brain as she plots ways to gain power for her son and thusly for herself. All of the coterie of warriors who form Alexander’s entourage are simply there behind him and are rarely identified and certainly not explored for their feelings, their loyalty, or their own desires...."


    Anyway, although it has its own issues, I like Oliver Stone's extended version of the story of Alexander much better.
     
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  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I do, too, though it has its own set of problems.
     
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  16. PatrickDA

    PatrickDA Second Unit

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    I'd like to know where they cut out the thirty-to-forty minutes...the beginning, the middle, the end? Is the original script out there?
     

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