Alexander vs. Troy
This will be a slightly different type of review. I'll review two films at the same time. I saw them both the same weekend and drew many similarities. They also were released at the same time.
Troy vs. Alexander
You know what? This is stupid. "Troy" was so much better in almost every way. In "Alexander," Colin Farrell takes his army across Asia conquering region after region. Unfortunately, we never see the conquering. There is a good battle in the beginning, and then after that, its whining and in-fighting among his army and friends. Betrayal and skull-duggery; with all these weird flash-backs to his drunk and often abusive, one-eyed father (Kilmer), to the conversations of power with his snake-charming, devious mother. Even the beginning battle is not that great. It's so huge, Stone is forced to give you written cues as to where you are in the battle (ie, north flank, west flank, center convergence, etc.), and I had no idea really what was going on. Near the end, a neat battle against the elephant (which they have never seen before) warriors ensues, but it is cut very short. Also, the texture turns from "normal" to a grainy inverse of the color pallette. It reminded me of cheesy, early 80's music videos that were trying to be artistic at the time. This was just annoying and boring. It could've been so much more. Alexander himself was not portrayed as much of a hero that the audience wants to see. Instead, he's portrayed merely as an indecisive, sexually confused, big kid who is suddenly thrust into power and who wants adventure, so he leads his distrusting army across the globe for no other reason than to quench Alender's weird obsession. As James Berardinelli puts it, "it was a three hour long miscalculation."
"Troy" on the other hand, was great and I really enjoyed myself. Several battles occur throughout; some are epic in scale, others are one-on-one. Brad Pitt plays Achilles. The greatest warrior the world has ever known. He kicks some major ass throughout; including a mano y mano fight to the death with Hector (Eric Bana), the Trojans general and greatest warrior in front of both armies. Although I know the basic story of how the Romans battled the Trojans (the big wooden horse), I was not prepared for how cool Achilles was, and the sheer ferociousness of the multiple battles, sneak attacks and emotional depth. Unlike in "Alexander," I actually cared about the characters (on both sides of the battle) and hoped they could all win. Of course we know they won't. There were reasons for why they were doing what they were doing. For love, for honor, for destiny, for passion, etc. Everything was just put together so much better. The story made more sense, the story was far more interesting and the reason I rented both films, the battles, were much better, much more diverse and more frequent in "Troy."
I recommend seeing Troy if you're in the mood for a lot of great fun, battles and a heartfelt story-line. If you want irrelevant dialogue, weird philosophical discussions and some strange, boring fights about nothing, "Alexander" is the film is for you.