Alexander the Great is the stuff of legend when it comes to ancient military history. Armed with youth, cunning and a brilliant tactical mind, his thirteen-year reign led to the formation of one of the largest empires the world has ever seen. The aptly titled Alexander the Great crafts the highlights of his extraordinary story with grand scope and meticulous research.
Alexanderќs reign was marked by nearly constant battle. Utilizing all the skills and drives he inherited from his father Phillip II, Alexander set out to overtake the Persian Empire in 334 BC in what proved to be one of the most daunting military campaigns in history. He was only 20 at the time.
The film features a collage of impressive computer animations, artistic renderings, and detailed maps that effectively break down each battle along the way. We are witness to both Alexander's strategic brilliance and insatiable bloodlust. One such anecdote of the latter involves one of his most treasured soldiers and friends - Cleitus the Black – whom he disposed of during a drunken quarrel.
The film outlines Alexander's astounding prowess on the battlefield, including the unique formations of his armies and the escalated staging of his attacks one city and region at a time. While the filmmakers are mostly concerned with the intricacies of Alexander's battles, they also pay careful attention to the psychology of the man - his paranoia, determination and off-putting arrogance. We learn of his marriage to Roxana, his untimely death at the age of 32 from suspicious causes, and the brutal fates that awaited his closest confidantes in the wake of his reign. At the time of his death, he was undefeated and conquered lands from Greece to Pakistan.
The film deals in a complicated history that's filled with dozens of figures who could all demand a documentary of their own. It's to the film's credit that all of these characters, locations and details are made digestible by the remarkable scripting of the narration.
Alexander the Great is a tremendously watchable and instructive journey through a thrilling and brutal period of world history. Military history buffs will be especially taken by it.