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I finally got to see this movie in the bargain theaters here in El Paso
on Labor Day. I originally hadn't thought much about the movie, but as
time went on it had left the regular theaters here in town and I
realized that I'd wished I'd gone to see it. I remember hearing several
outside critics blasting the movie as horrible and wanted to judge for
myself. I'm very glad I finally saw this movie.
This movie is not the usual Clash of the Titans/Jason and the Argonauts type of movie where the gods are constantly shown and portrayed as more important and powerful than the lowly humans. In fact, this movie completely ignores the so-called gods and instead places the focus where it belongs -- on the warriors themselves. I have studied the Iliad as well as other stories surrounding the mythical Trojan War since my days as an elementary school geek obsessed with mythology and Dungeons & Dragons. Instead of being targeted toward that audience this film demystifies the Trojan War and treats it in a manner in which it could have actually happened. We see that the elders who continually refer to their so-called gods come across as fools. One of the most telling lines is when Hector (Eric Bana) refers to the fact that Apollo did not strike down Achilles (Brad Pitt) for desecrating the statue. It is very telling that Hector seems to doubt the gods he has been taught to worship.
I have been a longtime critic of Brad Pitt as a second-tier talent who became famous only because of his looks, but in this film he surprised me. He is the TRUE star of the film. Achilles is easily the most interesting and entertaining character. I applaud Brad Pitt's effort in making his character a tragic hero. Achilles acknowledges that he is NOT the son of a goddess and is not immortal or invulnerable. The movie basically shows us how a rumor can blossom into a legend unto itself. Achilles' legend BECOMES immortal. He even refers to this in my favorite scene when he is inspiring his men and starts the invasion heavily outnumbered and still triumphs. Later in the same scene he scoffs at the so-called gods the Greeks and Trojans worship by decapitating the statue. I found this scene symbolic of the movie itself. The gods are nothing to both the characters and audience.
Instead of supernatural powers and impossible feats we're treated to realism. Even Achilles' death is more realistic than in the myth. In the myth Paris does kill Achilles with an arrow, but because he has no battle skills his hand is actually guided by Apollo.
If there was one thing I did not like in this film it was the transformation of Paris into some kind of hero. Paris was a coward in the original myth and I saw no reason to transform him into an overnight hero in the movie. I guess Orlando Bloom fans wouldn't be able to bear seeing him as the bad guy and were given the uninspired transformation of Paris into a better archer than Robin Hood.
While this movie was nowhere near the epic masterpiece that the producers had hoped or that it was advertised as, it did not deserve the bad publicity it received from critics. I applaud the makers of this film and look forward to buying it on DVD.
"Troy" (2004) Dir. Wolfgang Petersen I, like so many others, was
expecting A LOT out of "Troy" when I headed along to opening night and
sat in the dark cinema, watching the action unfold. Initially, I didn't
think as much of the movie as I now do. I gave it a 7/10 on first
viewing, but I knew I had to see it again, it is just one of those
films that demands multiple viewings.
So I saw it again for History class (since it's not historically accurate, perhaps that wasn't the best idea). And I bought the DVD.
And look what happened.
I strongly suggest to anyone who was looking forward to "Troy" in cinemas to rent or buy the DVD and give it another chance in your home. It is truly a much richer, perhaps even exciting experience, as your expectations have been lowered, and often this makes a movie-watching experience better.
Anyone who is not tired of the two-huge-armies-face-off battles we've been seeing in "The Lord of the Rings" films and now many other films following in that trilogy's footsteps will sure love the battles in "Troy". "Troy" takes it's battle sequences very seriously and while they have an epic grandeur look about them, at the heart of the battle - men are dying, men are killing other men. It's not all about kicking ass in this film. The battle sequences are a little more graphic than you might expect, and they are certainly brutal.
Brad Pitt, looking absolutely incredible here (the months of training sure paid off), shoulders the movie with much confidence and adds layers to his arrogant, self-centred Achilles. It's refreshing that Pitt, though technically the central hero of the piece, plays the character in a less likable way than you might expect. Achilles is unpredictable and dangerous, he was "born to end lives". As the greatest warrior in history, he is most definitely convincing.
Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom play more emotional heroes, and while Bana manages to give Hector an awesome kick-ass edge, strong nobility and adds many dimensions to his heroic part, Bloom doesn't quite handle the job as well. I do not dismiss Bloom's part in the film to be the "pussy" as so many have put it, but in emotional scenes, Bloom simply falls flat. His lines ("I'll hunt deer and rabbit, we can live off the land!") are often laughable due to bad delivery. It is more likely Bloom was put in this part for his looks rather than his talent, which is still in question by yours truly. I did like, though, that Bloom had a more realistic touch, the scene in which he faces Menelaus and fails to defeat him, running back to his brother, is nerve-wracking and powerful, not all men were great butt-kicking heroes, even back then, so it's good to see that put into the film, even if he does play the more "pussy" role.
One of my main complaints about the film the first time around was the unnecessary relationship between Briseis and Achilles. With more viewings, I have come to appreciate this subplot a lot more. As Achilles puts it, she gave him peace in a time of violence and war. Achilles is a character so often covered in other men's blood, constantly killing and fighting, that Briseis allows for Pitt to show the more sensitive side is actually useful to the character's development. Their final scene together is very emotional and the actors have genuine chemistry.
Wolfgang Petersen was criticised for being too much of a claustrophobic director to take on one of the biggest films ever made, but he handles the epic, large scale of the film nicely, if perhaps maybe not using as many swooping, stunning shots as he could. I certainly would've liked to have seen more of the set of Troy exposed. In the inevitable fire-fuelled finale it is showcased brilliantly, but more of these kinds of sequences would've been useful for Petersen to shut his critics up. He does a good job with the film, rooting the battles in genuine emotion and intelligence, and giving it a distinctive, memorable atmosphere and artistic look.
Perhaps as a historical piece, "Troy" isn't the film you're looking for. But for sheer entertainment value, it is one of the best films of 2004. Again, I urge anyone who was disappointed by the film to rent/buy it on DVD and give it another spin, it's not a decision you'll regret, I know I didn't.
Troy is an excellent movie. For any war/history buff there is enough here to
feed upon to overlook any flaws.
First, in response to all the Gladiator lovers who said on the boards that there is no one to cheer for in Troy, I say they are idiots. Gladiator was about a single protagonist. Homer's Iliad was always a complicated, ensemble story. The audience has to deal with a lot of main characters and THIS IS A GOOD THING. Its the Iliad, not Batman.
There was a complaint about the film not having a good side to relate to. This one irritates me. Real life seldom has the simplistic good guy vs. bad guy dichotomy. This in my mind makes Troy that much more believable. When events unfold I actually believed they could happen. Japanese cinema is so good at times precisely because we don't know who the good guy is. The question is simply irrelevant.
The script was written with a mind to keep the important details of the original story intact but to make it as realistic as possible. The gods are there but only in spirit. They don't get directly involved in the action like the original. I think this is a good thing as well. Troy looks like historical recreation rather than a literal translation of the poem. In one scene I thought there was an unlikely event and researched only to find it actually is in the Iliad. When the writer was asking for too much, he was in fact being true to the text. My bad.
OK, visually this film is amazing. Not just the army special effects but the sets and scenery are all beautiful. The costuming is first rate and feels very authentic. Remember, we are going back 3200 years. Quite an accomplishment.
The violence is likewise beautiful. Blood and guts galore, but interestingly it is both on the battlefield AND in single combat. A fight fan will appreciate the attention to detail in the combatants' moves. I had never seen a shield wielded so realistically on film. Spear and sword are given very realistic treatments as well.
Brad Pitt is a good actor. No question about that. Here he has a few moments where he seems out of place, a pretty boy in a soldier's world. But the combat scenes with him are more than enough to make up for that. It has already been discussed how much bigger he is than in Fight Club. The womens will have plenty to look at. His character is complicated and this is also true to the Iliad. Brad Pitt does this internal conflict lots of justice. His actions in the film really seem appropriate. I never asked, like I do in other films, "Why did he do that?" But this is not Brad Pitt's film. It's Eric Bana's.
Eric Bana was amazing. If Achilles was complex, then Bana's Hector is even more so. I had only seen Bana in Black Hawk Down and The Hulk and while BHD was good, there wasn't much for his character to do but be a soldier. The Hulk was so bad I wrote him off completely, blaming his acting for not saving a horrible script. But here in Troy I have new-found respect. He is the main character in the film if you judge by acting power. Lots of emotional struggling going on here that Bana takes on like a pro. He will join this generation's acting elite if he finds more roles like this.
The rest of the cast is good enough with a special note for Peter O'Toole and Brian Cox. Their lines are well delivered and their characters are believable.
The writing is good as far as plot development goes but I would take a few points away for some of the modern vocabulary. "Stop playing with me," the pretty Helen tells Paris. "Playing" should have been "joking" in that scene since I associate playing with modern English and even worse, with modern hip hop English. I shouldn't be getting that feeling in an ancient epic.
Well well,.................. expected the worse because of hype, but i
was gladly surprised . Screenplay , direction and most of all Brad
Pitt, Eric Bana, Brian Cox, and Peter o'Toole were completely on top of
their game, even Olando Bloom as the love sick coward Paris was very
Fight scenes were not overdone, and the love scenes were part of but didn't completely rule the story of Troy which I also liked. If any thing else Troy will go down as having one of the most impressive fight scenes of any film in history. The fight between Hector and Achilles is reason enough to watch Troy alone...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wolfgang Peterson's Troy is an infuriatingly mixed bag by no means the disaster most critics say but not the masterpiece it could have been.
Based (somewhat loosely) on Homer's The Illiad, Troy tells of the ten year siege of Troy caused by Prince Paris illicit romance with Helen of Sparta the face that launched a thousand ships. And those thousand ships, battles, and numerous special effects certainly please the eye. But huge battles do not a great film make. Fortunately, the Illiad is such a superb story it's virtually impossible to mess it up completely.
Most of the cast acquit themselves well, despite mispronouncing certain names. Brad Pitt makes a fine Achilles, Brian Cox a suitably scheming King Agamemnon, and Orlando Bloom an appropriately cowardly Paris. However, all are totally outclassed by Peter O'Toole's King Priam, an outstanding performance. In fact, it made me wish David Lean had directed The Illiad in the 1960's and cast O'Toole as Achilles. The only actor who even comes close to his brilliance is Eric Bana, who strikes a suitably tragic note as Hector.
On the other hand, Diane Kruger does not convince as Helen, and I am forced to agree with Empire magazine her face might launch a rubber dingy or two, but not a thousand ships.
Also, James Horner's music score is rather pedestrian which is hardly surprisingly considering he had very little time to write it. Apparently some brainless studio executive thought it was a good idea to replace Gabriel Yared's reportedly marvellous original score because it wasn't `thumping enough'.
Why on earth anyone thought it a good idea to eliminate the supernatural elements of the tale I will never know. Integral to The Illiad are the gods and their petty squabbling, and Achilles, whose identity as a son of the gods is never explained. Those with no previous knowledge of Greek mythology will be wondering why on earth an arrow in the heel kills him.
Overlong, overblown, and ultimately taking itself way too seriously, the film is worth watching for a single brilliant scene where Peter O'Toole begs Brad Pitt for the body of his dead son. In that moment the film ascends, temporarily, to the level of the great Greek tragedy.
But it's an inspiring tale of men(!) at war in ancient times. The movie,
albeit long, moves along a good pace, with mercifully brief romantic and
philosophical breaks between the combat scenes. This movie is action, with
more than a little thought put into accurately presenting the realities of
the tactics used in Greek warfare. Troy is also to be congratulated for not
over-armoring the cast like previous Hollywood productions and staying true
to the lightness of armor prevalent during the historical
Lovers of Homer and Greek mythology may be disappointed but keep in mind this film is about the Trojan War, not the Iliad. This war is epic in scale and isn't about poetry.
Still, it would be great if Sean Bean were given the opportunity to play Odysseus again. Although not on screen much in Troy, his performance is edgy and true to the legends of the cunning king of Ithaca.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Now I'm fully aware that most film adaptations cannot relay all the
themes and as a result, never truly live up to the book. However this
one is something else!!! Best I can describe Troy is that it's a
bastardised version of the Iliad. It's puzzling why they even tried to
squeeze the epic into a feature length film in the first place.
Hopefully we'll see the Iliad made into a great series one day, as all
films and mini-series thus far have been major disappointments.
However the film does have some redeeming features despite it's many floors. But for starters (I do apologise) I'm going to rant about the things I really hate about this film first just to vent my disappointment!!! I don't want to spoil the plot for you if you haven't yet seen the film so instead I'm going to mention some of the great things that never made it in from the Iliad.
***this section contains some plot clues and spoilers***
First off, Menelaus! The character is completely different from Homer's original epic, to the point which makes me want to cry... for those who have read the Iliad, one of the greatest moments for me was when Menelaus fights like a lion standing guard other Patroclus' lifeless body. And other moments when he's shown to be honourable, like during the duel with Paris and saying he would rather leave Helen than risk the lives of so many of the Argives.
Also Telamonian Ajax, his character butchered with poor casting and a premature death at the hands of hector. What about when he rescues Achilles' body from the Trojans!!!
Another potentially great role hampered by poor scripting and bad casting was Nestor (which should have been Anthony Hopkins) and Diomedes and his 'Aristeia' that never made it. Not to mention Achilles never lived to see the wooden horse built let alone use it to infiltrate Troy/Ilium. Don't get me started on Orlando Bloom!!!
Yet despite all this Troy has its moments and some good performances and cast choice. Pitt as Achilles was the good obvious choice as with Bana as Hector. The rest of the cast did the job... The Myrmidon beach landing was quite entertaining and their armour was stylist if a little too fantasy inspired for my tastes.
I didn't really want to put people off as the film was reasonably entertaining. Just felt like I needed a rant, being a bit of a purist having loved studying Homer's Epics and other Greek tragedies.
In the overall scheme of making movies based upon classical literature, this is one of the worst attempts I've seen in my 63 years. The screenwriter and director, and ultimately the producers, took "The Iliad" and tossed it into the movie blender that is Big Money. Then they pressed the "liquify" button. It amazes me that the director of this movie directed "Das Boot". So, I supposed some hard examples are in order, so here's a few: (1) "The Iliad" has nothing whatsoever to do with the Trojan Horse; (2)Achilleus, probably one of the most complex characters in all literature, is not a hybrid between Conan The Barbarian, a Zen Buddhist and the father, on "Married w/Children; (3)The "Atriadae", Meneleus and Agamemnon, had an entirely different fate than that in the movie, and without those fates, the entire sense of the story has vanished; (4)With the possible exception of O'Toole's Priam, all the characters essences were stood on their heads, and (5)The Theme(s) of the epic was utterly lost. This movie was awful. Just awful.
Troy could have been a great epic film... if wouldn't have been for
some really disrespectful and unnecessary alterations that they did to
the immortal story, the great Iliad written by Homer, and considered a
masterpiece of literature through thousands and thousands of years...
but this guys here just modified it like if all this wouldn't matter...
Note: Spoilers coming!
Yeah! I am talking about Menelaus killed cowardly by Hector, or Agamemnon killed by Briseis, or Achilles being the cousin of Patroclus, or Hector killing one of the Ayaces, and where is the other Ajax, Diodemes, and all the other Heroes??? If it would not have been for these alterations to the original story, which really disturbed be (if you ever read the Iliad, you'll understand me)and which i really regard as unnecessary, and the usual Hollywood crap added to most American films (a good dose of machismo, exaggeration, historical inaccuracy, etc) This could have been a great film but unfortunately it is not...
But this movie is also far away from being a terrible film. The director and the actors did a nice job, Brad Pitt acts very good as usual, The guy that plays Hector does it in an amazing way too, taking most of the sympathy of the public. The movie is exciting and the battles are good, my favorite scene is before Achilles fights Hector, and he repeats the same line that in Homer's book "There are no pacts between men and lions"!! Another thing that I quiet liked and that was different that the book, is that in the film the GODS don't have much to do with the story, while in the Iliad they are central... but that's not too bad, I didn't miss Zeus or Apollo in the film, and I think this is a smart move for the film, because including the Gods would have been quiet difficult for a film like this.
What i missed was the respect for some important aspects of the story, which i mentioned before, and which were removed unscrupulously ... It could have been and immortal epic, but those omissions and alterations are unforgivable, and bring my given note from 10/10 to 7/10
To confess having fantasies about Brad Pitt is a pretty tough admission for an heterosexual to make. But what can I tell you? Maybe is that famous extra something that everybody talks about and makes a star a star. It crosses that barrier. It pulls you into unknown sensual and emotional territory. Brando had it in spades, Montgomery Clift, Gary Cooper, James Dean of course and in more recent times, Tom Cruise, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor and Billy Crudup. Women fell in love with Garbo, Dietrich, Katharine and Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Christie, Charlotte Rampling, Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Julia Roberts and very very recently Natalie Portman. But Brad Pitt has, singlehandedly, redefined the concept. He is the only reason to go out, get in the car, find parking, buy a ticket, popcorn and get into a theatre to see "Troy" If you liked epics in the "Jupiter's Darling" style you may enjoy this. But if you don't, go all the same, we want to keep Brad Pitt in business.
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