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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.
*** 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.
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...
For a movie loosely based on a poem written thousands of years ago, the
director and screenwriter have done an excellent job in re-creating the
epic story and the ancient world on the screen, which was probably
quite a difficult task. The production is fantastic, visual effects are
great, and yet my opinion on Troy is divided in two: The movie is built
in such a way that we, the viewers, aren't entirely sure who are the
bad guys. Brad Pitt's Achilles is displayed as the star, the hero, and
yet he fights for the Greeks, who are displayed as brutal warriors
under the rule of a greedy tyrant, Agamemnon. In fact, the entire
Trojan War was started only because of the greed of the king of Sparta,
Menelaus. Paris, the prince of Troy (son of Priam, the king) took
Helen, Menelaus' wife, back to Troy with him after a peace meeting in
Sparta. This enraged Menelaus and so Agamemnon, his brother, rounded up
the entire Greek army to attack Troy and retrieve his wife. On the
other hand, the Trojans are sort of shown as the "good guys". Just
because of one mistake that Paris made, the Trojans now have to hold
back an attack of 50,000 Greeks, while loosing thousands of husbands,
sons and cousins in the process. Hector is displayed as a family man:
He doesn't want to go to war, he'd rather stay home with his wife and
newborn child, but he is loyal to Troy and must fight for her. This is
slightly different than the way the Trojan War had always been conveyed
to me: Helen did not run off with Paris, but Paris seduced her and
practically kidnapped her with him back to Troy. Hector was a big,
brutal warrior who had absolutely no problem with killing as many
people as he possibly could. I really liked the way the movie showed
the Trojans as the good guys and the Greeks as the evil, greedy
tyrants. It's definitely a fresh and original approach to the story.
Production-wise the movie is stunning. The costumes, the sets, and the weapons everything is top-notch, with excellent attention to details. The visuals are also stunning. The shot of Brad Pitt standing on the deck of a ship with the camera slowly zooming out, eventually revealing the entire Greek navy consisting of 1,000 ships is really a treat to the eye. The computer graphics are excellent. It's really hard to tell in the huge battle scenes which soldiers are computer graphics and which are extras, although you know that some of them must be CG because there are so many. The long shots of the city of Troy are also great eye candy. In all, the one thing this movie is especially excellent at is entertaining, and it is definitely a visually satisfying movie.
The acting is also pretty good. Brian Cox definitely stands out as the power-hungry Agamemnon. His acting is top-notch. Peter O'Toole is also good as Priam, the king of Troy. Eric Bana was great as Hector, although I don't think he physically matches the part. Brad Pitt wasn't as bad as I was worried he would be. In fact, his acting was quite good. Which brings me to my second opinion: While Brad Pitt's acting was quite good, I just don't think he fits the character of Achilles. It seems as if Brad Pitt wasn't entirely comfortable with Achilles' character, so he took it and dressed it over his own personality, which changed the character a bit. Physically, though, he looks perfect for the part. Eric Bana, on the other hand, is just the opposite. He truly captured the essence of the Hector character, and his acting is great, but I don't think that he physically matches the part. He's just kind of small and scrawny, while Hector is supposed to be taller and more muscular than Achilles, which is not how it seemed in the movie. It also seemed that his character was a bit too weak. He's supposed to be the greatest fighter on Earth, matched only by Achilles, and yet he struggled a bit just to kill Achilles' cousin, who had never even been in a battle before. When you look at how easily Achilles killed the giant soldier in the very beginning of the movie, it kind of makes Hector look far weaker than he's supposed to be. Also, while Agamemnon was supposed to be power-hungry and greedy, he was not hasty, and was considered to be one of the wisest kings. And yet, in the movie he makes very hasty and stupid decisions, which kind of lower his character to a stupid power-hungry oaf, while he was really quite smart. One character that I'm really happy about is Odysseus, played by Sean Bean. His character's essence was truly and perfectly captured: He's cunning, a good warrior and extremely smart. He constantly gives Achilles advice on how to approach Agamemnon, and is conveyed perfectly as Achilles' close friend. Odysseus also suggests various war strategies to Agamemnon, who is reluctant to listen. Now as much as I dislike Orlando Bloom, he actually pulls off the Paris character quite well, and fits the part of the weak, cowardly, naive pretty-boy prince perfectly.
All in all, Troy is definitely an entertaining movie, and the production is remarkable, but a few major historical inaccuracies, strange casting choices and a particularly cliché Hollywood ending lower my appreciation for the film.
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.
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
*** 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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Troy is an incredibly mediocre film. It neither offends nor inspires.
Instead it leaves you feeling like an opportunity's been wasted the
money is there, but the will and the talent are sadly missing.
Apart from the leaden script and nondescript direction, the film's main deficiency is Orlando Bloom. The man has always been a hopeless actor, but here he plumbs new depths, turning in a performance that is based entirely on puppy eyes, simpering looks and flat line delivery. The man is wholly incapable of emoting. Although, to be fair, he is lumbered with a near impossible part the snivelling Paris. Even the most talented actor would have a hard time bringing such a wretched person to life. But seeing as Bloom is among the least talented actors in Hollywood, it makes the character all the more unbearable.
The most infuriating thing about Paris is the way he stumbles through the story, causing nothing but trouble, and yet he ends up killing the mighty Achilles and smelling of roses. Perhaps in more talented hands, this would have been fine, but here it makes you question why you watched the film. This pathetic loser condemns thousands of people to death (including his brother and father) so that a blonde strumpet can play with his winkie. Brilliant!
It's hard to pick a single scene that had me baying for Paris' blood (there are so many), but his most cowardly act comes during his fight with Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson). He's meant to fight to the death, ignorantly thinking that this skirmish will prevent further bloodshed. But even with his honour and the lives of his countrymen at stake, he runs away like a big baby and hides behind his brother. What a pathetic excuse for a human being. I share Menelaus' outrage when he exclaims to Helen that this is what she left him for.
And the scenes between Paris and Helen are nauseating. The two actors have zero chemistry and both have the screen presence of a couple of fruit flies. Do we care about their all-consuming love? Of course not. It's played like a couple of kids who have just discovered that their genitals are there for more than secreting waste material.
And speaking of Helen, isn't she supposed to be the most beautiful woman in the world? Instead we get your average foreign starlet with too much mascara and a larger than average schnoz. Sure any man in his right mind would tap it, but start a war over her? Forget about it.
In fact, a lot of the guys in the film are just as pretty as Helen. Just take the numerous ass shots we get of Brad Pitt. Then you have Achilles' cousin. He's your typical blonde-haired dreamboat. And is it any wonder that the only thing that truly enrages Achilles is the death of his beloved cousin, a cousin who he frequently engages in some light-hearted sword fighting with? But even though the film fetishes the male form (as well as a zillion shots of Pitt's toned butt, we also get to see an oiled Orlando Bloom he's completely hairless of course), it's strictly a torso and arse film no tits or willies.
But while the film fails spectacularly in terms of romance, character development and inter-personal relationships, it succeeds when it comes to action. The fight between Hector and Achilles, in particular, is superb. With lots of close contact and athleticism, it thankfully resists the urge to become overly fanciful. Instead you get something that feels pure and believable.
Another excellent fight scene is the one between Hector and Ajax. Again things are kept simple and the sequence benefits from it. I also enjoyed the fight between Paris and Menelaus the camera in the helmet is an excellent way of generating fear and claustrophobia but unfortunately its somewhat spoiled by Paris' cowardly actions. As is the final sequence where Achilles is slain. Here you have a character you're finally starting to like and he's cut down by a skinny imbecile with a bad curly haircut.
That reminds me, what's up with the haircuts in this film? All the men seem to have these weird semi-mullets Sean Bean, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom especially. And then you have Brian Cox and Brendan Gleeson who seem to have acquired Gary Oldman's bizarre tit-head hairstyle from Francis Ford Coppola's version of Dracula. It's actually rather distracting I spent a lot of time looking at people's heads; the haircuts here are worse than the ones you see on a football pitch.
But as bad as his haircut is, I did enjoy Brian Cox in this film. Sure he's hammier than a ham sandwich, but at least he seems to be having some fun with it. I also think that Eric Bana is pretty damn good the film suffers badly when his character dies; Hector is the heart and soul of the movie. However, I think Pitt's performance is less successful. He's great in the action scenes, but everywhere else he seems out of place.
However, I like the idea of Achilles being a celebrity, a man who wants to further his own image at the expense of everything else. But as it is, this element of the story, like all the other ideas, isn't developed enough. The film aims low and scores small.
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