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An excellent look at the history of the real Troy.
15 February 2005 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

At the risk of revealing the sheer extent of my ignorance of Greek history, I must admit that before I saw this documentary I wasn't sure if Troy was a real place or if it was mythical, like Atlantis. I know that there is some debate as to whether Achilles ever lived, but this documentary gives great insight into what relatively little is known about the real city of Troy.

I love how they talk about how they didn't know much about what Greece looked like at the time, so they combined research with imagination which is really the only way it could have been done. But they glamorized it because it is an epic film about heroes, which to me is a satisfactory justification for straying from reality. It is not completely historically accurate, but we don't know much about the history so I see no problem with taking some liberties, providing that any real information known is adapted into the movie whenever possible.

They talk about the guy who actually excavated Troy, even showing footage of the ruins of the real city, which is a truly amazing sight. Some of the research for what Troy looked like was done at the British Museum, which I happen to know is a great place for doing research like that because I have been there and the amount of history collected in that building is astonishing. There are so many statues and other things that would have been wonderful as props in the movie if not for their great historical value and the difficulty that would have been involved in stealing them.

An incredible amount of work and detail also went into designing the square of Troy. And not only did a hurricane destroy the entire wall of Troy so that they had to rebuild it, but they were initially shooting in Morocco and had to move production to Mexico, on the other side of the world, because of the impending war in Iraq. I always find it interesting to hear about the logistical problems like these that come up when making a movie, particularly on location.

There are some weird quirks in the editing, such as jolting transitional sequences and a quick shot of a trailer that has "Living The Dream" spray-painted on the side of it, which appears out of nowhere and literally for about five frames, barely enough time to note that there are words on it, much less to read them. I hate it when these things are put together like that. These documentaries promise a look behind the scenes but are cut together so fast that you hardly get a good look at anything. If you want to show a lot of different things, make the documentary longer, not the shots shorter.

There is some great stuff about the making of the Trojan horse and the way the city was made to burn, as well as the revelation that, while it seems reasonably clear that Troy was destroyed by enemy attack, it's possible that there may have been more than one war. Lots of interesting historical facts that really made me want to learn more.


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