The best of the three documentaries included with the Troy DVD.
Since Troy is a film that is marketed on its battle scenes, it is important that they be well made, especially since vast looks at thousands of men fighting is fast becoming a cliché. The individual fight scenes, however, are so good that it makes up for the lengthy epic battle scenes where we sit through a lot of stuff that we have seen so many times before.
There is mention of the fact that the Iliad describes Hector's spear as being 5 1/2 meters long (!) which brings up some logistical problems in re-creating his fight scenes. While there was much creative liberty taken with the material due to a lack of historical knowledge, this is something that may have been difficult to get around, since it would be a deliberate deviation from the source material. Then again, this seems to me to be the kind of hyperbole often attached to Greek myth, such as the story of Achilles himself.
I found it interesting that they used rubber swords while shooting the film, such as in the scene where Achilles makes short work of Boagrius, one of my favorite scenes in the film. They show the original shot of that scene, before Achilles' sword was superimposed into it, which is another pretty impressive look at the special effects done on the movie.
Brad Pitt talks about how brutal the fighting was back then, but ironically they say that most of the injuries that were sustained, at least a substantial portion of them, did not kill, but allowed the person to die slowly. On second thought that's probably a lot of what Brad meant by brutal and is also why director Wolfgang Peterson wanted as much battle blood and gore as possible. They weren't trying to glorify it, just make it realistic.
Amazingly enough, the soldiers in the movie were portrayed by a lot of Bulgarians and Mexicans who were trained in just three weeks, having had no training whatsoever before that. This is also the documentary that goes into detail about how just as they were about to film the fight between Hector and Achilles a hurricane came through and wiped out the indestructible wall of Troy, so they had to rebuild the entire thing. But probably the most ironic thing in all three of these documentaries is that during shooting, Brad Pitt injured his Achilles tendon (!!). Reminds me of all of those freaky stories you hear about people dying during the making of the Exorcist or multiple people getting struck by lightning during the filming of The Passion of the Christ.
There are some great juxtapositions of the choreographers choreographing the fight scene between Achilles and Hector and the actual scene from the movie. I love it when they do things like that because it gives a very clear picture of how carefully and meticulously planned out the fight was. The film stays closely on topic, giving great insight into the filming and rehearsing of the great battle scenes from the film. It is a true behind the scenes look at how some of the fights from the movie were put together, and also tells some interesting stories about problems that they ran into while shooting, such as a hurricane blowing down the wall of Troy and the intense heat that they had to work in. Like the other two documentaries, I think this one deserved to be a little but longer, but is still well worth checking out.
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