written by Homer and David Benioff
directed by Wolfgang Petersen
starring, wow, Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, Brian Cox and Peter O'Toole
review by Stephen Notley
The original book The Iliad was written 3000-odd years ago in an era when the line between history and myth was… well, there wasn't one. Achilles' mother is a goddess, f'rexample, and the sequel The Odyssey features a hero going up against cyclopes and sirens. But the Troy-makers didn't want to do a fantasy movie. Oh, no, they wanted to be realistic, to sideline the magical stuff and tell the story as though it was *history*. Okay, cool. It worked for Lord of the Rings. Which would be fine except, wow, do people is this movie ever have terrible reasons for doing things. There's a huge disconnect between the epicness and heroicness the movie thinks it's about and what it's actually depicting.
Let's start with Orlando Bloom as Paris, the
whiny-behind-the-ears Trojan prince who kicks off the whole affair by
and then stealing Helen, the wife of the Spartan General with whom he
brother Hector have just signed a peace deal. That's it for the peace
for what? We're told they're in love and I suppose because of Orlando's
whatever-it-is accent we're supposed to believe it and not notice that
of them come off as a couple of irresponsible spoiled American kids.
On the Greek side we've got Brad Pitt as Achilles, the super-warrior. His problem is he thinks the Greek King Agamemnon is a jerk, which he's right to do because Agamemnon is played by noted screen asshole Brian Cox, jowly bad guy of X2, Rob Roy, Manhunter, The Bourne Identity, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Achilles doesn't really want to fight in this stupid war but unfortunately somebody told him his name would live forever if he fought in this battle so he comes along and sits around sulkily dissing the king and occasionally killing people -- a lot like Russell Crowe's Maximus in Gladiator, come to think of it. Oh, and he falls in love.
In between the two we have Hulk's Eric Bana as Hector, the only half decent guy of the bunch of them. Hector's big mistake is taking his whiny brother's yap about love seriously rather than smacking him and turning the ship around, and from then on he's stuck having to deal with everybody's crap for the rest of the movie. Bana carries what he can of this movie (I just wish he'd brought or had been allowed to bring a little of that pissed-off reserve to Bruce Banner).
Contributing to the emotional misfiring of
We do get a big war, a triumph for the
developed for Lord of the Rings that allows the realistic depiction of
of tens of thousands of people, something we are now gonna see a lot of
movies. So yep, huge armies march on
We're told that this was a battle of legend
and so it was, but with