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Posted by Siberman (1st Jun 2004, 08:51)

I went to see Troy hoping for something that would reflect the epic scale of Homer's Illiad, instead I was given something that seemed intent on ignoring any form of story in favour of showing off Brad Pitt in greek armour.

While trying to remain as spoiler free as possible, I was disappointed by the lack of Gods smiting anyone, and by the lack of character development or plot. The wooden horse was very randomly introduced: the greeks had been at troy for ~2 weeks, compared to the 10 years in the book, and had done very little. There was no explanation of Achilles' heel, or why he was invincible. I could go on about how flat this film falls for hours so I'll stop and talk about some of the positives:

The fight scenes were were tinted with realism and had some of the flavour of the epic, although they felt very flat. King Priam a#was believeable, as was Hector. The duels that occurred in the film were reasonably dramatised as well. Sean Bean was great as odeysseus and Orlando Bloom succended as Paris.

Basically it is a reasonable action film, if you like Brad Pitt, set in an ancient greek backgroud, although if you're expecting anything that resembles the legend then you are going to be disappointed.

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read biography for - karne

 karne ( 1st Jun 2004, 17:49, Rank: GSV )  reply

The Hector vs Achilles was worth the entrance fee on it's own. Unfortunately the rest of the film isn't anything like as well done. Despite brief peaks of elation; I was generally also very disappointed by Troy.

(rant) You always wear padding under armour, I don't care how tough you are or how hot Greece is.. (/rant)

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 Beale ( 2nd Jun 2004, 22:32, Rank: Cylon Centurion )  reply

Mind you, Achilles could really do with learning another powerful strike. One that, say, doesn't leave him ridiculously unprepared for anything that could follow.
But I quite liked Troy, despite its differences. I'm not sure whether I liked or disliked the way that they seemed to deliberately -not- make Achilles appear to be Special.

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 Shuri ( 14th Jun 2004, 16:21, Rank: Soup Dragon )  reply

I actually rather enjoyed Troy. I was captivated for the entire length of the film, which is a remarkable achievement given that it was 3 hours long, compared to my average attention span of 25 minutes. (Hey, I'm the cub who started watching the Matrix, got bored halfway through, and didn't bother finishing the movie until a couple weeks later.)

In contrast to Simon, I quite liked the character portrayal. There was little character development, but there were enough nuances to give them depth. Hector and Achilles were excellent, Paris was IMO played to stereotypical extremes but there was enough depth in the character to begin with that Bloom's acting ability (or lack thereof) didn't get in the way. I was a bit disappointed with the female leads, but they were pretty :) The various kings were really quite stereotypical on hindsight, but during the movie they serve to clearly identify the goodies and the baddies, which I guess may or may not have been useful.

I think it was the character interactions that made the movie a good one in my eyes. I thought it was very well done, and hence paid little attention to plot, cinematography, special effects, and just about everything else :)

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 John Kirk ( 14th Jun 2004, 22:15, Rank: Patrician )  reply

I enjoyed the film. The only change I really noticed was the time compression (as mentioned above). Aside from that, everything I remembered was in it, i.e. all the moments that I was hoping to see. I particularly liked the cameo from Aeneas at the end (the protagonist in Virgil's "Aeneid"). Mind you, I'm not sure whether I've actually read "The Iliad" (I've definitely read "The Odyssey" and parts of "The Aeneid"), and I haven't really read any myths since I was at school. I do remember the story of the golden apple that precipitated the war (Paris judging a beauty contest between three goddesses), but it's reasonable to skip that here.

I thought they made an interesting choice by leaving the question of the gods' existence rather ambiguous. The nearest we got to any proof of their existence was that Achilles claimed to have met them, but he could have been lying/gullible. And considering that his mother's supposed to be immortal, she seemed to be getting on a bit. Then again, Zeus is normally portrayed as an old man, so there may be an element of gods choosing what form they want to present (particularly if Achilles' mother is trying to keep a low profile). Similarly, the issue of whether Achilles was actually invulnerable seemed to be a bit open-ended. We saw him pull a few arrows out of his chest, that hadn't sunk in very far. Was that just his armour protecting him? Had they gone in but not harmed him? Had they gone in, and actually caused his death (rather than the arrow through his ankle)? I hadn't really thought about it before, but I wouldn't expect to die if someone shot an arrow through my foot, so just because his ankle isn't shielded that shouldn't make him weaker than average there. I'm going to assume that the Trojans were using poison-tipped arrows, and so the key point was that by penetrating his skin the poison got into his bloodstream.

I was impressed by the fight scenes in the film, particularly the duels. I was initially expecting Paris to win against Menelaus, due to his youth, but it swiftly became apparent that Menelaus simply had the raw power to win. It certainly had nothing to do with style - it was more like the "Star Trek" battle approach (keep pounding until someone's shields give way). The way Paris reacted wasn't heroic, but it was understandable, and it's unusual to see a lead character get scared like that. Similarly, when Hector fought Achilles, it did become apparent that Hector was getting tired after the first few minutes. Again, that's understandable when you're carrying X kg of metal around, but it's not something you normally see during sword fights in "Highlander", for instance.

One slightly odd thing about the film was the way that pronunciation of names varied between characters, e.g. pronouncing "Priam" with a long or short "i". I think it would be better to be consistently wrong, rather than have some characters getting it right and some not.

Another good thing about the film was that there were likeable characters on both sides, as opposed to a film like "Star Wars" where it is very much good vs evil. It reminded me of "The Eagle has Landed" in that respect (the book, since I haven't seen the film). At the same time, they were mostly flawed characters, so that made them more human. I think Hector probably came out best in it. It's a shame that Helen had the morals of an alley-cat, really...

Speaking of Helen, her relationship with Paris at the start of the film wasn't exactly subtle. The main advantage to the way it was portrayed ("I've made a lot of mistakes this week...") was that we skipped the start of it. So, rather than having them fall into bed together as soon as they met, it may be that they'd spent a month getting to know each other first. The main problem was when someone suggested sending her back to the Greeks, and this idea got vetoed. I can understand why the film wanted to address this point, but I don't think they came up with any compelling reasons as to why it would be a bad idea. I think that if they'd done it soon enough, a lot of problems could have been averted. However, by the time it got to the fight between Hector and Achilles, events had taken on their own momentum, so it was too late.

I mentioned that there were likeable characters on both sides. More generally, I think the Trojan army came out better, but that's mainly because they were defending their home. For instance, when the Greeks fled back to the beach, and the Trojans didn't follow, there was a short-term reason for that (staying out of range of the Greek archers). However, it also occurred to me that it wasn't at all in the Trojan interest to destroy the Greek ships, since the Greeks would then be stuck there. From a strategic point of view, it makes sense to say "If you come to us, we'll defend ourselves. If you want to leave, go ahead, we won't stop you." This effectively gives them the moral high ground of being brave, yet noble.

Anyway, all in all a good film, and I'm sure I'll watch it again in the future.

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