, an enjoyable action adventure movie loosely based on the ancient Greek epic The Iliad
, features a blend of spectacular pros, distressing cons, and great actors and actresses, some in ill-suited roles.
- Peter O'Toole as Priam
- Sean Bean as Odysseus
- Spectacular Scenes
- Limiting the Role of the Gods
- Compression of the Timeline
- "Legolas" as Paris
- Whining Andromache
- Missing Women
In Warner Bros.' Troy
movie, certain decisions were made that had dramatic and, depending on how you look at the Troy
movie, devastating consequences. Chief among these was the elimination of the involvement of the gods and goddesses in the lives of men at Troy. Without the hand of Apollo to guide the arm of Paris, Achilles should have survived and might well have lived long enough to be inside the Trojan Horse. Without the hand of Aphrodite, Paris should have died, killed at the hand of Menelaus -- or, in the alternate reality of the Troy
movie, fled for safety to his brother. In this alternate Hollywood-reality, it makes some sense that Hector would kill Menelaus to save his brother's life, although the code of honor that the warriors followed -- in ancient times as in the Troy
movie -- makes this action questionable. Perhaps it was only because of the intervention of the gods that the Trojan War lasted 10 years in the original, rather than the 2 weeks of Wolfgang Petersen's godless rendition. You'll have to get over the time problem, the presence of Achilles in the Trojan Horse, and the killing by Hector of Menelaus and Ajax, in order to enjoy the Troy
Priam and Odysseus
Peter O'Toole, as Priam, and Sean Bean, as Odysseus, were perfect. Odysseus getting an idea for the Trojan Horse from watching one of the rank and file soldiers with a toy wooden horse, and Priam wordlessly looking on the inevitable death of his oldest son were memorable. Both men had small speaking roles, but stood out anyway.
Ajax was portrayed brilliantly, too, by Tyler Mane. His mad lust for Achilles' stature came through in the D-Day landing scene, when he ordered his men to row faster and jumped right in to join them so he could be second on land. Unfortunately, he was killed off too soon, instead of waiting for his incipient madness to catch up and force him to take his own life.
Hector, played by Eric Bana, is torn between his piety, his family, and his country. When he first learns that he is leading a ship back from Menelaus to Troy carrying his son's kidnapped bride Helen, he considers returning her, but then caves in to the wishes of his brother. When Paris grabs his leg during the single combat between Menelaus and Paris, Hector defies the code of the hero and kills Menelaus to protect his brother. Hector tries to console his wife, but he does his duty to his country even when he knows he will be killed because Achilles is a better fighter.
Brad Pitt as Achilles seems to be the most controversial of the leading actors of the Troy
movie because people disagree with his portrayal. To me, his independence, dance-like fighting techniques, impulsiveness, defiance of Agamemnon, and love of Briseis all seem in line with the Achilles Homer wrote. Achilles is moved by love of glory and knows that he will die young if he pursues it, but his reputation is all that counts because all he is is a warrior and the best one, at that. Brad Pitt captured that essence and was a delight to watch.
The scene where Achilles washes his face, but none of the dirt and blood comes off as well as the closeups of his battle-time dripping helmet, and the face of Hector's corpse crusted with sand and grit, were among the many realistic touches. The fighting scenes used large numbers of real people, instead of relying only on animation techniques -- although Brad Pitt's leaping almost looked like something from Matrix. The presentation of the walls of Troy and the ships dotting the sea as far as you could see were inspired.
Paris and the Women
On the negative side stand Paris and two of the women. Orlando Bloom seemed to be reliving his LOTR role, especially when he stood as an archer. Paris is not an especially sympathetic character in the legend, and perhaps that was all that was wrong with the Paris of Orlando Bloom. Helen was beautiful and that's probably all she should have been, but her motivation for being with a wimpy Paris was suspect. Andromache was the wife of a prince and warrior. While she might have been afraid and expressed her fear to Hector, as is portrayed in the legends, she shouldn't have been such a whiner. Nor should she have supplanted the wife of Priam, Hecuba, who, along with their infamous daughter Cassandra, were badly missing.
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