on April 4, 2008
I'm really going to forgive some massive fundamental flaws and applaud this fun epic popcorn flick. Obviously, and it is assumed that like many cinephiles, I have a major problem with Troy's very existence to the core. Consider for a minute that the likes of Braveheart and Alexander are called "historical fiction" but they are based on people we know existed. Troy is based on the Iliad but it works in such a way that the audience is possibly being urged to believe these were real events. So the film in essence is based on the possible events that took place during the Trojan War. In fact, it doesn't even stay particularly true to the Iliad but it does try to capture the icons associated with the Trojan War and at the very least it keeps in tone with the Iliad, especially with regards to the violence in its battle sequences and the portrayal of Achilles' wrath. However, no gods or mythical figures to speak of and that is, at the very least an indirect attempt to steer the audience from believing that this is fiction. Maybe it is just because so many other epic films released are based on some degree of truth. Troy is based on myths and that's alright if you want to portray it that way. 2004's King Arthur had the same problem but with less CGI. Troy has a lot of CGI and it cost $180 million to make. They didn't need to stretch so far for believability but like I said, some movies are just worth forgiving. This is eye candy; it is Hollywood to the bone.
Nevertheless, I liked Troy and it looks incredible on blu-ray. The director's cut includes extra battle cuts, extra nudity, and it even has some scenes that assist in character development. The extra footage is actually seamless and makes the movie far longer but also far better and if there is an epic film made for superior visual technology like blu-ray, Troy is just that film. There is no pretending here, Troy is a true Hollywood production and I actually mean that with at least some degree of affection. The cast is great and includes of course Brad Pitt as the seemingly invincible and infinitely angry Achilles, Brian Cox as one of the film's real villains in Agamemnon, Eric Bana plays the heroic Trojan warrior Hector, Sean Bean plays Odysseus, Peter O'Toole plays Priam with fitting melodrama, Tyler Mane plays the chaotic and violent Ajax, and the very beautiful Diane Kruger plays Helen; the face that launched a thousand ships, or was it her breasts? All are good in their roles but no one seems to take themselves too seriously and for the most part their performances, or in some cases just their presence, work within the film.
The battle scenes in Troy are huge and absolutely second to none. There are tons of battle scenes within this 196 minute Director's cut and they just keep on going while getting more and more exciting and out of control. The soundtrack for Troy is clearly an upgrade from the theatrical version and makes the battle scenes seem even larger as it booms and powers in and out of great sky shots over the beginnings, middles, and ends of various battles. The cinematography and visual effects, whether the fake kind or the real kind, look absolutely amazing on blu-ray and the great shots never cease in Troy. The music is huge, the drama is huge, and the visuals are even bigger. It is visually one of the most impressive blu-rays so far and that is because it is a visually driven film to begin with. Troy truly is epic in every sense of the word. Well, except for that whole idea of it being based on an epic poem.
on May 30, 2010
The director's cut is more then just a longer version of the theatrical release, it is practically a new, stand alone, film. Extended battle scenes, more in depth character introductions and an overall recoloring of the film makes it a much more captivating film.
on July 6, 2008
I don't understand the very poor reviews some people gave this movie. Yes - there are many liberties taken and it is not true to Homer's Iliad, but so what? This is a Hollywood movie - what do you expect? It's just a make believe story just as the original Iliad was. I thought Brad Pitt's performance was excellent - he's not just a ripped hunk fighting, slaying and pillaging - he is emotional, conflicted, complex, multi-dimensional & I think, very believable! The lack of involvement of the ancient Greek Gods made it more down to earth and believable for me. I usually don't like violence, but the fighting scenes are magnificent & beautifully done. The scenery is gorgeous too. If this was supposed to be a bigger than life epic - it certainly is! I loved the intensity present with all the characters - especially King Priam when he begs Achilles for his son's body. What beautiful drama! As a female, I have to admit I enjoyed all the gorgeous men, athletic, strong & chiseled - but that doesn't go far without good acting and an engaging story - I was on the edge of my seat even though I well knew what was going to happen to Troy & Achilles. This isn't a lighthearted story by any means - it is intense drama with a lot of violence (but well-done violence). I think overall it was very breathtaking and the characters were believable and the acting was great.
on March 24, 2011
From the man who brought heavyweight drama like Das Boot, and rootin' tootin' action like Perfect Storm, well, I suppose this is the Hollywood movie.
Wolfgang Petersen really goes all out in this lipgloss historical soap opera. Looking forward to seeing all the armour on Blu Ray.
I watched the original theatrical version and felt the film wasn't as bad as some critics had portrayed it, but the pacing was off and character development wasn't great you never really got to know the main cast as much as you would want to and some parts felt too slow with others being a bit "hasty and rushed" with some of the battle scenes not as full or beefed up as I had expected from a film touting itself as a modern "epic"
The re-cut version includes approx. 30 minutes of additional screen time (we're up to nearly 200 mins run time in total), there are extended battle scenes and the biggest change is in the taking of Troy which was glossed over fairly quickly on the first cut here we get a lot more action and depth. There are some additional bits including more on the Greek army attacks v the Trojans which does help lift the tension a bit more and importantly some characters get more footage helping development.
As for the film overall it does benefit from the re-working and visually it's still fairly impressive. My feelings about the cast are similar though I'm not entirely convinced with Pitt in the lead role he can act but at times seems a little vacant in such a headline role, Bana and Kruger are good though as is Sean Bean in his Odysseus character if a little predictable and overplayed but that's more down to the script than the actors.
Modern epics are not easy to do, I think film making has moved on in this regard and we've yet to really have a jaw dropping vast scale recent production that just nails everything down from storyline, script, cast, direction, action secnes. On balance though it's a more satisfying watch than the awful mess Alexander remains (even after extensive re-editing and cutting) at least the screenplay is moderately engaging and you will have some interest in the story.
Worth a peek even if you've seen the first run this does add more to the film even if it can't quite lift it to where I'd like it to be.
on January 6, 2010
After seeing the trailer, I thought it would be an awesome sword-sandal film. I went to see it in the theatre with my twin sister. This film is an excellent adaptation of Homer's epic poem "The Illiad." Even though the story's altered, and also in the ending of the film is loosely based on Book 2 of Virgil's The Aeneid. The Wooden Horse and the Sack of Troy do not appear in the Iliad, which ends shortly after the funeral of Hector.
Many people may not like, but...I love the film's version of the ill-fated Helen & Paris. Also I like the fact they put Helen in a bad marriage ("...every day I was with him, I wanted to walk into the sea and drown"), 'til Paris came along and whisks her away. For other discussions on the film, I am Achilles/Briseis shipper. Though no one ever thought of doing a shipping of them. Also one last thing : I never liked Agamemnon..."Peace is for women." What bull-s**t! A tyrant with shot-put for brains.
That is all I have to say about this film, and I don't have any particular scene I like, because I love the film from beginning to end.
on February 11, 2007
Overall: kinda cool, kinda boring, overdone.
Summary: a (.....) hollywood version of the war between Troy and Greece. It has all the heroes, the locations and mentions the gods, you see a Trojan Horse etc, but it just doensn't follow the legend. This story is told as if the Legend (aka Myth) of this battle was historic. All mythilogical elements are removed (there are still references to the gods but that's it). You get some of the major battles that look great and some great sets and costuming.
The Good: the battles were greatly coreagraphed. It will remind you of Braveheart in that respect. They also look very deadly, with weapons penetrating and blood present. The acting was good. The sets were impressive when they weren't trying to be (see the bad). The story was interesting, if not accurate.
The Bad: The worst part of this is it was trying too hard to be epic. It was trying to be another sparticus, but by using CG instead of thousands of extras. It was so forced that it was obvious and annoying. The plot was intersting but really dragged at times. The good guys were good and the bad guys were bad, not the case with the actual legend. The heroes had no bad qualities, and the villans were utterally evil. The trojan horse scene was just dumb, and the Achillies tendon even worse.
The Ugly: all historical referance. The wrong people died, the wrong people lived and a dumb love story was put on top of the whole stinking thing. I don't understand why they change these things. The gods were not involved. No god made armour, no tournament to win it, no cursing, no suicides, no insanity (okay except for maybe Agamemnon who wasn't supposed to be insane).
Overall: it was cool to see. There were some great battles, everyone looked great, but it had little to do with it's inspirational source The Illiad. It got borring at times, but the action pretty much made up for it. Mainly this just promised to be a lot better then it was.
on June 28, 2006
This gorgeous film portrays a portion of Homer's Iliad, Achilles' story. Brad Pitt plays Achilles and brings to life this ancient warrior. Despite no overt manifestation of the gods, Pitt manages to convey possession by the god of war or possesion by the warrior archetype in his body language and facial expression. His intense physicalization of the role is typical of Pitt's talent and dedication to studying and learning a character.
The crux of the matter is that Achilles is not a likeable character in the original. He was a great warrior but he was childish and petulant. In the movie they emphasize his lust for glory. His pride and lack of impulse control exemplifies the dark side of the heroic which manifested in other great Greek heroes such as Hercules and Medea. This heroic dark side is often ignored in modern heroic portrayal and leads to problems in our society.
Pitt and Peterson did not flinch from portraying this darkness and in the process provided a portrait of the ugliness of war which I find psychologically useful in this modern era of war. Achilles is balanced by the excellent and sympathetic portrayal of Hector by Eric Bana. Continuing the theme of the problematic nature of war is the portrayal of Agammenon as a cynical warmonger who manipulates others in order to achieve his goal of hegemony.
Of note is the wonderful acting performance in the portrayal of King Priam by O'Toole. One of the best scenes of the movie is where Priam goes to Achilles to beg for the body of his son. The interaction/chemistry between the two actors was savory. Both Pitt and O'Toole clearly have studied Homer's version and provide a poignant scene which underscores the tragedy of war.
While this movie departs from the original I find it to be a satisfying and beautiful modernization of the story--certainly there is nothing to compare it to since nothing quite like this has been attempted in film. My only complaint might be that I would have liked an attempt to portray the gods. But perhaps the absence of gods is apt in our literal modern age where nature is de-sacralized and we put the gods in the service of our wars.
There are several problems with the film 'Troy', if one is trying to fit it too closely with the literature which inspired it, Homer's Illiad. There are too many deviations from the ancient Greek epic poem for this to be other than 'inspired by' - there are characters missing (Cassandra, etc.); there are characters whose fates are different from the Illiad (I won't give spoilers, so you'll have to trust me), and the overall situation is cast in a very different light.
In the film, Achilles (Brad Pitt, looking more bulky than usual) is the greatest warrior alive, with a reputation unparalleled in the world. However, he is a loose canon of sorts, as likely to kill his own leaders as the enemy. Achilles is tempted to the battle with Troy, portrayed as one of the greatest battles in history, by the call of everlasting glory. Achilles is persuaded in the end by no less an ironic character than his own mother, who recounts to him the prophecy of an idyllic life at home should he stay, but then to be forgotten after he dies, or the chance at immortality in legend, despite the fact that he'll die at Troy. Achilles sets sail.
The war with Troy is portrayed as having been going on for a decade; at a peace meeting in Sparta, Paris (younger prince of Troy, Orlando Bloom) falls in love with the fair 'was this the face that launched a thousand ships' Helen, wife Sparta's king, Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson). Helen steals away with Paris on the ship returning to Troy; Hector, the elder prince and heir to the throne (Eric Bana) is conflicted as to what to do, but opts to journey on to Troy, and the die is cast.
Agamemnon (Brian Cox) uses the event as a chance to band all the Greek city-states together into a final battle with Troy, the greatest rival to his power in the Aegean (and the centre of much of the civilization of the world at that time). This is where the retelling becomes much more modern than ancient. The Illiad is not so concerned with economics and hegemonies as it is with ethics and honour - Agamemnon is portrayed as a Realpolitick power-seeker of the first order, willing to stop at nothing to decimate allies and foes alike for his own power, willing to use honourable pretenses to achieve dishonourable ends. Does one sense a thinly-veiled critique of the modern siege-makers in this?
An astonishing armada is amassed and sets sail for the coasts of Troy. Once there, the beachhead is taken, and the first major act is a desecration of the temple of Apollo (a dishonouring of the local gods - again, does one sense a critique of the moderns here?) by Achilles, who nonetheless proves himself the most valuable warrior the Greeks have. At this point, the internal strife becomes as problematic for the Greeks as the front lines, as Achilles disregards the commands of Agamemnon and cares little for the political outcomes of the war.
The intrigues and the plotting of the Greek leaders are cast in high relief against the more pastoral leadership of `good king' Priam (portrayed by Peter O'Toole with his characteristic panache). Hector is a strong and wise leader under his father; Paris is the foolish and rather cowardly one. (We are missing the back-story of the Illiad of how Paris came to be part of Troy's royal family, and it is assumed that there is no unusual story there.) We rather lose sight of the fact that, indeed, Paris stole the queen of Sparta (again, the modern idea creeps in - in our day, a woman would have the right to choose where she wished to live, but not so in the ancient world; one might question whether the queen of a nation has the right to abandon her role and 'shack-up' with the neighbouring prince at will, but I digress...).
The people of Troy are seen as virtuous despite the fact that they are defending the less-defensible position morally. The Greeks might have right on their side in some respects, but this is lost in their brutality and by the unbridled greed of their leaders, and of course it is the ordinary foot-soldiers, including Achilles, who have to do the fighting and dying for the cause, as their princes exchange gifts of gold, money and priceless art treasures to congratulate themselves on their victories.
The film portrays the battle lasting only a matter of a few weeks; the brutality of the battle scenes is as dramatic as any in modern war films, just as bloody. The single-combat scenes between Achilles and Hector, Hector and Patroclus, and others are extremely well choreographed, introducing various techniques I've not seen before in sword-play films.
I don't think it is a spoiler to give away the major ending here, in that Troy eventually falls, not to military might, but to trickery. The Greek ships have sailed, leaving only an offering to Poseidon behind - a giant horse. The Trojan Horse (if the Greeks built it, why is it always called `the Trojan Horse?') is carted into the city whose walls cannot be breeched, and the people celebrate their victory. As they rest after the revelry, Greek soldier inside the horse emerge (including in this telling, Achilles), open the gates to the city, and the Greek army swarms in.
A nice touch to the film is the hand-off of the great sword of Troy to a young man named Aeneas, with the instruction that so long as a Trojan has the sword, Troy will live on (this connects to the Roman epic poem, the Aeneid, which tells of Aeneas' journey from Troy to Rome, making them the spiritual successors of Troy, particularly meaningful when the Romans then conquer the Greeks).
The effects are great, as is the general cinematography. This is a film to be seen in the theatres, for the 'big screen' effect.
This film pretty much follows the story with very few exceptions and possible ending. However the few exceptions and ending is what makes this story work as a movie instead of a long poem. Stories being told may ways five different insights and there should be no conflict between the reader and viewer and both stories are real to the observer.
For you that forgot the story and you that know the story well but have not seen this movie basically we are looking at a story that you may or may not have had an opportunity to sidestep in school but can never have a grasp on social history with out it. Some call it real and lost in antiquity. Others say that homer had a Good imagination. And others treat it as an allegory with a historical background.
Brad Pitt who has played fickle people before is excellent in the part of Achilles and is sort of a heel. Nothing less was expected. It was the other actors that played their parts so well that you forgot you were watching the movie.
Two Trojan princes are the guests of the Spartan ruler Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson). While Menelaus is preoccupied with other matters he leaves his wife, Helen of Sparta (Diane Kruger), to her own devises. The younger Trojan prince Paris (Orlando Bloom) is left alone to many times with Helen and decides against everyone else's better judgment to make her Helen of Troy and thus pilfers her from Menelaus.
As a husband Menelaus is of course miffed. However his brother the Greek king Agamemnon (Brian Cox) sees this as an opportunity to absorb Troy into his territory. Natural this spawns a war in which Agamemnon recruits Achilles an extremely gifted and charmed warrior. Achilles goes to make a name for him self. He brings his cronies, and his cousin. Together they do many bold and callous things.
I will not go into the details of the war as you either know or will soon know the details. However I will say that I thought that the Trojan horse was well and realistically designed. And you may want to pay attention to the background music as it is relevant to the film.