Spoiler: Greek soldiers are hiding in the big wooden horse.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Wolfgang Petersen.
Writers: David Benieff, Homer.

Significant actors:

Brian Cox (Agamemnon).
Brad Pitt (Achilles).
Brendan Gleeson (Menelaus).
Diane Kruger (Helen).
Eric Bana (Hector)
Orlando Bloom (Paris)


The Greeks of the Heroic Age battle the Trojans, ostensibly over Helen, but with other motives very much in mind.

High Points:

The movie looks great, and it does a fair job of personalizing death of the battlefield.

Low Points:

If you’re going to make a film about human characters, you need to give them a depth which this film generally lacks. We get a retelling of a classic battle from mythology (condensed from a decade to… What? A couple weeks?), with great effects but nothing like the power or characterization that made Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings work so well.

Paris doesn’t come across as the most admirable guy even in the myths, and I understand that his fight was added to show his inadequacy as a warrior at that point in the movie. Still, the scene plays like Niles Crane going to battle, and that really didn’t work for me.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The low score is less because this is an adaptation (“inspired by the Iliad“) and more because the changes made were so predictably Hollywood. Achilles becomes the central figure, and consequently the timing of his death must be changed, and he must also be given an implausible love interest. We need someone to hate, so Agamemnon becomes a bullying, egoistical jerk.

The decision to remove the classical Greek gods fundamentally changes the story, but it gave them the opportunity to develop an Iliad which contemporary audiences could better understand.

Effects: 6/6.

Story: 4/6: This isn’t quite Homer’s Iliad, but who thought it would be? For Hollywood, it’s a fair adaptation, if flawed in places.

Acting: 3/6. The actors vary. I liked Sean Bean‘s small turn as Odyseus. Brad Pitt does a passing job as Achilles, here the central character, and Eric Bana is even better as Hector. Peter O’Toole‘s Priam was suprisingly overdone, as though he walked out of a 1950s sandal epic. Overall, we don’t see enough depth to the characters, and this leaves the film a bit blunted.

Production: 6/6 Excellent.

Emotional Response: 3/6 The movie conveyed a personal sense of death, until the sacking of Troy. Other elements were far less convincing; I did not buy at all the romantic subplot which they added.

Overall: 4/6.

In total, Troy receives 29/42.

Final Comment:

Right. Shouldn’t Bronze Age armour and weapons be, you know, bronze?

6 replies on “Troy”

  1. Brendan Gleeson

    In unrelated news, the Brendan Gleeson who plays Menalus
    here has just been cast as Mad-Eye Moody in Harry
    Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  2. Crap crap crap

    Y’know, I don’t see many movies, mostly because I find the majority of
    them to be completely uninteresting to me, but I went and saw this one. Even
    though I knew they would screw up the story (and had to promise my non-
    Classicist friends that I wouldn’t complain about the inaccuracies of the
    adaptation before they’d go with me), I still expected at least a passable story
    to have been carved out of the source material.

    But even by Hollywood’s typically shallow standards, this was crap. I
    don’t even know where to begin to criticize it. About the only things I liked
    were Sean Bean as Odysseus and the little nod to the Aeneid at the
    end. Well, it also was a little cool to see so many Greek ships swarming across
    the ocean.

    I had intended to post more comments, but I am finding that I just can’t
    find the words to express my complete contempt for this movie. Awful, just

  3. I must be odd…
    I actually enjoyed it, ok it wasn’t an accurate interpretation of what is a legendary story. I consider this a possible real world (ok point about bronze age armour etc taken) version of what became the Iliad.

    I found the personalisation of the battles made up for any lack of power in the massed battles and that the film opened up some intersecting questions about war and its brutal reality. OK, other films have done this better, but that can be said for all but a few masterpieces of cinematography.

    For me the best scene/s were between Achilles and Priam (which I understand was added) as with the current world situation it provoked an interesting discussion about Iraq etc and treatment of PoW’s.

    Then again it could just be that because I had an enjoyable cinema going experience with a friend it may have rose-tinted my view of the film, that and seeing Keira Knightley in wode in the trailer for King Arthur ;-)

    • Re: Troy in 15 minutes

      Great stuff! And I’d forgotten one of my intended “Low Points,” covered by Cleolinda: why does it take the other Greeks so damned long to make shore after Achilles lands?

  4. Hmmm

    I didn’t think there was much in the way of characterization in Lord of the Rings, i wonder if i would like this one *G*

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