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)

Premise:

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?