Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Overlooked Movies: Troy

Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?  I report, you decide.  (You gotta admit, he's pretty.)

Having taught, or tried to teach, Iliad to several generations of college students, I figured I had to see this movie.  I always explained to my students that a lot of the elements of the story of Achilles that we (well, I, anyway) were familiar with weren't found in Homer's poem.  The wooden horse and the death of Achilles were the two major ones.  Those are both in the movie, of course.  You couldn't tell the story of Troy to a modern audience without them.

In general the movie follows the plot of Homer's work, with those two major additions, and it gives some details about what happens to some of the other characters that both follow tradition and don't follow it.  I confess that I've never watched the more than 3-hour-long director's cut of the movie.  And I probably never will, even though there might be some good material in it.  It's hard to tell the story of Troy in a shorter film.

The acting is okay, considering the bad dialogue the cast has to deal with.  Brad Pitt isn't is brawny as I would expect Achilles to be, but he sure can jump.  Orlando Bloom is, well, Orlando Bloom, and as such not a bad pick to play Paris.  Eric Bana is fine as Hector.  Rose Byrne is a good Helen.  The real standouts, for me, are Sean Bean as Odysseus and Peter O'Toole as Priam.  

Troy isn't a great movie, but it's spectacular, and I enjoyed the way it picked up on some of the things I like most about Iliad.  It's worth a look.

10 comments:

George said...

I skipped TROY when it first came out. But now your review has kindled an interest. I have three new translations of THE ILIAD to read so this would fit right in.

Bill Crider said...

It's worth a look, but I'm not so sure about the 3-hour version.

Tom Johnson said...

I watched it, and enjoyed it overall. I still collect the classics, and Homer's books are on my shelf, but I couldn't read them in school, and doubt I could today. The Greek's gave us heroes, action, and adventure that still influence our media today, so it's my fault that I never read Homer.

Rick said...

I liked it too. Except for the for the exclusion of the physical manifestations of the gods. As popular as fantasy films have become, I find it inexplicable that the gods' rivalries--and the fact that the gods' rivalries were inarguably the cause of the Trojan War in "The Iliad"--were not portrayed. I realize it was a directorial choice, but it is one I don't agree with.

Bill Crider said...

Yes, that's a big part of the poem and would've been fine in the movie. Maybe there just wasn't room for it, even in the 3-hour version.

Cap'n Bob said...

I saw it and almost enjoyed it. The trend in action movies to add unnecessary flips and twirls to fight scenes makes me want to shout at the screen.

Dan said...

A fine film, but I prefer HELEN OF TROY (1956) nominally directed by Robert Wise but with 2nd unit work from Yakima Canutt and Sergio Leone.

Bill Crider said...

I think I've already written about that one as an Overlooked Movie. If I haven't, I should have.

Don Coffin said...

I did a Greek island cruise in 1998, and, the whole time, felt as if we were chasing Odysseus around the Aegean...and to have been in the actual place where the Greeks apparently planned the war (yes, Mycenae is an actual place, and a lot of it--no roofs--is still visible) was terminally weird. Images here:
https://www.google.com/search?q=mycenae&biw=1096&bih=658&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjyw5Ga8tXLAhVCRSYKHWktC40QsAQILw

Bill Crider said...

Thanks for the link, Don!