Troy

Leah and I went to see Troy, Wolfgang Peterson’s take on Homer’s The Illiad (ok, perhaps ‘inspired by’ is the better word for it). It’s had quite mixed reviews, but I was fairly stoked to see it — I like the story (the Trojan horse, etc), and was looking forward to a popcorn movie — you know, all light and fluffy and pretty to look at — and it delivered on all of those fronts for me.

If you know the original story, please leave that at home — use it as extra backing, but if you’re looking for a faithful adaptation, you won’t find it here. Actually, in many ways, its the Illiad with a modern western sensibility — the omens of the Gods are meant to be viewed with derision, the astoundingly atheistic (or more properly, anti-theistic) soldiers are the norm, and contemporary power-gains are the driving force here.

But the story moves along at a lickity-split pace, nicely intermixing battle scenes with quick, stereotypical men-discussing-war-and-life scenes which masquerade as character development. The scenes are well-shot, easily comprehendable while exemplifying the confusion of the battlefield.

The cast does a fine enough job, with a buffed-up Brad Pitt as Achilles, looking, if I may say so, inhumanly gorgeous in this film; Eric Bana as the doomed Hector, all stoic and glaring & honorable; and Orlando Bloom as Paris, proving that he’s a great bowman (LoTR, Troy) and a not-so-great swordsman (PotC,Troy). Brian Cox made for an enoyably rapacious Agemmemnon, but Peter O’Toole was perhaps a little lost as the Trojan king, Priam. I’m not sure that Helen (Diane Kruger?) was really all that and a bag of chips, but that’s down to personal preference. Of course, her face was just the pretext for those 1000 ships in this story, not reason. Sean Bean played a smirking and devious Odysseus in a somewhat throw-away role, I felt — He didn’t really inhabit it so much as haunt it, slipping in and out of scenes almost unnoticed.

Hopefully, many others will come away from the film with the same desire I did — to read The Illiad, and delve into the whole story, and all that surrounds it. If not, I certainly hope you enjoy the film as much as I did.

10 Replies to “Troy”

  1. Well as someone who has read the Illiad (it was required reading at my high school in the summer between grades 11 & 12), I have been secretly and guiltily interested in seeing Troy. And you may have sold me. Of course, I supposed it would have little or no relation to the book, because frankly that would not make for a compelling and blockbuster summer flick, but the idea of something making the Illiad all sexy and gripping kind of amuses me.

    I actually enjoyed reading bits of it much more in Latin class, where we got to really focus on a section at a time, to reading the whole thing. It’s a bit overwhelming.

  2. Well as someone who has read the Illiad (it was required reading at my high school in the summer between grades 11 & 12), I have been secretly and guiltily interested in seeing Troy. And you may have sold me. Of course, I supposed it would have little or no relation to the book, because frankly that would not make for a compelling and blockbuster summer flick, but the idea of something making the Illiad all sexy and gripping kind of amuses me.

    I actually enjoyed reading bits of it much more in Latin class, where we got to really focus on a section at a time, to reading the whole thing. It’s a bit overwhelming.

  3. I did an entire course on nothing but the Illiad and Odyssey. I can certainly lend you my old copy of either, though I must say that having a professor providing insights into the text helps to get a lot more out of the experience.

    One thing that I immediately recall, is that because the Illiad was written… er… composed for a culture that relied on oral tradition to remember history. Because it’s oral roots, the story is designed to be easily shortened or lengthened, as well as full of undeveloped sideline plots ripe for expansion by a skilled story teller.

    If the Illiad is seen as an epic plot structure from which the story tellers of the day build a story that caters to the tastes of their age… Isn’t that exactly what makes the Illiad so enduring.

    Well, that and the wooden horse.

  4. I did an entire course on nothing but the Illiad and Odyssey. I can certainly lend you my old copy of either, though I must say that having a professor providing insights into the text helps to get a lot more out of the experience.

    One thing that I immediately recall, is that because the Illiad was written… er… composed for a culture that relied on oral tradition to remember history. Because it’s oral roots, the story is designed to be easily shortened or lengthened, as well as full of undeveloped sideline plots ripe for expansion by a skilled story teller.

    If the Illiad is seen as an epic plot structure from which the story tellers of the day build a story that caters to the tastes of their age… Isn’t that exactly what makes the Illiad so enduring.

    Well, that and the wooden horse.

  5. So I saw Troy last night. I’d say that having read the Illiad ahead of time kind of detracted from the experience. And not in the usual “that’s not how I imagined it in the book, what happened to X character” kind of way. Rather, because the movie was really just so formuliac and really in my opinion did a pretty lame job of evolving a rich original story it removed any and all elements of surprise. That is, in every battle scene I knew who was going to die and who was going to kill them. I guess that’s true of any film you see that you’ve read the book for, so really I suppose I’m complaining about the movie’s ability to build suspense.

    In the battle scenes I found myself thinking “They just comb the archives looking for epic stories with huge battle scenes now that they’ve got this CGI Animation thing down.”

    I also didn’t really buy the actress as Helen. She was pretty, but not so much the stuff of legends.

    But the buff men in skirts quota was even higher than I had heard and that made it worth the 3 hours 😉

  6. So I saw Troy last night. I’d say that having read the Illiad ahead of time kind of detracted from the experience. And not in the usual “that’s not how I imagined it in the book, what happened to X character” kind of way. Rather, because the movie was really just so formuliac and really in my opinion did a pretty lame job of evolving a rich original story it removed any and all elements of surprise. That is, in every battle scene I knew who was going to die and who was going to kill them. I guess that’s true of any film you see that you’ve read the book for, so really I suppose I’m complaining about the movie’s ability to build suspense.

    In the battle scenes I found myself thinking “They just comb the archives looking for epic stories with huge battle scenes now that they’ve got this CGI Animation thing down.”

    I also didn’t really buy the actress as Helen. She was pretty, but not so much the stuff of legends.

    But the buff men in skirts quota was even higher than I had heard and that made it worth the 3 hours 😉

  7. I agree with the buff men in skirts nod, Emira. I have never been a Brad Pitt enthusiast, but all the work he put into bulking up certainly paid off. I found him unnervingly beautiful – too pretty to be human, if you will. If you are looking for eye candy, you should check it out.

  8. I agree with the buff men in skirts nod, Emira. I have never been a Brad Pitt enthusiast, but all the work he put into bulking up certainly paid off. I found him unnervingly beautiful – too pretty to be human, if you will. If you are looking for eye candy, you should check it out.

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