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.