When I made my movie list out for what I would see this summer, I wasn't sure if Troy was one that I would see in the theater.
Recommend this product?
Normally, I'm a fan of period dramas but after seeing Cold Mountain and The Last Samurai (and being disappointed by both), I wasn't sure if I could take another let down. A coin flip determined that I would go on a Friday, rainy afternoon and with the movie theater mostly to myself, I must say that I enjoyed Troy much more than I expected.
The movie, based upon Homer's, The Iliad, takes place in 1193 B.C. Agamemnon (Brian Cox) slowly but surely, fights his way across land and water, building his power base, ensuring that he is in control of all.
Achilles (Brad Pitt), is Agamemnon's star warrior. With one slice of a knife, or one jab with a sword, he can immobilize his enemy before they even know what happened to them.
Unfortunately for Agamemnon, Achilles' only allegiance is to himself. A loose cannon, he does not play by the rules. He comes and goes when he pleases. He fights when it moves him. He does not pay homage to Agamemnon like the rest of the kings and warriors.
Having conquered everything but one place (Troy), Agamemnon decides to hold a gathering to celebrate peace with the Trojans. In attendance are Prince Paris (Orlando Bloom) and Prince Hector (Eric Bana). Paris does the unthinkable. He falls in love with the most beautiful woman in the world - Helen, Queen of Sparta (Diana Kruger) and wife to Agamemnon's brother, Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson). When Paris and Hector set off for Troy, Helen stows away on their ship which starts the bloody war between the Greeks and the Trojans.
This is the point where I say things like, who wins? who loses? But hey, even you people who didn't pay attention in high school know how THIS one turns out :).
I'm not going to kid you. There are some liberties taken (if memory serves) with how The Illiad was translated into a screenplay, written by David Benioff. Benioff writes a good story and as long as you're not completely married to the great piece of work that it's based on, you can tolerate the nuances (i.e. Achilles character and omission of "the gods").
Director Wolfgang Petersen does what Edward Zwick and Anthony Minghella couldn't do. He took a historical time period and made it interesting. There was a balance between blood and guts, and relationships. The pace of the film was steady and even though it was 2 1/2 hours + long, I didn't find myself tapping my toes or looking at my watch. I was fully engaged. One thing that I thought was particularly neat was when Petersen would blur the end of a scene - focusing on the reaction of a character that left you hanging there with them for the moment...right before he launched into another important scene.
Although I know that lots of visual affects were generated in an unnatural way :), I think that cinematographer Roger Pratt, created gorgeous, lasting images. James Horner, who scored the soundtrack to Titanic, contributes the original music for the film. He doesn't disappoint. The instrumentals are haunting and rich. A real treat is that Josh Groban flushes out one of those instrumentals (as the credits role), with his voice.
Now, I know. You want to know about Brad Pitt. Well let me tell you. I'm not a big Brad fan. Always thought he was overrated both in the acting and hot looks department. Yowsa! This movie made me hot for him. His 6 + months of physical training for this role was a great plus for those of us needing a does of eye candy.
Brad's approach to Achilles was much different than I expected. He stayed true to the character most of the time, portraying a man with great warrior attributes. His performance was very understated without boring me. The chemistry he had with Rose Byrne (Briseis), Eric Bana (Hector), Brian Cox (Agamemnon), and Sean Bean (Odysseus) was outstanding.
Eric Bana, who I've never seen before, was a perfect balance to Brad's hunky self. His character, unlike some of the other men in the story, was concerned with the welfare of the citizens. I enjoyed watching him struggle between trying to be the son his father wanted him to be and trying to be the man he thought he should be.
LOVED Brian Cox! He was hilarious as the greedy, power hungry, Agamemnon. Loved when he came into a scene - you could always count on it being full of crisp dialog.
The women in this movie were fine, but certainly not as wonderful as Brad, Eric, and Brian. Diane Kruger had some meaty moments in the beginning but then later, seemed to fade into the background. Rose Byrne and Julie Christie had just a small amount of air time.
The one person that I disliked immensely in this movie was Orlando Bloom. I'm sure that the character was meant to come across as a weaker, and more gentler version of Hector. Still, Orlando played Paris like a nine year old. I waited for his voice to squeak and for someone to pull off his hairline mustache. He just messed up what could have been, solid chemistry among the male group.
Troy is rated R for graphic violence and some sexuality/nudity (YUM Brad!!!). If you like period films, enjoy seeing Brad flex his buff bod, and can stand some fighting now and again ;), you'll enjoy Troy.
Read all comments (7)