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Troy (DVD, 2009, WS)
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Mar 1, 2005
Review by flash-hammer
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Eric Bana,sets,Rose Byrne is sexy
Cons:Orlando Bloom is dreadful,generally not very good
The Bottom Line: While not a total debacle, Troy still isn't very good, and is only worth it if it's cheap or on TV
I have to be honest and admit that I had absolutely no motivation, and therefore no expectations, about watching Troy. While I love war movies, and I am partial to the odd epic, providing it's good, Troy just didn't appeal to me much. However, that doesn't go for all of the family, one of whom is very into their ancient Greeks, so a DVD did make it's way into my house, and being bored, I decided to give it a try on a rainy day.
Recommend this product?
The movie loosely follows the famous poem by Homer, The Iliad, and tells the story of the war between the Greeks, lead by the powermongering King Agamemnon(Brian Cox - X-Men 2) and the Trojans, with King Priam(Peter O'Toole - Creator) at the helm.
The war is begun by the silly activities of the Paris(Orlando Bloom - Pirates of the Caribbean), who has an affair with Helen(Diane Kruger - Narco), wife of the King of Sparta, Menelaus(Brendan Gleeson - Lake Placid). He smuggles her back to the city of Troy, and Menelaus convinces his brother, Agamemnon, to attack Troy and get her back.
Despite his better judgement, Paris' brother, the powerful Prince Hector(Eric Bana - The Hulk) fights on the side of his family and city, but will even he be enough to save the city of Troy from the ensuing invasion of the Greeks?
Im sure you roughly know the story, a big wooden horse comes into it, lots of people die, one via a heel injury and so on. The story is almost competant, even if I hear it wholesale changes the Iliad, with director Wolfgang Peterson(Das Boot) deciding to rule out the involvement of the gods totally, because he felt they were silly(!).
The thing that bothers me about the plot, is the characters. While it should be applauded that instead of just doing a black and white 'one army good, the other bad' set-up, we instead have black and white characters with a few oddities thrown in. Agamemnon is pure bad guy, yet Oddyseus(Sean Bean - Sharpe) is a good man, so how did they end up on the same side? the entire Greek army barring Achilles is either obnoxious or good, nothing inbetween. Then we come to Achilles, whom Peterson can't seem to decide if he wants to make him a warrior noble, yet who thinks of nothing but war, and an outright unlikeable scumbag. While Im all for characters that aren't straightforward, it's the fact Brad Pitt, who plays him, seems to actually be playing different characters in different scenes. Seriously, it's like Achilles has a split personality.
Then there comes the biggest plot flaw of all, the one that absolutely crippled the movie for me. Orlando Bloom's Paris. In this character, who Im sure was meant to be one of the heroes, or at least someone the audience emphasise with, garnered nothing but absolute contempt from me, why? because he basically embodies that oh so realistic nightmare that Im sure everyone has encountered, probably during school life - the little dick who gets into trouble, and then gets his hard big brother to help him, even though his brother isn't that bad a guy, he is just sticking up for his family. That is exactly the character Paris is, and I've heard that this isn't the case in the Iliad. Here he is a snivelling mess, and Im sure his transformation at the end is something the audience were expected to like, but for me it was just a complete turn off. I found it physically impossible to root for him, and I would imagine a lot of others would as well.
Speaking of the acting, it is actually of a decent standard, but nothing special. I have to admit I was impressed by Eric Bana, who really brought Hector to life and made him likeable and understandable, but the only others who impressed me anywhere near as much were O'Toole and Bean, and the latter was wasted in a minor role.
Im actually reluctant to criticise Brad Pitt, because his character seemed to have been written in such a moronic fashion that there was no hope of him really doing anything good.
But ladies and gentlemen, it's back to that old chestnut of a character fault for my major acting complaint, because it's the man portraying Paris, Orlando Bloom, who seems to do his best to see to it that the film is impossible to take seriously. The man cannot act. He is more wooden than the Trojan horse. Even this character, whom he just suits perfectly, of the snivelling little turd, he couldn't pull off with any, even remote, acting ability. While Im sure this sounds like a jealous rant, Im willing to admit he is a good looking boy, but the fact is that he cannot act, and brings absolutely nothing to any movie I've seen him in, so why do people continue to put him in big movies like this? and more to the point, why films to do with war and battle where he is just out of place? are the ticket sales to 15 year old girls really more important than making a decent film?
The musical score is decent, like everything else about the film, it tries to be sweeping and epic, and doesn't really succeed. It wasn't bad, but it just didn't do anything for me in the least.
Special effects, now these were good. The sets were wonderful, and while Im not sure if the ancient Greeks would have had armour as distinctive and sleek as Achilles and his Myrmadons, but on the eyes the effects certainly do not disappoint.
The battle scenes, much has been made of them, so how good are they?ok. That is about it, ok. They didn't have me going as the reviews promised they would, but they didn't totally disappoint me either, and they did at least have the decency to be moderately entertaining in parts, which puts them ahead of Lord of the Rings in terms of battles. The one thing about them that did make me chuckle, was the ridiculous attempt to give Brad Pitt's Achilles a trademark attack,but the move they choose is a pitiful jumping attack that just appears more camp than anything, and just succeeded in making me laugh.
On the whole, I honestly cannot see any reason why anybody would really want to see Troy, unless you are female and the thought of Brad Pitt in a skirt just sounds great. For the guys, a few of the women in the picture, most notably Rose Byrne,who played Briseis, and reminded me of the lovely Ashley Lawrence, are attractive, but it isn't really enough to recommend it on that basis.
It's over 2 hours long, and with so much going against it, you would be hard pushed to find anybody willing to sit through it's nonsense for the entire running time. It isn't a tragedy of a film by any means, and when it shows on TV, I would probably recommend watching it if nothing else is on, and you have over 2 hours to spare.
I can't give Troy a very high score, because to be frank, I didn't enjoy it much. Sure some of the battle bits were quite fun, and Eric Bana was really good, but it just didn't click at all, and I mean it didn't click together as a good movie should, and it just didn't click with me.
I wouldn't go overboard and totally slate Troy it does have it's moments, but when you consider so much money was spent on it, it cannot be classed as anything other than a grosse disappointment, and I think it's getting 2 stars from me. I will give it the dignity of a recommended, basically because while I didn't really enjoy it, I wouldn't say I regret watching it either, and for a recent attempt at an epic, it is at least watchable.
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