17 May 2004

How to conquer Troy in 15 days

I saw Troy over the weekend. The acting was very good all around, though the script was absolutely awful (and I won’t even get into my Trojan War purist stance regarding Ajax, Menelaus, Agamemnon, Aeneas, et al.). Wolfgang Petersen’s direction was poor, too—especialy his tendency to have Brad Pitt do obnoxious statuesque poses whenever he’s holding a sword and not killing anyone.

I was most bothered by the film’s representation of the war, though. According to the war’s vast mythos, it lasted ten years. The “shock & awe” approach that the film takes belies the brutality of the thing, despite its violent battle scenes. With another near east war going on, you’d think Petersen would be interested in showing how war can be and feel endless—especially considering the skill with which he handled this concept in Das Boot.

Complaints aside, Troy is worth seeing. It’s a decent popcorn flick with solid acting and beautiful set and costume design. And campy sword-and-sandals epics can be fun in the summer. I give it a C+.


Blogger Sean said...

I thought the movie did a good job representing war, I think the whole deal was that war is pointless (or at least that war) and human lives are lost for little or nothing… and dispite all the hype I thought Brad Pitt was by far not the best actor in the movie.

June 12, 2004 9:20 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

Brad Pitt did a decent job—even in Homer Achilles comes across as arrogant and irritable. But you’re definitely right, others were far better. I’m especially taken by Sean Bean as Odysseus. (I even dream of a sequel with him in the Odyssey, though it’d be a nightmare if the same writer handled it.)

I like your take on the war as “meaningless,” though I still think the “quickie” position of the movie seems to obscure that idea. It also ineptly attempts to dance around more troublesome issues, like Patroclus as Achilles’ elder and lover and the “consentual rape” of the Achilles Briseis romance. That whole plot was pretty dumb. One more complaint: in the Iliad, it becomes apparent that Helen regrets going with Paris—not because of the war, but because Paris is a patsy. Oh, well.

June 15, 2004 7:21 AM  

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