The historical epic: Hollywood’s Achilles heel

Posted on May 16, 2004 @ 11:52 am

Evil Doug has posted a short review of the recently-released Troy. I’ve reproduced an excerpt below. Be forewarned, however, that this post may contain minor spoilers for a 2,800-year-old story (not to mention a really bad Gene Shalit impression toward the end):

…okay, here’e my problem, mates. Briseis is with Achilles, right? He just killed dozens upon dozens of her countrymen AND at his order, her temple was sacked and her fellow priests killed AND Achilles himself beheaded the statue of the god she had sworn her service to. Okay…that known…what was up with her putting the knife to his throat…then getting him to say that he’ll kill even more people if she doesn’t kill him…and then HAVING SEX WITH HIM?!?!?!?


He DEFILED her temple, KILLED her countrymen, and she gets all hot for him? HUH?!?!

Sure, it’s a little odd that a woman who has devoted her life to serving as an Apollonian virgin would give it all up to sleep with the guy who just killed her fellow priests and is currently in the process of sacking her city (when he isn’t off sulking in his tent, of course). What I found even stranger, though, was how Briseis would go from being all dirty during her dialogue scenes with Achilles, with dishevelled hair and a blood-smeared face, to being completely glammed-out during the sex scenes — and right back to looking haggard afterwards.

pitt_troy_set2.jpgI guess the best way to sum up my overall impression of Troy is “silly.” It’s wasn’t necessarily bad — just laughable at times due to cheesy performances (Agamemnon), weak characterization (the aforementioned Achilles/Briseis relationship, as well as the portrayal of Orlando Bloom’s Paris), and goofy costuming choices (check out Brad Pitt’s lovely azure skirt and midriff-baring blouse ensemble pictured to the right). In fact, the entire time I was watching Troy, I couldn’t help but think about how much more I would enjoy seeing a big-screen adaptation of The Odyssey — due in some part, I suppose, to the fact that Sean Bean’s Odysseus was one of the few truly compelling characters in the film.

Taking into account the pretty cast of actors and actresses (although it’s still up for debate whether or not Diane Kruger, who portrays the world’s most beautiful woman, is actually prettier than Orlando Bloom), the special effects wizardry, and the frenetic battle scenes, Troy is certainly a visually impressive film — almost like some kind of gigantic wooden animal statue. Once it rolls into the theater and the audience lets its guard down, however, out pops a very mediocre movie.

My Gene Shalit review: “Jennifer Aniston’s boy-Troy Brad is the Pitts in this Greek-to-me epic. Trust me, I’m not Trojan Horsing around here — Troy fails to hit a Homer. Even though Brad might have the face that’s launched a thousand hits (at the box office), this film just made me feel ill-iad.”

Posted by Jess | Filed Under Pop Culture |

2 comments so far...

  1. Trojans — Ribbed for Your Pleasure?
    Jess at Apropos of Something has a review of Troy. Here’s a small tidbit… My Gene Shalit review: “Jennifer Aniston’s boy-Troy Brad is the Pitts in this Greek-to-me epic. Trust me, I’m not Trojan Horsing around here —…

  2. Richard May 17, 2004 5:37 am

    I saw Starsky and Hutch instead and I thought it was pretty well-done. Entertaining, it was.

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