Troy Falls Slowly
Release Date: May 14, 2004
Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando
Bloom, Brian Cox, Diane
Kruger, and Peter O'Toole
Genre: Historical Epic
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Rating: R for graphic violence and
Runtime: 156 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Wolfgang Petersen, Diana
Rathbun, and Colin Wilson
Producer: Wolfgang Petersen, Diana
Rathbun, and Colin
Wilson EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:
Writer: David Benioff
BASED ON THE
EPIC POEMS: THE ILIAD by Homer
and THE AENEAD by Virgil
Address Comments To:Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Warner Bros., Inc.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
GENRE: Historical Epic
Achilles, played by Brad Pitt, is an unbeatable Greek warrior fighting only for his own fame and glory. Agamemnon, played by Brian Cox, is the greedy king who tries to harness Achilles’ power so he can extend his kingdom. Their goal of violent domination confronts the Trojan prince Paris (Orlando Bloom) as he woos the wife of another Greek king, Agamemnon’s brother. The two sides must clash.
Paris’ brother Hector, played by Eric Bana, commands the mighty Trojan army. He knows that Paris is unwise, but he perseveres to protect his brother, his family, and his country.
TROY is full of hard fought battles, unforeseen defeats, and tricky military strategy. It intersects action with the drama behind it, depicting brilliant leaders as they and their countries are undone by pride and emotion.
The characters repeatedly choose feelings over reason. In addition, they constantly act in deference to the gods, appealing to Apollo and Zeus to help them through battles. Revealing an inner conflict, even as they conduct the ceremonies and traditions, several of the main characters deny the power of divinity. Achilles, most notably, defiantly beheads a statue of Apollo and gives a monologue about how mortality is what makes life exciting, and how he is glad he is not a god. These false religious, pagan and humanist elements were typical of the times, however, and should be expected from such a movie.
Unnecessary are the several implied sex scenes. They reveal little of the characters’ natures but rather revel in gratuitous semi-nudity. The violence is purposeful and not as gory as many other war movies. It is also more realistic than the recent gush of Asian-influenced action movies. Brad Pitt is an effective, powerful Achilles, and Eric Bana is also good as Hector, but Orlando Bloom is underwhelming as the Trojan prince who starts the war. He is a little coward with little honor, so it’s incomprehensible why Hector and his father, King Priam, keep defending him.
THE ILIAD takes place over ten years, but TROY compacts it to a matter of several weeks, and, in doing so, the characters’ motivations are radically simplified. Prince Paris is a blind and cowardly fool for love, King Priam heeds vague mystical signs over logical advice, Achilles, the most fierce warrior in the world, is undone by the first woman who does not fall at his feet, transforming one of literature’s immortal characters into a hoary cliché. One has to wonder how these characters are great conquerors when they are so simple-minded.
On the positive side, however, TROY contains some positive moral elements where the filmmakers extol heroism, integrity, and kindness over cowardice, greed, and cruelty. It is also interesting to note that Hector, the movie’s strongest hero, extols faith, family, and country in a couple major scenes, in that order.
Despite some gripping scenes, TROY tries to fit a lot into its two-and-a-half-hour running time and sometimes breaks momentum with some tedious, slow moving dialogue. A better script with sharper structure would have made this movie much better.
The characters repeatedly choose emotion over reason. They also pay respect to their false gods, appealing to Apollo and Zeus to help them through battles, although this is to be expected in a movie about Ancient Greece. Unnecessary are the several implied sex scenes, which reveal little of the characters’ natures but revel in gratuitous semi-nudity. There is a lot of strong battle violence with not too much gore. The acting is mostly standard. Despite some positive moral elements and several gripping moments, TROY tries to fit a lot into its two-and-a-half-hour running time, sometimes breaking momentum with tedious, slow moving dialogue. A better script with sharper structure would have helped.