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Troy (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition) (2004)

A movie directed by Wolfgang Petersen

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Troy: The Action Movie!

  • Sep 6, 2008
Rating:
+1
Pros: Onslaught of action, sheer scope

Cons: Extremely stupid. Doesn't require the attention span of a typical epic

The Bottom Line: Were the 2004 Trojans the best team ever?

Troy, when it was released, proved to be Orlando Bloom’s latest step in what is apparently becoming an inexplicable – not to mention completely doomed – quest to become the next Charlton Heston. Take a quick glance at his movie resume so far: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Kingdom of Heaven, and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Troy is just another overblown epic to add to that list, and it may very well prove to be Bloom’s undoing in his odd attempt to fill in the larger-than-life Heston’s shoes. The best we can do is wish him luck. While Bloom is certainly a better actor than Heston, he lack’s Heston’s enormous and masculine screen presence. Furthermore, what happens to his character in Troy during his big fight scene is something nobody EVER would have let happen to Heston in a movie. It may be just enough to convince Bloom to go for more small-time fare.



That Bloom has the name “Orlando Bloom” doesn’t help matters very much. That his character in Troy shares his name with an infamous and obscenely rich real-life hotel heiress is another deathblow. And his most effective weapon in Troy is the nice, safe bow and arrow, like it was in Lord of the Rings. However, I will give Bloom all the credit in the world for stealing the gorgeous Helen of Sparta, which kicks off one of the more impressive wars seen in history. Bloom’s character, Paris, steals Helen from her Spartan hubby, one of those men who seems to think being drunken, loud, rude, and violent is the same as being masculine. When the husband finds out what happened to his wife, Greece launches a massive war against Troy in order to get Helen back. But his motives for wanting Helen back don’t revolve around him missing her. He just wants to snap her neck himself for running out with prissy-boy.



It’s not as if the Greeks who participate in the war don’t have other motives for invading Troy. Some are just imperialists looking for the next logical place to jump. A major character in the movie, legendary Greek warrior Achilles, is an individualist whom Ayn Rand never could have written any better. Achilles is valuable to the Greek army because he’s the greatest fighter on the planet. He’s roundly hated by many of the officers who are in charge of the Greeks. His only reason for fighting is because he wants to be there when Homer etches the war in stone.



I hope this sounds like fun. Troy tries to be a massive, meaningful epic along the lines of Sparticus or Lawrence of Arabia or Gladiator. But it really isn’t. Troy is just a typical summer action movie wearing too much eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick. It is directed by Wolfgang “director of the classic Das Boot” Peterson. About the only big epic movie actor not appearing in it is Charlton Heston. Aside from Orlando Bloom, the cast of Troy includes big epic marquee names like Brad Pitt (who has made an epic or two in his day), Brian Cox, and Peter O’Toole (who gave the greatest epic performance ever in Lawrence of Arabia). Eric Bana, a fine actor himself, lends his likeness to Peterson’s Troy as Paris’s big brother Hector. His performance is easily the best in the movie, and he gets an awesome one-on-one fight scene between his Hector and Pitt’s Achilles.



The battle and action scenes are amazing to watch, but Peterson doesn’t give a whole lot of thought to actually taking sides. The Trojans basically started the war because they were the ones with the gall to kidnap Spartan royalty. But it’s the Greeks who come off as the dastardly ones, a group of loud, obnoxious people who really don’t seem to give a crap about anything except their own power. Achilles is a mysterious entity of his very own, constantly renouncing his loyalty to his own king and asserting himself as his own ruler. Maybe I’m just not seeing this the way it’s meant to be seen, but I had a lot of problems figuring out just which side I’m supposed to be supporting. I did like Achilles, kind of. I can certainly respect his ideas of being his own person, despite the extreme he took it to. But there is an affair between Achilles and a Trojan royal which I didn’t buy into because the hate in this love/hate relationship won out most of the time.



Those epic buffs looking for those wonderful ancient schemers in the vein of the Roman Senators in the movies will be disappointed. Motives in Troy are given a real kid treatment and they’re just transparent as the television screen you’ll be using to watch Troy on. The Trojans are all portrayed as light warriors, proud people who go to fight for noble, purposeful causes. The characters in Troy all give you what you see. The practical upshot of this is that there are no unnecessary chats in Troy. The bare-boned characters and lack of talking give way to a lot of pretty visuals and spectacular battle sequences. You get to sit through a lot of sword-swinging and bloodshed at a rate which would satisfy most hardcore action movie nuts. Director Peterson really knows how to field marshall all the chaos happening on the set of a large-scale epic, so the direction is simply jaw-dropping.



I’ve never read The Iliad, so there’s a chance I may be wrong about this. But one thing I noticed about Troy is that the great war between Greece and Troy is supposed to have lasted ten years. In the movie, there’s probably less than six months between Paris stealing Helen and the burning of Troy. I wonder what gives. However, Troy isn’t meant to be a meditation about the harsh realities of a ten-year war. It’s just meant to show actors collecting large paychecks and having a little bit of fun in the process. It’s as stupid as any Die Hard flick. Great popcorn material.





Recommended:
Yes

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More Troy reviews
review by . April 30, 2009
If you liked the recent King Arthur or the Lord of the Rings movies, you should like this one. Everything about it was excellent from the cinematography, to the acting, with excellent action. The battle between Hector and Achilles is epic. Peter O'Toole is excellent, in probably his best role in years.     The makers took great liberties changing the story around from the myth with great success. Having known about the Trojan horse and how everything was going to work out in …
review by . December 13, 2008
In recent times, Hollywood has sparked a renewed interest in the great epics of ancient Greece.  May 14th of 2004 brought the release of Troy starring Brad Pitt.  Before this, there were countless miniseries, movies, and TV shows, both accurately and inaccurately, depicting the mythological life of Homer's great epic heroes.  Included among these was a wonderful NBC mini-series called The Odyssey, which, in fact, covered both of the poems of Homer to some extent.  There is a …
review by . May 05, 2009
good!war story
review by . November 17, 2008
If "Camelot" is the romanticized version of "King Arthur", then "The Iliad" went through an extreme makeover for "Troy".     There are enough pretty faces to launch several thousand ships, and I'm not even talking about Helen here. The main attractions are ripped biceps, chiseled chins, sculpted chests and smooth, bronzed legs.     This is another arrow-full movie, with lots of big battle scenes and gritty hand-to-hand combat, but be warned that an entire …
review by . February 27, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
If you liked the recent King Arthur or the Lord of the Rings movies, you should like this one. Everything about it was excellent from the cinematography, to the acting, with excellent action. The battle between Hector and Achilles is epic. Peter O'Toole is excellent, in probably his best role in years.     The makers took great liberties changing the story around from the myth with great success. Having known about the Trojan horse and how everything was going to work out in …
review by . February 01, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Based loosely on Homer's Iliad, this film recreates the Trojan war in telescoped form, compressing a decade and more of momentous events into a few weeks of political maneuvering and a few days of outright fighting. It succeeds in a variety of ways.     It creates an authentic seeming eastern Mediterranean bronze age world, not infected by the latter day Greece of classical times (which is more familiar to us), and thereby establishes a convincing cultural backdrop for the decisions …
review by . May 29, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Spectacular battle scene, Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Achilles.      Cons: Omission of Greek gods directly effecting events detracts from the story.     The Bottom Line: Troy the movie is spectacular. And while the story does not remain true to what Homer penned some 3,000 years ago, it does offer plenty of engaging, old-fashioned action.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Like most children …
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Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #19
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Wiki

There are many reasons to recommendTroyas a good ol' fashioned Hollywood epic, especially if you've never read Homer'sThe Iliad. Dispensing with Greek gods altogether, this earnestly massive production (budgeted at upwards of $200 million) will surely offend historians and devoted students of the classics (for them, there's theHistory Channel's Troy). But there's politics aplenty in the grand-scale war that erupts when Trojan prince Paris (Orlando Bloom) makes off with Helen (blandly beautiful German model Diane Kruger), wife of Spartan ruler Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), whose brother, the Greek king Agamemnon (Brian Cox) prods him into enraged retaliation. Greek warrior Achilles (Brad Pitt) brings lethal force to his battles (and there are many of them, mostly impressive), and his Trojan counterpart, Paris's brother Hector (Eric Bana), adds even more buffed-up beefcake to a film so chock-full o' hunks that there's barely room for Peter O'Toole (doing fine work as Trojan king Priam) and even less for Julie Christie, appearing ever-so-briefly as Achilles's melancholy mother. The drama is nearly as arid as the sun-baked locations (Mexico and Malta) that stand in for the Aegean coast, and many critics suggested that Pitt (who valiantly tries to give Achilles some tormented dimension) was simply miscast. But when you consider that Wolfgang Petersen also madeThe Perfect Storm, there's nothing wrong with enjoyingTroyas a semi-guilty ...
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Details

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Genre: Action, Adventure, Foreign, War
DVD Release Date: January 4, 2005
Runtime: 163 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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