Review: Helene of Troy

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Review: Helene of Troy

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun May 30, 2004 8:32 pm

Salvete

A while back I saw the miniseries called Helen of Troy in the videostore and i rented it. On the Hellenic Pagan Yahoo! group there was much discussion about the miniseries and about Troy, recently. I'm sure this will happen to when projects like the adaption of the Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield comes of the ground or the movie Alexander.
Anyway, I heard alot of criticism of putting in biblical references, and all. I didn't notice them, but than again I have to watch it several times before I might see it. Here we do have Cassandra as a seer to whom nobody listens. The gods do seem to appear in one scene, where Paris meets the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aprodite. It was a good move to leave the gods out of the war, but yet the influences of the gods, the decisions they make, and all, are mentioned. Maybe not directly, but its there. And more in here than in Troy. Historically, there might be things wrong with it, but that's okay. They weren't making a historical movie, only an adaption of the Illiad which was more or less fiction. Here we see the Achilles we saw in Troy. Here we saw a rather young Menelaus, young that the Troy version, and more likeable. There is even true love between Menelaus and Helene and between Helene and Paris. Ofcourse I personally liked the Menelaus in Troy more than here. Agamemnon do come off as a evil person who even rapes Helene. But Agamemnon does die in Troy like in the movie Troy, but not by the hands of Briseis but more by the hands of his own wife Clytemenastra who kills him while he's taken a bath out of spike for raping her sister and killing their daughter. Even though she was sacrificed to Artemis, Artemis did not jump in. I don't recall it, but I doubt that Clytemenastra really liked her younger sister. I recall something about rivalry between the sisters in mythology. To be honest, i liked the Odysseus in the miniseries the Odyssey beter than the one in Troy or in Helene of Troy.
If the Helene in Helene of Troy was the face that launched a thousands ships, well, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be one of them. But this is usually a problem for filmmakers to find an actrice suitable to play Helene. Concerning Menelaus, he does die in Troy, but Helen is carried of to Greece along with other slaves but not before seeing her loved one in a dream. I think that this might be a biblical reference, but you have to see it for yourself to judge it.
What else is there to say. A great story, stayed closer to the Illiad, but I didn't like the way the actors brought the characters on screen. I didn't root for anyone, but was glad to see most of them die on screen. I was glad that they stayed more closer to the Illiad than the blockbuster movie Troy. It might be good to watch if you have nothing else to do.
A 5 out of 10
valete optime
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Mon May 31, 2004 3:21 pm

Salve Romule,

I was intrigued by your mention of a screen adaptation of Gates of Fire. Can you tell me more about it? (My business client loves the book, and it would be a feather in my hat if I could give him the good news about a movie coming out). Tibi gratias ago!

Tergestus

P.S. I thought the book (he gave me a copy) was mediocre.
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon May 31, 2004 3:43 pm

Salve Tergeste

On Yahoo! movies, you can find information about it. A search on yahoo! about "Gates of Fire" will lead you to that movie page. Its mostly about rumors who will be in the cast and George Clooney's name does pop up.
Check it out yourself. There isn't much availeble on this project.
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Another draft of my Helene of Troy review

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:49 pm

Salvete

A while back I saw the miniseries called Helen of Troy in the videostore and i rented it. On the Hellenic Pagan Yahoo! group there was much discussion about the miniseries and about Troy, recently. I'm sure this will happen to when projects like the adaptation of the Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield comes of the ground or the movie Alexander.
Anyway, I heard allot of criticism of putting in biblical references, and all. I didn't notice them, but than again I have to watch it several times before I might see it. Everyone knows the story. Paris falls in love with Helene and takes her with him to Troy. From there on, the war begins that last for 10 years. Among the cast there is the superb actor John Rhys-Davis (Gimli and Treebeard in Lord of the Rings trilogy who plays Priamos), James Callis (also know as prince Ahmed from arabian Nigths and Aspyrtes from the 2000 Jason and the Argonauts remak) who plays Menelaus and manages to come of as a loveable character even though he’s not so adorable in the Illiad. Than we have Maryam D’abo, a former Bond girl who plays Queen Hecuba. The actors and actresses who portray Helene, Cassandra, Theseus, Hector, etc... are mostly unknown which is okay so the expectations aren’t that big. All in all, this seem to be a remake of the 1956 Helen of Troy. I haven’t seen it so I can’t judge it, only the remake.
The miniseries start with the birth of Alexandros/ Paris where Cassandra tells her father that he will be the reason why Troy will burn. The king, who believes his daughter, order his men to take the child and to abandon it in the mountains. For a Hollywood production, they stayed true to the story, but it didn’t take that long to see that this remake does have a younger version of Agamemnon, Menelaus, etc… as young men while in the Illiad they were more or less middle aged. Or Paris who is more courageous than in the Illiad. But the real twist here is that the producers changed the story a bit. The abduction of Helene may have started the war, in the Illiad it was never the real reason why the Greeks went to war with the Trojans. Here she is given as the reason why. What is also noticeable is that they let Menelaus fell in love with Helene from the moment he saw her. Here we find a similar circumstance where the betrayed husband/ boyfriend seeks out his wife/ girlfriend and her lover. James Callis did what he could with what was presented to him, like all the other actors. To have a good movie, means that the audiences must like the characters on screen, I found myself rooting for the Greeks when they sacked Troy. I couldn’t bring myself to root for anyone in the movie. John Rhys- Davis is usually a good actor, but here, he seems to have worked with very little to give a underrated performance. Here we do have Cassandra as a seer to whom nobody listens. The gods do seem to appear in one scene, where Paris meets the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aprodite. It was a good move to leave the gods out of the war, but yet the influences of the gods, the decisions they make, and all, are mentioned. Maybe not directly, but its there. And more in here than in Troy. Historically, there might be things wrong with it, but that's okay. They weren't making a historical movie, only an adaptation of the Illiad which was more or less fiction.
If I were to compare Helen of Troy with the summer blockbuster movie Troy, I would say that Troy is better because there you don’t even have to mind the errors. The producers of Troy wanted to present a version of the Trojan War, that was inspired by the Illiad but was more or less placed in time to bring a semi- historical movie.
I personally liked the Menelaus in Troy more than here. Agamemnon do come off as a evil person who even rapes Helene. But Agamemnon does die in Troy like in the movie Troy, but not by the hands of Briseis but more by the hands of his own wife Clytemenastra who kills him while he's taken a bath out of spike for raping her sister and killing their daughter. Even though she was sacrificed to Artemis, Artemis did not jump in. I don't recall it, but I doubt that Clytemenastra really liked her younger sister. I recall something about rivalry between the sisters in mythology. To be honest, i liked the Odysseus in the miniseries the Odyssey better than the one in Troy or in Helene of Troy. I think Sienna Guillory was maybe not the right actress to portray but neither was Diane Kruger in Troy.
The problem filmmakers face is to find an actress suitable to play Helene. Concerning Menelaus, he does die in Troy, but Helen is carried of to Greece along with other slaves but not before seeing her loved one in a dream. I think that this might be a biblical reference, but you have to see it for yourself to judge it.
What else is there to say. A great story stayed closer to the Illiad, but I didn't like the way the actors brought the characters on screen. I didn't root for anyone, but was glad to see most of them die on screen. But than I was glad that they stayed closer to the Illiad than the blockbuster movie Troy. It might be good to watch if you have nothing else to do or want to test your knowledge of the Illiad.
A 5 out of 10
valete optime

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Postby Anonymous on Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:33 am

I saw "Helene of Troy" recently. A very decent flick, i liked it. The history here is more related with the Illiada than the movie Troy, and this Helena is a bit pretier than in the movie (but the Achilles is far worse, not only completely bald but a very bad actor).
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Postby Anonymous on Tue Jul 20, 2004 4:12 am

Troy without Eris? Again?! Do the damned moviemakers think Eris is unimportant or what? It's like making a movie about the Bible and leaving out Moses (or someone that started it all, my biblical knowledge has dwindled over the years)! Eris started it all!

Hail Eris! All hail Discordia!
*goes off and sulks in the corner*

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:02 pm

Quite frankly if "Helen of Troy" manages to kill off Paris like it should do and let Menelaus survive, and create a Helen who isn't a remorseful heroine, then I'll be happy and I won't write terrible reviews of it like I did of "Troy". Having not seen "Helen of Troy", however, I expect you're about to tell me that Paris does indeed survive, and that Odysseus is killed by a two-headed Angolan tortoise?
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