A review of Troy *Spoilers!*

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A review of Troy *Spoilers!*

Postby Curio Agelastus on Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:24 pm

Salvete omnes,

Ok, I was brave/stupid enough to go see this movie, and having just got back, I decided to warn the rest of you. Don't see this movie unless you want to spend the whole time with your mouth agape in horror. Be warned, I give away important plot devices in this review.

The inaccuracies are many and startlingly amateur. However, I'm no expert, so feel free to correct me. Starting with the historical:
Many of the warriors seem to be equipped with iron, which was actually a rarity in the Mycenaean age (called the Bronze Age for a reason, folks!)
The warriors on both sides ride horses. Now I could be wrong, but I thought the common consensus was that the art of horse-riding was unknown to the Mycenaens, and that horses were used to pull chariots (which did also feature in the film).

Now the less forgivable errors, most of which appear to have been done to facilitate the plot. (Surprise, surprise!)
Hektor is on the original voyage to Sparta, so that he can have an argument with Paris about his taking Helen to Troy.
In the beginning, Agamemnon is marching to subdue the Thessalians (Which is fair enough, we can't be *certain* that he didn't) and they settle the manner with a duel of champions. That's right, the Greek champion is Achilles, who was a THESSALIAN! He was the son of the Thessalian High King! And the Thessalian High King, Peleus, didn't even know him!
Helen, late in the film, says "Sparta is not my home. I was sent there when I was 16 to marry Menelaus, but it was never my home." Oh dear, Sparta was in fact her home, and Menelaus became its ruler because he married her, after Tyndareus' death.
The first ship to reach the beach is Achilles' whereas actually it was the ship of Iolaos who reached the beach of Troy first.
Achilles meets Ajax for the first time on the beach at Troy - given that they were cousins, I consider this somewhat unlikely.
Patrokles and Aineas are both portrayed as raw youths, whereas IIRC Patrokles was the same age as Achilles, and Aineas was not the rosy-cheeked shepherd boy that the film makes him.

However, these are more minor points compared to the rest:
Menelaus dies on the second day! That's right he wounds Paris in the duel, and then gets killed by Hektor! WHAT! :evil:
Ajax also dies on the second day, killed by Hektor after an admittedly very good duel. Again, WHAT! :o
Patrokles and Aineas are both portrayed as raw youths, whereas IIRC Patrokles was the same age as Achilles, and Aineas was not the rosy-cheeked shepherd boy that the film makes him.
The whole war seems to last little more than a couple of weeks - I know they had to condense the action but that's going a bit too far...
Agamemnon is made into the evil villain - I'll never be an Agamemnon fan, but I think they went too far to make him into the villain of the piece.
This is however a subjective point.
Less subjective is the fact that Achilles and Paris both survive to reach the sack of Troy! Paris only kills Achilles in Troy itself! And Paris seems to survive the whole thing! :shock:

Also subjectively, I think Sean Bean, though he made a very good effort, wasn't right as Odysseus, and Helen and Paris were both too remorseful for the carnage they had brought on Troy. But again that's just a matter of opinion, and the points mentioned above are much more serious.

In summary, this film is a crock of shit. If you go and see it, look out for the fight sequences, some of which are very well done. The rest of it is bullshit, despite several good actors doing well in the roles given to them. (Especially Hektor and Odysseus.)

Bene valete,
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Postby Quintus Pomponius Atticus on Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:48 pm

Salve Curio,

I always wonder why scriptwriters need to 'mould' the story of the book they want to adapt for the screen. Anyway, the fault isn't Homer's. He wrote one of the greatest and coincidentally - in my opinion - one of the most 'cinematic' in the history of literature.

A minor remark then. You wrote :

Many of the warriors seem to be equipped with iron, which was actually a rarity in the Mycenaean age (called the Bronze Age for a reason, folks!)


Yes, but here they are perhaps committing a 'historical anachronism'. Homeros himself, accidentally we may presume, mixed up elements from the age he was describing and the one he was living in himself. One of those details philologists gloated at finding was the fact that he mentioned iron. The question of course remains whether the scriptwriters had any notion of this, or simply commited Homer's error again :wink:

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:48 pm

Salve Curio

I went to see the movie myself a couple of weeks ago and the errors didn't bother me that much because I alreadu knew that this movie was inspired by the Illiad, not based upon. So in a way, they had free reign to do with it, what they want. And this is the result of it.
In a way I hope that this movie will inspire people to read the Illiad on their own, instead of making the mistake that the movie is the Illiad on screen. And I suspect that there will be people who don't bother themselves to read the Illiad.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sat Jun 05, 2004 11:21 pm

Salvete Attice et Romule,

Attice, I agree completely about the Iliad. The above review is no slur on the qualities of the Iliad, merely on the recent film. Yes, Homer mentioned iron, but then as they say, Homer did nod occasionally. The scriptwriters of this movie, to continue the metaphor, woke up only occasionally.

Romule, yes it was inspired by rather than based on the Iliad, but there was no need to make the sweeping changes they did. They didn't even do anything with the deaths of Menelaus or Ajax, so they basically mutilated the Iliad for no good reason.

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Jun 05, 2004 11:27 pm

Salve Curio

Its Hollywood. Unless it is a real dark movie or a horror movie, the bad guys will either be killed or imprisoned. And here it is no exception to the rule. Must people want to go out of the cinema with a good feeling that the bad guys lost or died while i'm more of the opposite. :D
That they mutilated the Illiad, is a fact. But what are you going to do about it? Its part of our Western society, so they could do what they want with it. If they did the same thing with the life of Christ, oh boy. Now that would be a crappy movie although to me, most biblical themed moves are crappy.
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sat Jun 05, 2004 11:46 pm

Salve Romule,

Certainly Hollywood can be relied upon to mutilate movies, I guess I just didn't expect such a blatant mutilation. (I mean, Menelaus DYING at Troy?) Yeah I prefer to see the good lose in films, it strikes me as more realistic.

My indifference to Biblical films is well-shown by the fact that I neither went to see nor cared about the controversy that was the Passion of the Christ.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:07 am

If anyone wants to see a really good Wolfgang Petersen movie, watch "das Boot" instead. A masterpiece.

Well, although I share some of Curio's criticism, I do see it in a different light. Look at my thoughts here: http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2 ... .php?t=711

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:17 am

Salve Draco,

You say in your review that Agamemnon was perhaps the most faithful to the Iliad. I disagree - I think Odysseus was quite well done, even if Sean Bean was the wrong man for the role. (But he didn't do badly) I didn't like the way Agamemnon was made into the supervillain to be honest.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:16 am

Salve Curio,

Yes, Sean Bean is a good actor but he was miscast. I was looking for a horn of Gondor dangling from his thorax.

Agamemnon *is* pretty villainous in the Iliad as well. He never apologises to Achilleus although he has wronged him, he wants to go on with the war at all costs and shows no respect for religion. Plus, he was not entirely evil, not in the movie and not in the Iliad. He didn't have the typical evil supervillain laughter or the grand scheme to conquer The World. If he was a real villain, he would have killed Menelaos and took Helena for himself ;).

Unfortunately, he was married to her sister. But that's another story of course.

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sun Jun 06, 2004 10:55 pm

Salve Draco,

Well yes Agamemnon is somewhat villainous in the Iliad, but I thought they overdid it somewhat in the film. What irritated me more in a way was in fact the heroism of Paris and Helen, both of whom are depicted in a far more shallow light by Homer than the remorseful characters in the film. Perhaps this is why Agamemnon comes across worse than he should do - in the Iliad the blame is laid upon several shoulders, whereas in the film the remorse both Helen and Paris show is contrasted with the general bastardliness of Agamemnon.

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Postby Anonymous on Sun Jun 06, 2004 11:21 pm

Salve Curio,

Probably because audiences today are not deemed intelligent enough to "get" truly nuanced characters...everything must be either Good or Bad. Another example is Achilles and Patroklus; in the Iliad, it's pretty clear that they were lovers, but in "Troy" they're...uhhh...cousins? Which pretty much undermines the whole foundation of Achilles' tremendous rage and his reason to act as a catalyst to get back into the war...

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Jun 07, 2004 12:18 am

Salve Cato,

That's true, films are simplified today. Patrokles and Achilles were cousins, either blood or adoptive, I forget which. However, as you say, they were also lovers into the bargain.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:16 pm

I did think the homo-flea-ridden tension between Achilleus and Patroklos was there in the movie as well.

As for Helena and Paris, you're absolutely right though. They didn't really care for what they had done.

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