Monday, May 17, 2004

.:A Primer:.

Notice that I now place a primer before any movie reviews. It helps to have a whole section dedicated to warning you that there will be spoilers in the next, particularly on Blogger, where I cannot possibly cut my post.

Anyways, my family watched Troy last night, and I have to say that the whole thing was more or less fun. We especially enjoyed seeing Nathan Jones in Brad Pitt's first fight scene, where he just stood and got killed after tossing a javelin. Heh. His lack of personality pretty much shows why he didn't make it too big in the WWE for the short time that he was there.

Our maid's name is Ate Helen. You can imagine how often we were snickering whenever Helen of Troy showed up onscreen... we never saw her the way we were supposed to see her.

In any case, you know I'll be reviewing Troy today, and as you all know, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

.:Movie Revie: Troy:.


A star-studded cast, an epic of... epic proportions. What more can filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen ask for?

Oh, I don't know. Maybe just a wee bit more masculinity from Orlando Bloom?

Troy is an undeified recounting of the Trojan War, completely ignoring any acts of divine intervention found in Homer's account of the said war. While the whole war is generally regarded as fictional, it is believed to have had a valid war as inspiration for the story. We all know how the story goes, except that instead of Golden Apples, Paris simply spirits Helen of Sparta away after having forged an alliance with Sparta. Of course, such an act is plainly idiotic and deceitful, but there you go. And of course, Paris excpects his brother, Hector (Eric Bana), to fight this war on his behalf. Trust me. He can deny it all he wants, but he excepted Hector to save his hide from getting flayed by Menelaus, husband of Helen, king of Sparta.

Meanwhile in Greece, King Agamemnon has succeeded in conquering all of Greece and unifying it under his rule. His greatest fighter, Achilles (Brad Pitt) treats him with disdain over his lack of decorum and spinelessness in hardly ever participating in battle. This gap between him prevents Agamemnon from maximizing Achilles' potential. The king has his eyes set upon Troy, and was disappointed when his brother, Menelaus, formed an alliance with it. He found delight in having known that Helen deserted Menelaus in favor of Paris, which he found as ample cause to start war.

And so the war happens, and we see that in the end, Greece is victorious, but Ajax, arguably the strongest man next only to Hercules, was killed by Hector. Achilles' cousin, Patroclus, who impersonated Achilles, was killed by Hector after falling for the duplicity. Then, Hector was promptly slain by Achilles. The scene between Priam and Achilles when the former asked for Hector's body was very endearing. Achilles didn't want to allow Hector any proper funeral rights, but upon prodding, he had to accede to Priam, and even showed mutual respect to one another, including a twelve-day truce.

Achilles was slain by Paris during the siege of Troy, which involved the obvious Trojan horse. In any case, the irony was that Paris, who refused to die an honorable death in his battle with Menelaus, ended up being the one to take Achilles down. I don't think any illusions of immortality were levelled upon Achilles in the film, as he simply commented on the allegation that he "wouldn't need any shield" if that were the case. Still, he was struck at the heel. Both Agamemnon and Priam ended up dead in the final battle.

I liked the production design. Their costumes were elaborate enough to show key differences in armor, weaponry, and the like between the different Grecian states and Troy. They had quite an eye for detail, and though the premise for the war was clearly annoying (It's not that they're fighting over a woman, which is sexist if I were to say that. It's that they were fighting over wounded pride, more than anything else. Knowing Menelaus' piggish attitude, it could've been a cow and he'd still have a cow over it and start a war.), it's not like they invented this story, anyway.

The dialogue was crisp enough. You can't blame them for being sappy, considering how they simply followed the original for the most part. With that being said, I wasn't a big fan of the downtime in between action. Whether it be a love scene or a tender moment between brothers, I really would rather not be bothered with it. The action was excellent. Nothing like seeing skilled fighters go medieval on one another, given the kind of technology they were limited to. That jumping move of Achilles' was a nice touch.

But what didn't work for me simply was the downtime. Anytime you show Paris and Hector having a bonding session on the film, you can't help but mutter, "How gay!" Let's face it: Orlando Bloom is extremely... effeminate, and it really ruins the whole feel of the film. Even Patroclus and Achilles had moments like that. I perfectly understand why Ronan thinks Troy is "a gay movie trying to be straight". Makes sense to me, truth be told. It would've been a bit interesting if the gods did intervene in the battle all the same, but I guess personifying the gods would make them lose their effect in this case, as unless they make these gods very... godlike (Read: even more SFX.), then they don't stand a chance of standing out from guys like Hector and Achilles.

This movie will unlikely go down as an all-time classic, in spite of its subject matter. Nonetheless, it's a good film. I really enjoyed the action, and the drama within the war was very well-placed. The technical aspect of the film was top-notch, and it was even better than how I enjoyed the film. If you didn't mind Frodo and Sam getting it on in Lord of the Rings, then I guess you'd like Troy all the same.

Marcelle's "Fun" Evaluation: B+
Marcelle's "Critical" Evaluation: A-

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