Wednesday, May 26, 2004

POPCORN REVIEWS: Two Sides to Storming "Troy"

Troy: 7/10 by Scarlett & 4/10 by D

Troy, minus the wooden horse and arrow through the heel, bared little resemblance to The Illiad, Homer's epic poem. That with standing, Peterson, delivered an exciting epic in now standard obscene proportions (thank you LOTR and Matrix Revolutions). Peterson's adaptation focuses more on the showdown between Achilles and Hector than Odysseus. Troy also focuses on a battle of men verses a battle of the god's on the playing field of men. In fact, the gods were constantly mocked. Priam's (Peter I don't get what all the hype is about O'Toole) devout belief is pin pointed as the tragic flaw and cause of the fall of Troy (Mr. Bush anyone?). In fact, for many thousands of years, all but the Greeks believed this story a myth, only in the passed century was it proven to be history. As with all history, the facts are simply decoration to grand stories of motivation, glory, and faith. Yes there is war between Sparta (and the other Greek's) and the Trojans ignited by a woman... yes there is a large wooden horse... yes, there is also a showdown of heroes. And while the names remain the same, and actual plot points, the "why" is what is different. When telling a story of war, the why makes all the difference.

The casting of this movie was quite odd. While Eric Bana shines as Hector and Brad Pitt glistens (literally) as Achilles the rest of the cast is quite odd. Orlando Bloom seems only cast as Paris because Peter Jackson had him superbly trained as an archer for his role of Legelos in the Lord of the Rings. Paris's most important role in the story is to strike down Achilles with an arrow. I see Peterson watching LOTR and thinking, "that actor really knows how to uses a bow... i shall make him Paris." Bloom must refrain from taking roles that involve him to use a bow and arrow for at least 5 years... preferably longer. (Fingers crossed in Kingdom of Heaven he weilds a sword) Paris should be more sleazy than pretty, more weak, greedy, and slimy than heroic (think Jude Law)... but this isn't The Illiad.

The biggest casting flaw is that of Diane Kruger, who certainly is not a "face that launched a thousand ships" as Helen of Troy is historically known. When casting for a woman known as the most beautiful woman in the history of the world, Miss Kruger is not who comes to mind. It's not that she isn't beautiful, it's that she is nothing on screen. In fact, throughout this film she seems to be channeling Lelei Sobieski more than Helen of Troy. My number one pick for Helen, Charlize Theron. The lady must look like a goddess, glow like an angel, and radiate lust. Diane Kruger is not that lady, even her co-star, Saffron Burrows, would have made a much better bombshell than Miss Kruger.

With an epic story, ancient history, and glowing bodies, Troy lives somewhere between Ben Hur and Caligula. While the story stucture has an odd flow, and there is no loyal tie to The Illiad, Troy, overall, is worth the polyester celluloid it's printed on and the cost of a ticket. 7/10

Diane Kruger's lackluster Helen of Troy

As for Darren: 4/10

Even with an impressive cast and crew, this is a standard and energyless retelling of The Iliad. Featuring dull just-about-everything, from the cliched script to the "we're here for our paycheck" acting. Though it boasts three fine specimens of man candy, all have looked better in other films: Pitt in everything else, Bana in Black Hawk Down and Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean. Credit either the makeup or cinematography. Only one scene livens things up: the fight between Achilles and Hector. Everything else lacks, ahem, muscle. Aussie Bana is the hottest man in the cast, far outhotting the "woah dude" Achilles Pitt plays, and the "why am I here?" Bloom. Diane Kruger is pretty, but nothing out of the ordinary. Shoulda gone with someone like Uma Thurman, Kate Winslet or Angelina Jolie. I was really looking forward to this over Alexander but now I think that film will be far superior. And was that the score from Jaws I heard in the one scene. Jeez, so much for fresh storytelling.


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