Troy Review

by Steve Rhodes (Steve DOT Rhodes AT InternetReviews DOT com)
May 12th, 2004

A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****): **

The beautiful people go to war in TROY. This Cecil B. DeMille-like epic motion picture, by AIR FORCE ONE's Wolfgang Petersen, stars Hollywood stars looking their most lovely. In the lead role of Achilles, Brad Pitt is buff, blonde and beautiful. With his dreamy, deep blue eyes and fantastic body, Pitt turns the Trojan War into something like the model contest in ZOOLANDER when Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson compete on the runway. Pitted against Brad's bod are THE LORD OF THE RINGS's Orlando Bloom as Paris and THE HULK's Eric Bana as Paris's brother Hector. They are both princes of Troy, where Peter O'Toole is the king.

Less well known and not quite as pretty as the men in the story, the actresses spend most of the movie with their mouths agape watching their men fight to the death. As "the face that launched a thousand ships," Diane Kruger plays Helen of Sparta. (The war is fought over a wandering wife after Queen Helen leaves Sparta to run off with Paris and live in Troy, hence her more well-known title of Helen of Troy. If you saw her husband, you might be tempted too.) Saffron Burrows plays Andromache, Hector's loyal wife. Finally, the ever-lovely Julie Christie plays Thetis, Achilles's mother.

Unless you've recently read "The Iliad," you'll be thinking "this is all Greek to me" for most of the first hour. But eventually you'll realize that you can forget all of the various groups and allegiances that the story tries to clue you in on. The long battle boils down to those fighting from behind Troy's walls and those fighting to get in. The movie, which could easily and more powerfully have been told in considerably less than two hours, goes on for almost three, making for one long and tiresome epic. As the various warriors slice and dice each other -- Achilles, the "greatest fighter in the world," appears to have learned some of his tricks by watching THE MATRIX -- we find that we just don't care. The actors never get beyond their Hollywood personas, so that, when they perish, we are completely unmoved. They'll be back in another blockbuster before we know it.

After his impressive 25TH HOUR debut, screenwriter David Benioff manages to dumb down a classic. In one of the many laughable lines, one of Achilles's men asks his master why he let Hector go without killing him. "It's too early in the day for killing princes," Achilles replies.

Only the music never disappoints. By Academy Award winner James Horner (TITANIC), the score is breathtaking without ever being overwhelming. The movie, one of the most expensive ever made, is pretty underwhelming, but it does work marvelously as a beauty pageant.

TROY runs considerably too long at 2:45. It is rated R for "graphic violence and some sexuality/nudity" and would be acceptable for teenagers. I've seen many more graphic films given a PG-13 rating so the MPAA surprised me again.
The film opens in most of the known world on Friday, May 14, 2004. In the Silicon Valley, it will be showing at the AMC theaters, the Century theaters and the Camera Cinemas. (A few countries outside of the U.S. will be getting the film a day or two earlier.)
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