Film Fare...with Mark Moorehead
General Audiences: B+
Cliffs Notes version of the epic battle between Greeks and Trojans in 1100 B.C. Carnage of warfare and hand-to-hand combat graphically depicted. No objectionable language. Brief nudity and sexuality.
Family Audience: Rated R
Not recommended for children of any age. Based on Homerís The Iliad, which describes each battle sequence in much more gruesome detail than what youíll see in the on-screen version.
Director Wolfgang Peterson pays homage to Homer and strikes a bullís-eye with Troy, a riveting and heart-pounding rendition of that most ancient war.
Peterson put his best foot forward by casting Brad Pitt as the famous warrior Achilles. Pitt electrifies the screen by the intensity of his scene-stealing performance.
From his first duel against a warrior giant to the last intimate scene with his captive Briseis, we find ourselves so engrossed that the filmís 2Ĺ hours flies by faster than a Trojan arrow.
Buffed to the max and agile as a cat, Pittís Achilles pounces on hapless warriors with swift, fatal blows that leave his comrades-in-arms in awe and veneration.
This guy is so good they think his mother was a God and worship him like a modern-day sports legend. However, Achilles is more than just a terminator with a big sword.
Wolfgang Petersonís vision of Achilles in Troy lies in stark contrast to the ďall-brawn-and-not-too-brightĒ Achilles portrayed two years ago in Universalís Helen of Troy.
In Petersonís Troy, Achilles reflects more accurately the brooding, complex, philosopher-warrior Homer described in The Iliad. He mocks the Gods, has nothing but distain for his own king and desires eternal fame more than anything else.
Yet he cares for the safety of his men more than his own life and watches over his younger cousin Patoclus like a father.
Helen (Diane Kruger), the face that launched a thousand ships, takes a back seat in Troy. Yes, sheís beautiful, but Krugerís character doesnít rouse the heart or the heart rate. Itís a mystery why Paris (Orlando Bloom), Prince of Troy, would risk the fate of his country for just another pretty face.
Likewise, weíre equally puzzled why Helen would risk her life for carnal bliss with the immature Paris. Bloom, who recently starred as Legolas in Lord of the Rings, picks up the bow again and changes his hair color.
However, shooting arrows into the air is all the two characters have in common. Legolas was fearless; Bloomís Paris is a wimp. Helen is left staring at Paris, shaking her head and regretting that last glass of ouzo she had before she left Sparta.
That, of course, is where the whole mess began. While visiting Sparta during a holiday bash, Paris meets Helen, the wife of Spartan King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), and seduces her. Paris likes her so much he takes her back to Troy to the consternation of his wise brother Hector (Eric Bana). Hector realizes Helenís abduction is an insult to the Spartan king and will be avenged. Menelaus convinces his brother Agamemnon, the powerful king holding sway over the rest of Greece, to assist him in stealing Helen back and restoring his pride.
Itís not long before the Greeks pour onto the shores of Troy like a scene out of D-Day.
Safe within the tall walls of Troy, Paris apologizes to his father King Priam (Peter OíToole) and offers to give himself up to the Greeks to avert war. Priam tells Paris not worry: the walls of Troy canít be breached. Priamís descendent no doubt