Written on: 24/05/2004 by Vasilis (1 review written)
Great action sequences. No re-tread feeling about any of the battle scenes. Brilliant performances from Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Brian Cox and Sean Bean. And also an incredible performance from the old master Peter 'O' Toole. Every shot fresh with stunning scenery. Great soundtrack, awesome score. 1st class entertainment.
Not the best performance from Orlando Bloom. Some historical inaccuracies (Paris and Helen did not escape), though the film is only based on the Iliad and should be considered on its own merits.
Troy has a great opening sequence narrated by Sean Bean, who plays Greek warrior Odysseus. Stunning visuals keep the viewer hooked while also showing originality in many of the scenes.
As for the feel of the film, Petersen has done a remarkable job in visualising Homer's world. From the detailed costumes and weapons to the impressive reconstruction of Troy itself, everything has a remarkably authentic and textured feel. With CGI used in tandem and realistically with good old-fashioned stunt-work, the battle scenes easily rival anything Peter Jackson's 'The Lord Of The Rings' trilogy managed to conjure up.
Evoking a similar feeling to the opening of Saving Private Ryan, Petersen manages particularly to capture the terror of fighting on the beaches when arrows, spears and swords are flying at you in all directions. Added to this, the film has what Lord Of The Rings lacked - a series of jaw-dropping one-on-one duels performed by the actors, rather than stuntmen and scenes -a- plenty of great screen acting and character development.
Despite being a lengthy, yet appropriate 163 minutes, Petersen paces the film expertly. With the film dominated neither by action nor dramatic scenes, he ensures there's time to become involved with all the major characters, and he shows no bias towards either warring side. (Though Brian Cox's character, Agamemnon was perhaps wrongly portrayed as a bit of a war-mongerer).
This brings us to the film's high point - the cast. There's not a bad apple in the barrel here, although Orlando Bloom turns in the film's weakest performance. If you can get over blond-haired, blue-eyed Pitt playing a Greek, you'll be fine. (In the Iliad, Achilles is described as having yellow hair) He is, after all, portraying a legend-in-his-own-time, and who better to fit that role? In perfect physical condition, Pitt conquers the combat scenes with ease. That he masters the dialogue with similar skill comes as more of a surprise.
With the likes of O'Toole, Cox and Gleeson adding nobility and stature to proceedings, other standouts include Bana, who gets better with every film. Only Kruger, as Helen, appears to be overawed by the importance of her role - though given that she's playing the woman whose face launched a thousand ships, perhaps that's understandable.
With Benioff's script toying with the relationship of man to war ("We men are wretched things," notes Achilles), the contemporary resonance is not lost on the audience. This is a film of unprecedented scale and deservedly presides at the top of the movie spectrum alongside classics such as Gladiator. While Petersen's Troy may not last as long as 'The Iliad' in the memory, the chances are it will be remembered for some time to come.
In a time when 'epic' has become a lazy prefix to any large-scale film, Petersen's effort truly deserves the label; not only for its startling battle scenes but also for a series of powerful performances by three generations of world class actors.
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