Wednesday 26th January 2022

Troy (15)
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
The Trojans learns to be wary of Greeks bearing gifts
The Trojans learns to be wary of Greeks bearing gifts

Hundreds of years ago a bright fellow called Homer (not Simpson) sat down and wrote a couple of books detailing the legends of ancient Greece. Now, not for the first time, Hollywood is having a go at turning The Iliad into the summer's biggest blockbuster.

Most people know the story of Helen of Troy at its most basic, but for those who don't, it starts a bit like this: Paris, a young prince of Troy (Orlando Bloom), falls in love with Helen (model-turned-actress Diane Kruger), who is already married to the King of Sparta. Paris elopes with Helen to Troy and gets his brother Hector (Eric Bana) and the rest of Troy to defend him against everybody else in Greece, especially the fierce Achilles (Brad Pitt).

The most obvious thing to note when comparing this film to the original story is that director Wolfgang Peterson (The Perfect Storm, Outbreak) has left out any involvement of the Greek Gods. In The Iliad we learn that most of the events are caused by one or more Gods being vengeful, supportive or just mucking around with each other. Instead, Troy attempts to make the fantastical feasible, but the result is that the moral of the story is lost or at best reduced.

When you add to this the typical Hollywood urge to alter the plot to fit the standard template, the story becomes even further removed, with several characters being added or altered and the bad guys getting their comeuppance at the end.

Brad Pitt's character really encapsulates the strengths and weaknesses of this film. Traditionally, Achilles is a murderous psychopath who manages to irritate Apollo by, amongst other things, killing one of his sons. It seems like they have really tried to capture this in Troy too, but at the same time he is portrayed as honourable, rational and merciful. It feels as though a battle for artistic integrity over popularity was fought throughout the scriptwriting process.

On a superficial level, the action in this film is very good indeed. It looks pretty, it's well directed, the acting is fine and some of the one on one fights are really spectacular. In short, it's a lot like Gladiator, right down to the soldiers following foolish leaders, the sandy setting, the titanic fights between two brave warriors and even the musical score.

If you're not too familiar with the classical story or if Gladiator left you wanting more, then this is worth a look. However, this film is certainly flawed and may leave you thinking the filmmakers could have done much better.

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Length: 163 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 21st May 2004

Top Five Rating: 70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0% (70.0%)
User Rating: 62.5%62.5%62.5%62.5%62.5%62.5%62.5%62.5%62.5%62.5% (62.5%)

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