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Violent, watered-down version of The Iliad.
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Homer's The Iliad is the basis of this film and whether or not the actual Trojan War took place this film actually does the story/fable/myth great justice with its glorious lavish looks. For me the mystery behind this ancient Greek plot is all the more intriguing and boosts my favour for the film. From what I see and have read Petersen's film is quite accurate to what we know of the event, everything seems to play out as it should and there doesn't appear to be much Hollywood tomfoolery going on with the details, well not too much. One Slight argument could be raised about a minor detail, Achilles relationship to Patroclus is not known for sure, where as here they are cousins. As for some other bigger issues...King Agamemnon wasn't killed in Troy but returned to Greece, Paris did actually die in Troy during the war and Helen of Troy was suppose to have been taken back to Sparta. So a little artistic license used it seems but not too bad, why it was done that way I don't know. As for the film...well it looks gorgeous, the location work really sets this up beautifully as everything looks a soft sandy golden colour against the piercing blue Aegean Sea although not actually filmed against the Aegean Sea. The Walls of Troy are powerful and impressive looking as the Greeks attack them throughout, the battles are huge with vast channels of warriors facing off against the city walls and each other, some excellent battle sequences I assure you. The scope of the battles is probably the best aspect of the film really, a lot of historical films have good battles in them these days but you really get a sense of size here plus its all in broad daylight so its gotta look sharp. The visuals, the costumes (LOVE that dark coloured Myrmidon armour, very striking, very cool), the sets and the battles can't be faulted but unfortunately one thing lets all this down badly and that's the casting. Pretty much every member of the cast is a bad choice and doesn't fit the bill at all, harsh but true. Brian Cox as Agamemnon is far too much of a villain in the film and hams it up atrociously...you'd think he was in the next ''Die Hard' flick! Gleeson looks the part but his Irishness keeps coming through, he's in the wrong time period and army. Pitt simply can't act too well I'm afraid, always his major downfall, plus he looks too buff and pretty for the part really which takes away any sense of realism. Yep Pitt looks too good, too super heroic for his own good. Bana really puts in a poor show here for some reason, I just didn't feel the power he should have, the emotion just wasn't there plus his Aussie accent kept creeping in. The same for Bean with his Yorkshire accent which isn't covered at all!! so you have King Odysseus with a Sheffield South Yorkshire accent for Christ's sake! Then you have the very weak talented Bloom who somehow manages to keep getting cast in big films, yes he looks perfect for this role but he simply can't handle the weight of this type of epic film. Lastly we have the mighty Peter O' Toole who again like other cast members just doesn't seem to have the power or weight needed for the role, he came across as tired and almost reluctant to embrace the role, a stunning actor for sure but he didn't seem right here. Its a damn fine film to take on Homers ancient poem but I just wish Petersen had used a cast that wasn't simply chosen for their big name status at the time. I would of thought he had more sense than that and as a result he lets down this film which could of been truly epic in every aspect. Its definitely a visually spectacular war movie that's for sure, very pretty looking ancient battle porn, but methinks that's all it really is.
- phubbs1, Tuesday, April 29, 2014