May 25, 2004 > Troy
Director: Wolfgang Peterson
by Jeremy Inman
Similar to the recent movie, The Alamo, Troy does a great deal to strip its story of mythological context. Instead of Homer's original story, in which Greek gods play a decisive role, Troy focuses on the range of motives of humans and a realistic representation of the classic Greek tragedy. The gods are mentioned - pivotal figures in any Greek tale - but are referred to in the proper and logical context of religion.
When the young princes of Troy, Hector (Eric Bana) and Paris (Orlando Bloom), travel to the nearby nation of Sparta, the young and naíve Paris falls in love with the Spartan king's wife, Helen (Diane Kruger). The two begin a love affair eventually fleeing Sparta along with Hector, returning to Troy. Discovering the loss of his wife, Spartan King Menelaus requests aid from his power-hungry brother, Agamemnon (Brian Cox). Agamemnon, seeing an opportune moment to overtake the impenetrable Troy, agrees. He gathers every army of Greece, including the Myrmidons, the fiercest warriors in Greece, and their leader Achilles (Brad Pitt), the greatest warrior ever born. Soon, the powerful nation of Troy finds itself facing the greatest army the world has ever known, and the two great nations begin a battle that will last nearly ten years, and almost consume both nations.
Troy goes to great lengths to analyze the motives of each character. For instance, Paris is obviously motivated by love, while Menelaus seeks revenge for the loss of his wife. Agamemnon goes to war out of his greed for power, Achilles fights for the glory of battle, and Hector is drawn by familial obligation. Each character is played convincingly, and the added subtext does a great deal to enhance the plot. Battle sequences are massive, and the style of combat is one that moviegoers will find refreshing. While the combat choreography is amazing, some filming will seem sloppy and haphazard, mainly during the sequences with large numbers of soldiers on screen at one time. Computer graphics, used to generate the thousands of soldiers in Troy, mix seamlessly with real life environments and people to become indistinguishable. Even though most characters seem a bit too historically aware, the film attempts to strip them of mythological context by using events to provide a possible source for the legends that many people are familiar with today.
Troy is a successful mixture of compelling performances, massive battle sequences and master storytelling. Its realistic approach to the classic tale opens the story, allowing the audience to understand more about the individual characters and their own reactions to the events. This movie is well worth seeing.