Directed by: Wolfgamg
2004 Cosmique Movie Awards
Wolfgang Petersen reimagines Homer's epic "Iliad," presenting the legendary war as it might have happened without the embellishments of gods and goddesses.
Troy picked up nine Cosmo nominations, but most were in technical and niche categories and two were in negative categories - Worst Film and Most Overrated. Although the film wasn't a critical success, its box office heft could contribute to considering it to be overrated, a distinction for which it ended up tying with Sideways. Given the other awards it picked up, Cosmo voters seemed to credit it primarily for its eye candy.
"Troy" was panned by many critics and other Cosmo voters, and though it did fairly well at the box office, it may not even survive the top 10 by the time the year is out.
But despite their disgruntlement, I actually found the film to be pretty good. Brad Pitt is miscast as the Greek warrior Achilles - muscles in the right places but acting as wooden as the Trojan horse. But Eric Bana is spectacular as the Trojan hero Hector. Orlando Bloom makes a delightful Paris (one can easily imagine how Helen could fall in love with him despite his lack of heroism). Diana Kruger seems to struggle to rise up to Helen's legendary promise, but the script helps save her here, for it's quickly clear that Agamemnon's war to recover his brother's bride is merely a pretext for political power, and in that context Helen can be somewhat less than legendary.
One critic for "The Washington Post" wrote "Many a gay man will consider this the ultimate date movie." While most of the gay men I know who saw it hated it, there's something to be said for this commentary, although gays more familiar with "The Iliad" may be disappointed. For all of Helen's legendary beauty, the camera focuses on the men - many bare torsos, including Orlando Bloom's oiled chest, and Brad Pitt himself has four brief nude scenes (none frontal, naturally, but this is Hollywood). I'm not sure if Wolfgang Peterson is himself gay, though one of his earliest films in the 70s dealt with a gay subject, but if he isn't, he sure knows how to target a demographic. But even so, certain elements from the original have been sanitized for Hollywood. Most blatantly, any hint of a romantic or sexual relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is lost; they are played strictly as relatives and as a mentor/student.
Wolfgang Peterson's next project will be to bring Orson Scott Card's legendary novel "Ender's Game" to the big screen. It will be interesting to see the choices he makes in translating this more contemporary classic.
Overall, the film does a good job imagining what the historical facts (without the embellishment of gods and goddesses actively interfering with the war) might have been. Purists may take exception to the film's final resolution, particularly with regards to most of the principal characters, but ultimately I found it to be engaging as a classic sweeping spectacle.
My Rating: 8
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