Okay Juicers, so I am doing this 30 day Film Challenge that should really give my thoughts and emotions an interesting time during the next month of quarantine. Day 26 is a very broad question, pick a movie I like that is adapted from somewhere. Tons of movies are adapted from different books and short stories, but I chose an epic tale from Homer. After choosing O Brother, Where Art Thou yesterday and its connections to the Odyssey it is only fun that I choose Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy that is adapted from The Iliad.
*This is a historical story
Based on Homer’s “Iliad,” this epic portrays the battle between the ancient kingdoms of Troy and Sparta. While visiting Spartan King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), Trojan prince Paris (Orlando Bloom) falls for Menelaus’ wife, Helen (Diane Kruger), and takes her back to Troy. Menelaus’ brother, King Agamemnon (Brian Cox), having already defeated every army in Greece, uses his brother’s fury as a pretext to declare war against Troy, the last kingdom preventing his control over the Aegean Sea.
“Imagine a king who fights his own battles. Wouldn’t that be a sight?”
I have always had an interest in the Trojan War, in part because of this movie and how fascinated I am by it. A king with the worlds greatest army who cannot penetrate a city and its walls. A prince who falls in love and steals the wife of that kings brother. Causing the greatest war that had ever been seen at the time, and sending in the worlds greatest warrior at the time, Achilles.
Petersen introduces you to Brad Pitt’s Achilles in the opening all time memorable scene. King Agamemnon, played by the phenomenal Brian Cox, makes a deal with a rival king best warrior agains best warrior to decide the battle. Thessaly sends out this monster of a man, and after some time Agamemnon sends out Achilles, man who fights for no king but just so his name will be remembered, and well you can guess what happens then.
“IS THERE NO ONE ELSE?”
From there we get the classic story of Paris stealing Helen of Troy and starting the Trojan War. Once the movie shifts to Troy is when it really gets going. We meet King Primus played by ole Blue Eyes Peter O’Toole, the father of Hector and Paris, who worked so hard for peace for years have to fight a war for his love struck son. That war starts with the beach scene, which if you have seen this movie you do not need any more explanation. But, it is one of the great action scenes I have ever seen, and watching Achilles and his men take the beach is a sight to behold.
Once the beach is taken there is a lot of different battles that either side win, leading up to an attack from the Trojans that takes the life of Achilles cousin Patroclus (Garrett Hedlund). This causes Achilles to challenge Prince Hector in one of history’s legendary duels. The duel lives up to the hype. Along with expert choreography, and inspired camera, you get the pulsating and pounding score from James Horner. And of course you get the famous and ruthless dragging of Hector once Achilles kills him. Pitt and Bana also did not use stunt doubles at all for the duel which just makes it even better.
After that we get the conclusion of the Trojan Horse story and see bitch boy Paris kill Achilles in an anger inducing scene. However, before we get too deep into the story we have to talk about the amazing cast. Diane Kruger is perfectly cast as Helen of Troy even if she does piss me off. Brendan Gleeson is great as always as the revenge fueled Menelaus. Eric Bana plays a great and strong Hector and it makes me wonder where his acting career has gone from his great prime. My beloved Rose Byrne shows up for a bit as a slave turned lover to Achilles. Sean Bean, of course as Odysseus in a role that he knew he would not die in! And how can I not talk about my beloved Brian Cox. I am such a huge fan of his from Manhunter, to X2, to Succession and on and on the man just chews scenery every time he is on screen. He does it again in this and steals every scene he is in.
*A couple other tidbits
- The James Horner score is truly remarkable.
- Brad Pitt looks like a Greek God in this.
- Orlando Bloom openly dislikes his character, uhhhhhh ya think?
- They apparently offered this movie to Christopher Nolan (The God) first and what a movie that could have been.
- The script was written by David Benioff of Game of Thrones fame.
Troy is an Epic in every sense of the word. Big sets, big performances, and a big story create a stirring tale. Brad Pitt for me is at his peak in this performance and you absolutely cannot take your eyes off anything he is doing. There are definitely some slower parts of this movie but it is made up for by the incredible action sequences.
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