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Starring Brad Pitt and Eric Bana and Peter O'Toole
Screenplay by David Benioff, Inspired by Homer's The Iliad
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen

IN SHORT: Buy the big popcorn and enjoy the sit. [Rated R for Graphic Violence and Some Sexuality/ Nudity. 162 minutes]

The oldest non-Biblical love story is also the one with the greatest visual imagery. It would take a major effort to mess up a screen adaptation. That's not the case here but we're juggling the notion of how much we can tell without violating all the rules that have guided this Site for the last ten years. We placated ourself this way: even if you've never heard the story of Troy, which is doubtful, odds are someone in your set of computer friends has mentioned a Trojan Horse, a name odd enough that anyone would ask its origins. So no complaints when we mention the horse, folks.

Troy is also a great example of the adage that the simplest stories are the best stories. Two men love the same woman. One is a middle aged King who can raise an army to get her back from the other, an heir to the throne of a rival kingdom. The prince of that kingdom is also a much younger and better looking man than the King, who isn't about to lose his trophy wife to any man, let alone one a step down in any royal pecking order. The battle between the two yields a fine summer blockbuster, the screen packed with stunning visuals and a story strong enough to survive multiple millennia of retellings to hold it all together.

Just as we do not compare to the Source Material in writing these reviews, neither does screenwriter David Benioff dip into the great myths and legends of ancient Greece to develop his characters. We find it strange that there isn't a basic explanation of the Greek pantheon of gods -- that takes a bit of the fun out of the story, but at the whopping run time of this epic, something has got to go. Still, the decision to build the Horse is linked to the god Poseidon and we'd love to know how that connection came about. Onwards . . .

3200 years ago, give or take, there was a mighty kingdom called Troy. Ruled by King Priam (Peter O'Toole) and defended by Priam's son Prince Hector (Eric Bana), the city controlled a vast stretch of trade on the Mediterranean and was itself defended by a legendary defense, an unbreachable wall that surrounds the main city. As this story begins, a decade long war between Troy and the various city-states of the Grecian peninsula is coming to a close, via a peace treaty. While the papers are signed, Paris, Prince of Troy (Orlando Bloom) steals away with Helen, Queen of Sparta (Diane Kruger). Her husband, King Menelaus of Sparta (Brendan Gleeson) doesn't take kindly to losing his trophy bride. Affront is also taken by Agamemnon (Brian Cox) the King of Mycenaea, brother to Menelaus and ruler of the fledgling empire created by the alliance of the city-states. The newly formed Greece sends a grand army to Troy to return Helen to her rightful place. At the head of those forces is the greatest warrior ever to walk the soil of Greece. He is Achilles (Brad Pitt) and he thinks that "Agamemnon is a pig". Even though his mother, Thetis (Julie Christie), has had a premonition that he will die at Troy, a warrior is made for battle and the greatest of warriors is not one to refuse a challenge. Nor is he one to avoid indulging in the spoils of war, in this case Hector's cousin Briseis (Rose Byrne) captured during the sacking of the Temple of Apollo at Troy, early in the story. Achilles decides to protect the girl which offers up the only feminine plot line in a story otherwise packed with testosterone.

Director Wolfgang Petersen offers up magnificent production values in his re-creation of the ultimate battle of the war. The characters of legend are tossed about in the story as needed, without much background to make us really care about any of their places in the legendary story that is being recreated here. Then again, we're used to epic films running light on heavy duty character development and Troy was not a difficult sit

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Troy, he would have paid . . .


It's long but visually more than entertaining. The men get battles. The ladies get a long haired Pitt. Something for everybody.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.