Monday, March 07, 2005

BuboBlog Reviews 'Troy'

We finally watched "Troy" over the weekend. I had planned to see it much sooner since I'm a Greek mythology fan (a Homerphile? Hmm... that sounds kinda gay), but I read so many negative reviews I wasn't sure what to think.

My prognosis: This movie is about as good an adaptation of "The Iliad" as you could hope to get. Sure, they didn't have the gods in there, but I think that would have been a bit laughable if they did. And there were some other liberties with the story, such as the fact that it seems to take place over about two weeks vs. 10 years. And Paris doesn't die, whereas Agamemnon does (in myth, Agamemnon isn't killed until he returns home to his angry wife). But all of these changes were necessary to make the sprawling story more compact and satisfying. They make the movie better not worse.

My main fear was they were going to mess up the emotional crux of the story, which is the part where Priam asks Achilles if he can have his son Hector's body back for a proper funeral. (If you want a very moving adaptation of this passage, read "Achilles" by Elizabeth Cook.) "Troy" pulls it off pretty well, thanks in part to the always-competent Peter O'Toole, who plays Priam. Now, in the Iliad, this is where the story ends. Of course, "Troy" couldn't really do that, so the story continues to cover the Trojan Horse episode and the fall of Troy. That's fine by me too, since you need some closure.

There were some other nice touches, such as a quick exchange between Paris and Aeneus, where Aeneus gets the sword of Troy. If I were to do a sequel to this movie, instead of going the obvious route and doing "The Odyssey" (which has a bit too many metaphysical elements to do in a straightforward manner), I would do "The Aeneid" by Virgil. Then you could follow Aeneus out of Troy and to the founding of Rome.

Best line in the movie: After Menelaus asks his guards where his wife Helen went: "She left with the Trojans!" That's something you never want to hear.