skip to content or skip to search form


Oh, and Rose and I saw Troy this weekend. Hector was perfect. Eric Bana’s performance just about makes up for the two horrific bits which I’ll complain about in a bit. Saffron Burrows as Andromache and Diane Kruger as Helen were also excellent. I know some people were disappointed by Helen’s beauty, which they felt might launch at most a few rowboats, but certainly not a thousand ships. I must disagree, and anyway Kruger did a fine job with the part, so I say she passes. Oh, and Peter O’Toole as Priam? Well, we all know Peter O’Toole is the greatest man that ever breathed, and he remains so in Troy. These four characters are just about the only ones whose complexity in The Iliad survives the cinematic translation. I don’t think much of the words are translated directly from The Iliad, but Hector especially captures all the great subtlety, the heroism and ambivalence about his role as warrior that I fondly remember from reading the book in my Greek class. Achilles, on the other hand, loses all his subtlety and ends up sort of too much of a good guy for a lot of what he does to make sense. (Still, although the motivation isn’t clear enough, I much enjoyed the scenes of Achilles dragging Hector’s body back to camp and Priam arriving to beg Achilles to return the body for proper burial.)

Now. I said Eric Bana’s performance just about makes up for the two horrific bits, and here they are! Just wait till you find out how Oddyseus comes up with the Trojan Horse idea. He sees somebody carving a little wooden horse? What the fuck? And then there’s the “we need to reference The Aeneid” scene, which goes something like this:

Paris: “Aeneas, you must go do the stuff in The Aeneid, except instead of carrying around your little statues of household gods, take the Sword of Troy, which is easier to explain to the audience.”
Aeneas: “I will, sir!”

Paris’s dialogue is slightly paraphrased there, but Aeneas’s is word for awful word, directly from the movie. Ack!

The good parts are as good as it gets in swords ‘n’ sandals epic cinema. The bad parts are hilariously egregious in their badness. That’s pretty much what you should expect from a good epic, I think. Actually, a good epic should be four hours long and have an overture, intermission, and entr’acte, but I suppose I have to accept modern Hollywood’s commercial necessecities w/r/t very long movies, alas.


  1. Ken Lowery says:

    Bana’s quite the thespian. Check out Chopper if you haven’t yet. You’ll be stunned by the guy’s range.

    — 24 May 2004 at 6:43 pm (Permalink)