Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Troy: A movie review and some other stuff

I watched the movie "Troy" a few days ago. When it was released, the reviews didn’t excite me so I put off seeing it. It would have probably been best enjoyed on a large screen, but since I didn’t get around to it, I waited till it rose to the top of my Netflix queue. It’s certainly an epic, as if there would be another way to tell the tale, but even as an epic, it falls short. It wasn’t nearly as good as the Thai epic, "The Legend of Suriyothai," that I reviewed a few weeks ago.

You often hear the complaint that Hollywood ignores God. With Troy, they show they are ignoring gods on an equal opportunity basis. Where would the Greeks be without the gods constantly intermingling with things? The book is supposedly based on Homer’s The Iliad, in which the gods behave as badly as the mortals fighting the battles. In the movie, you don’t have the gods intervening to save Paris from his duel with Helen’s former husband (I can’t keep all these names straight). Nor do you have Apollo guiding Paris’ arrow into Achilles heel. Instead we’re shown a shot of Paris practicing his marksmanship, undoubtedly preparing him for the showdown with his brother’s killer. From what I understand, the movie intentionally depicted the legend without the gods, as a way to make it more realistic.

Troy is a tragedy. Moral order breaks down. Both sides, but especially the Greeks, succumb to pride and passion. Hector, proud of his military victories refuses to take refuge behind the walls of Troy and is killed by Achilles. Achilles, mad about the death of a friend, becomes reckless and hotheaded, shaming Hectors body by dragging it around the city. This violation leads to his own downfall as an arrow strikes him in the heel, his one vulnerable spot. The movie ignores Achilles near immortality;, it takes an arrow in the heel and several more in the chest to bring about his demise). Furthermore, Brad Pitts creates Achilles into some kind of "self-made hero," an ancient Rambo, that is sanctified in the end. The legend of Troy should be a warning to us all about what happens when we let passion and anger rule our lives. I don’t see a lot of sanctification occurring in the legend. But it’s been several decades since I read it.

I should point out in case you’re familiar with Homer’s work that the film takes additional freedom with his story. The Iliad ends with the death and funeral of Hector. The film continues on to the famed Trojan Horse and the fall of Troy. As the city burns, Paris and many of the leading women, at least the glamorous ones, escaping through a secret tunnel. In the legends, Troy is destroyed, the men all killed and the women are hauled away as slaves, which is a much better ending because in this movie, we’re left with the possibility for a sequel. Will Paris finally grow up and return with his harem to the big screen? May the gods intervene!

ENOUGH ABOUT THAT… I think it's time to change my picture. I'm getting tired of the Boy Scout Cherub that Murf so graciously created. The wings and that halo are heavier than they look. They went with my saving snake story of a few weeks ago, but I’m dreaming of being alone in the mountains... Let me see what I can find.

CHECK IT OUT… Early in my blogging experience, I enjoyed the poems of Seawyf, an Italian poet living in England. At the time her blog was named Medusa (yes, this was long before my snake encounter). I even brought a copy a collection of her poems and reviewed it. Seawyf is back. Check out her new blog, Searching, in which she's looking for something with the determination of a knight searching for the grail. (As her background is in the classics, I she may think my interpretation of Homers is full of crap). Also, welcome back to Murf, who has been on the Honky-tonk circuit in Texas this past week. And Ed Abbey has a great quote today from the real Edward Abbey.

18 comments:

  1. Oh, that movie wasn't so bad...or maybe I just viewed it while looking at Eric Bana and being blinded with lust. He may be the only man I have a crush on who has hair.

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  2. By the way, thanks for welcoming me back. I'm still waiting for the honeymoon to end and you resume teasing me.

    You have my permission to change your picture, by the way. ;-)

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  3. I decided not to go and see the film when I discovered that Hollywood, in order to preserve Brad Pitt's image as a straight guy, censored the fact the Patroclus, the friend of Achilles' killed by Hector, was his best friend Ancient Greek style, i.e. his lover. Anyway, these films even with their limitations, make ancient texts known to new audiences, and that is a good thing.

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  4. I actually saw it in a movie theater in the Ozark mountains of NW Arkansas on my honeymoon. I don't remember much about the movie...

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  5. Murf, you and Ed are thinking about different kinds of honeymoons, right?

    Seawyf, yeah he's straight and when it comes to women, a knight in shinning armour, in the movie.

    Ed, Watching all that sword fighting on your honeymoon? What was the matter, was it raining too much to be on the rivers?

    Murf, I think Ed may be getting your share of teasing...

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  6. Sage, the oldies for me are anything predating 1945......LOL

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  7. I saw Troy, too, and was disappointed that they mostly left the Greek gods out of it.

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  8. Sage - That's all right. Teasing Ed is pretty hard thing not to do. Although forgot watching the sword fighting. What in the sam hill was he doing in Arkansas on his honeymoon? He owes her a much better trip. ;-)

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  9. Kenju, you're not that old!!!

    Tim, I think Seawyf is right about it getting people interested in the classics. I'm not sure if they still have to read Homer in school. I knew we read the Odyessy in the 9th grade--the Iliad was required in a college class.

    Murf, who's Sam Hill? And what's wrong with taking your wife on a river trip for a honeymoon?

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  10. I've yet to see TROY but I am very interested in watching it. Though I think I've read mostly bad reviews for it.

    Have you seen THE CONSTANT GARDENER Sage-man? I have a review of it on my blog. I highly recommend it.

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  11. Murf - You know me enough by now to know the answer to that. In my opinion, there is no better place to go on a honeymoon than in some hardwood covered mountains with emerald stream, tall waterfalls (tallest west of the Mississippi), a furnished cabin that didn't cost me a penny, and best of all no people.

    Sage - My new wife wanted a romantic dinner in town followed by a movie. We had to choose between a slapstick comedy and sword fighting. Sword fighting won out. But the ice cream cones eaten on the drive back to the cabin on moonlit winding mountain roads soothed any wounds such a film choice might have caused.

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  12. Murf why did you give him permission to change pic? There has been no recognition that he needs my authorization too ;)

    Sage it sounds like they've cut out all the important bits to make sure it is sequel-able (yes I'm aware that's not a word but it's late, I'm sick & I thought it was funny) BTW did you see March of the Penguins yet? I'm really wanting to hear your opinion (I think it's your kind of flic)....very cool!

    Ed you rock :)

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  13. Ok Ed, I agree with you on your honeymoon choice, but then I'm a guy... As for tall waterfalls west of the Mississippi, you should note that's West of the Big Muddy, but east of the Rockies...

    Daydreamer: I forgot to get all the sign-offs completed before I took things in my own hands and changed my picture. I hope you get to feeling better. I suppose down there, it's time for winter colds.

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  14. Daydreamer - I would like to say that I gave the permission before I knew what picture was going up. I was hoping for a bald shot. This Sage has hair. Although it is showing his tanned legs and his coordinated socks, shirt and sweatband. Nice to know that you remain that put together even out in the middle of nowhere, Sage.

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  15. so, Troy, thumbs up or down?


    School's out so I'm ready to waste time with movies...

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  16. Murf, I'll try to make sure that future pictures have me in a hat.

    Kontan, Congratulations on making it through another year. As for Troy, I'd say watch it and compare.

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  17. Oh I loved Troy. That was before I found out Brad Pitt was just a jerk who takes himself way to seriously.

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  18. Wow, they did take huge liberties with the legends. Although I must admit, rewriting so all the women aren't enslaved I could go both ways on.

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