Wednesday, May 19, 2004

So, Bobby, Do You Like Gladiator Movies?

I saw me some Troy this weekend. You know, that movie where the camera moves lovingly over Brad Pitt every six or so minutes? The one where a bunch of guys who look sort of like Brad Pitt fight each other?

Yeah -- that one.

Now, I'm going to be honest here - I was pretty excited about this film when I started seeing trailers for it. It had a lot going for it: war, cast of thousands, war, Helen of Troy, lots of killin' (What can I say? I like watching movies where things blow up or people stab each other).

To prepare, I even reread the Iliad. I dragged my eyes over every page, slowly feeling my will to live fade, as Mr. Evola's (my high school English teacher), voice kept repeating in my head: "See? Right there? That's a list! In the oral tradition, this is instructions for doing everyday things! Here's how you sacrifice a calf! Here's how you build a funeral pyre!" I have yet to actually put this knowledge to use, but if you need to know how to keep Zeus happy, give me a call. I'll hook you up.

And really, I kind of enjoyed the Iliad, but if someone I was fighting started telling me his lineage before we fought, I'd go ahead and stab him. Honor is nice, but it doesn't keep you breathing.

So now we come to the movie. No gods. Helen's basically an afterthought - a spark to start a war that was a long time coming. Brad Pitt. The dude from The Hulk (I think the movie would have been much more interesting with a Hulk appearance, but that might have posed some problems). Orlando Bloom played a pretty boy who was good with a bow (typecasting has struck again).

Basically, they gave the story the old Hollywood treatment, and they did a nice job of cheesing it up. Too many characters talking about how history would view them; Achilles' death is laughable, as is the situation that leads up to it. (Sorry if I ruined the story for you, but had you paid attention in high school English like I did, you'd know that Troy falls and Achilles ends up on the wrong end of an arrow).

Does every movie really need a contrived love affair? Why pretend that people will be interested in two pretty people hooking up under ridiculous circumstances?

I guess because it's easy; it's what people expect and what they pay for. Hell, I'm one of them, but I was hoping for a little more depth in this movie - something that it fell short on.

Don't get me wrong; it's not a bad film, and it's worth seeing, but unlike the gift horse the Greeks leave the Trojans, there's little inside the pretty packaging. (Although I'm pretty sure the Trojans would have preferred it that way).

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