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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Face That Launched 1,000 ships
I've studied Classics for the past 3 years and am a real fan of the epics, and this version of the Trojan War explores much more of the story than the blockbuster Troy. For instance we see more of the relationship between Paris and Helen and her life before her fateful decision to leave Sparta. In Troy the action begins with Helen and Paris already together. The epic...
Published on 31 July 2006 by Beth C

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, what were they thinking!
I cannot speak for the accuracy of the history, for that see the previous reviews, but what is clearly evident that they don't say is that this film presents some of the cheapest TV production values of recent years you are likely to see.

There are badly fitting costumes, poorly choreographed fight scenes (e.g. Paris fighting Menelaus with swords, they miss...
Published on 25 May 2008 by b4-its-2-l8


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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Face That Launched 1,000 ships, 31 July 2006
This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
I've studied Classics for the past 3 years and am a real fan of the epics, and this version of the Trojan War explores much more of the story than the blockbuster Troy. For instance we see more of the relationship between Paris and Helen and her life before her fateful decision to leave Sparta. In Troy the action begins with Helen and Paris already together. The epic places the blame for the war on Helen's decsion so it was an odd choice for Troy to totally steam past all of this. I love this version, Helen and Agamemnon are marvelously cast, along with Clytemnestra and Cassandra. Achillies and Menelaus however are appalling, with Paris not far behind them. But if your after a good story that covers more than just the battle scenes then go for this one. It covers the legend of Helen's divine birth, her childhood, her family, her supposed curse, her engagement to Menelaus and the attraction Agamemnon feels for her, her meeting with Paris, her decision to leave Sparta, and the war that results. It also ends correctly with Paris defeated and Helen returning home with her true husband. This is the better version, unchanged by Hollywood. Watch it for a better insight.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The true story of Troy, 15 April 2007
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C. S. Megan "caromegan" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
As an avid lover of all things classical and mythical, I was hoping that the film Helen of Troy would stick to the real story of Troy and Helen's family history. In this respect I was not disappointed. The film included the goddesses giving Paris the apple for chosing the fairest, which was excluded from the Brad Pitt film (Troy).

However, apart from excellent storylines and mythical aspects, there were odd casting choices. ie Paris, himself was quite weak. Also Achilles was appauling. Brad Pitt in Troy succeeded in his role completely. But Helen herself was excellent and the story behind her life was brilliant. As was the faithful rendition of the demise of Agamemnon. I hated the Hollywood retelling of the Iliad in Troy, especially as Paris and Helen were allowed to disappear off into the sunset happily ever after. This film allowed the Gods to be part of the story which was true to the book. I was also delighted to see that the sacrifice of Iphigenia was kept in the film too. Albeit very sad and well acted, it was an important part of the plot. This was crucial to the way in which Clytemnestra began her plotting to kill her husband on his return from Troy (again omitted from Troy).

I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys the classics and want to see a well made film. The special effects were on a par with the Troy film. So no expense spared here.

Now we need to see a faithful story of the Odyssey as that is a far superior story to the Iliad!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, what were they thinking!, 25 May 2008
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b4-its-2-l8 (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
I cannot speak for the accuracy of the history, for that see the previous reviews, but what is clearly evident that they don't say is that this film presents some of the cheapest TV production values of recent years you are likely to see.

There are badly fitting costumes, poorly choreographed fight scenes (e.g. Paris fighting Menelaus with swords, they miss their cue, hesitate, fumble and look lost for improvisation until they resume the choreography again - it would have been better to re-shoot the scene). I had to rewind this part a couple of times as I couldn't believe they'd allowed it to get past the cutting room floor. Sadly, there are several very noticeable 'fumbles' in this very cheap looking movie.

Hollywood's Bible Epics of the 50's were infinitely more sophisticated by comparison, even the Sinbad movies were more life-like! There are painted backdrops here that may have been done by the audience of Blue Peter, even the original Japanese 'Godzilla' had more realism than the CGI ships and battles in this film.

I know the above sounds harsh, but based on the reviews I'd read I had been looking forward to a sophisticated movie, so my expectations were set higher than this film could deliver.

But concentrating its many faults loses the point of this movie, which at its most basic is to simply tell a tale and whether true or false, who cares? Obviously purists do - but then purists would be unlikely to watch this collection of this thigh-slapping, wooden acting and (at times, very naff) script writing. The beginning of the movie, especially, has the amateurish hallmarks of a primary school production; Helen (Sienna Guillory) as an actress in her late 20s dances and prances and skips about in the hope of conveying the youth of the teenage (19 years old?) Helen. It's just embarrassing.

Whether this movie genuinely does improve or the viewer simply becomes accustomed to its style is hard to say for sure, but the film does improve. This is thanks only to the original story, which engages the viewer and pulls the whole piece together despite the cheap production.

Agamemnon (Rufus Sewell) is the only truly solid character, he breathes believability into the role and the success of the unfolding storyline owes a great deal to him, most others in the film seem like 'extras' by comparison. Helen is often little more than a semi-clad female, though by the film's end she does act with a more maturity (acting maturity as opposed to age). And King Priam (John Rhys-Davies) is the last of the main characters with credibility.

There are some neat moments in this movie (clever camera trickery) but otherwise, it seldom rises above the excitement levels of Coronation Street (which also happens to have more convincing special effects). Then again, I only found afterwards that this was originally a US TV mini-series, which explains a lot.

I would say this is a decent story, worth being told, though not in the way it's done here (it's a very different rendition of the story from the film 'TROY' with Brad Pitt, and this, in itself is quite exciting as you won't know the outcome).

Apart from Rufus Sewell, the best I can say about this movie is, "it's a mediocre way of spending the best part of three hours".
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helen of Troy, Greek tragedy, great film!, 7 July 2004
By 
J. Glen "Jeanette Glen" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Question: If you want to watch one film about Helen of Troy, should it be this one or Troy? Answer: This one and here is why. It is better scripted and more faithful to the original than Troy is.
The chemistry between Paris and Helen is real and palpable (I have seen more chemistry in a plate of cold custard and rhubard than between Diane Kruger and Orlando Bloom in Troy).
This film takes the time to give Helen's and Paris's back story and explains why she is so irresistable, it is not a plot spoiler to reveal that she is the daughter of the Father of the Gods, Zeus and Leda, whom he raped. Sienna Guillory is not drop dead gorgeous but she makes Helen real and believable. Matthew Marsden is also good as Paris and portrays him as he is in The Iliad, a brave man who like Helen, is used by The Gods for their own ends, their love is tender and passionate and beautifully portrayed.
This film also includes the Gods, but does not overdo it. Much is suggested rather than seen but the viewer is left in no doubt that this tragedy is in large part the creation of those Gods at their most capricious.
Agamemnon is played by Rufus Sewell in a performance that is charismatic, powerful and brutal. He shows us a man so ambitious he is prepared to do anything, no matter how dreadful, to get his own way, and who is not prepared to admit that he could have chosen another path, that part of this tragedy is of his own making.
James Callis plays Menelaus and also narrates the story, his is a skillful performance that eventually leads us to respect a man who initially, seems almost as repulsive and coldblooded as his brother Agamemnon.
The film is almost three hours long, but it takes its time to tell the story properly and give reasons as to why the people, but not The Gods, act in the way that they do. It is entertaining,believable and thoroughly watchable, the scenery and costumes also deserve honourable mention.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars alkie annie, 14 Mar 2014
This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
Read your greek mythology before you commit your ignorance to print.
The greek myths are timeless and this film made a good attempt to capture them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well-meaning but disappointing, 27 Sep 2011
This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
It's inevitable that this will be compared to 'Troy', but I think both are flawed and both have their good points. The problem is that ultimately this is more flawed, and has fewer good points, than 'Troy'. There is still scope for someone to make a really good film - or high-budget TV series (like "Rome") - about the Trojan War myth one day.

What I liked about 'Helen of Troy' was that it attempted to show much more of the context of the Trojan War, beginning with Paris's birth and Helen's abduction by Theseus and running right up to Menelaus' and Helen's return to Sparta. Credit has to be given to the writers for attempting such a broad sweep, although this does necessitate the introduction of the gods - always a tricky area and one of the easiest ways for a film to look clumsy. I found it very odd, however, that something which seemed to have such concern for the source material almost entirely edited out the character of Achilles. I agree with earlier reviewers who said that they felt he was appalling. That isn't so much the fault of the actor, but simply of the interpretation. He's meant to be a good deal younger and a leader of men rather than a hulk who simply kills for pleasure. By taking away the quarrel between him and Agamemnon you rip out the chief dynamic of the original story; and by erasing the character of Patroclus, you take away what little humanity Achilles has in the original, and also deprive the story of some of its most moving moments. Here the battle between him and Hector - one of the greatest moments of the myth - is a hastily-covered aside, with no real motivation.

Achilles was my main problem, but unfortunately the casting in general was a little weak. Helen is one of the more natural characters, but I found her overly skittish and not quite convincing as a woman who is meant to have such power over men. Rufus Sewell was also one of the stronger actors. The others, sadly, were rather wooden - and Cassandra was a bit too over the top for my liking, all rolling eyes and screaming, to the point where the performance verged on parody. The sets were quite impressive for the budget (which I presume to have been rather limited), but the special effects sometimes looked rather dated. And can I make a small but important point? There wasn't enough dirt. Historical epics have to have a bit more grime and dirt about them.

This is never going to be an easy story to do, but I hope one day something will come along with the budget, costumes and production values of 'Troy', but the narrative breadth of this film. For those interested in the full story, I recommend Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze graphic novel series, which is a very accurate romp through the complete myth (or will be, when he's finished it!).
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26 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing - see the film instead, 11 Mar 2005
This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
I have a real interest in Greek history and mythology and this is easily the worst version of the Trojan war I have seen. Normally I'm quite easy to satisfy with this genre and will watch most things with good humour but this was dreadful.
I can understand taking liberties with an epic story set over more than 10 years - and this does take plenty of liberties - for the sake of telling a story in a manageable time but this really takes the proverbial. Agamemnon raping Helen, Menelaus being a weakling, Paris being a mighty warrior not a coward, no real semblance of Achilles having a quarrel with Agamemnon... I could go on. Practically the only main plot line kept is that the Greeks and Trojans had a scrap after Helen and Paris took a shine to each other.
All this wouldn't be so bad if the performances were any good. Rufus Sewell is believable as a single minded megalomaniac but no-one else is in any way convincing. Even Keanu Reeves has turned in more convincing acting displays.
If you're interested in the story of Troy see the more recent film or even the dated 60's film for a more credible and enjoyable version. Shame because it looks like they spent a bit of cash on this monster too.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars where was Calchas when they thought this up, 4 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this because I was more interested in watching Sienna Guillory running around on screen than the content of the film, as I roughly know the story of Troy and have absolutely no interest in watching the pathetic Brad Pitt version with Orlando Spoon.

The premise is epic and classic and it would be extremely difficult to botch any rendition, but this production certainly tries its darndest. It's got some good supporting actors, Skarsgard, Rufus Sewell, James Callis, and you would think Amelia Fox, but she's hysterical and irritating as Cassandra, and John Rhys-Davis puts too much rigidity into King Pryam. The sets and scenary are lovely and windswept and barren, maybe even shot on a Mediterranean isle, and the camera work, whilst mostly lifeless does have some interesting flourishes, most notably an action scene shot upside down, and the music is okay but nothing too fancy. The main bug is the leads who are terrible actors. Sienna Guillory may be super lovely to look at but beyond a perfected pout, stumbles on proclamations of unabashed abandon to Paris, and tends to fill most scenes with distress and flight and coy glances that quickly grate. Oh what a burden it is to be the centre of attention and have everything provided for you. They covered this exact topic in The Borgias recently using a lot more panache, and had Holliday Grainger and Joanne Whalley resolve the matter in a timelier and much more intelligent fashion using desserts.

Paris is played by Matthew Marsden, whom I have not seen in anything else. He is utter crap. His boyish looks yet stacked physique is most likely the reason for picking him to play Paris, who is played essentially as a sponge, absorbing everything that comes his way as if it were the most natural thing in the world, yet incapable of doing anything other that going with the flow. He shows a poor and uninteresting emotional range and carries no weight behind any of his convictions.

Poor Hector seems to be competently portrayed but Odysseus and Achilles are rubbish and throwaway. The only praise I have is for James Callis as Meneleus, as he is a good actor, providing intensity when required and humility. Unfortunately, he is totally miscast, as Meneleus is, I thought, supposed to be macho, and James Callis, no matter what he does (and he always does it well) is almost never anything other than camp.

Overall, this film is a waste of shelf-space and beyond Sienna Guillory's nude scenes, the presence of James Callis, and Rufus Sewell looking extremely moody, of not much enjoyment. 1 STAR.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad for a TV movie., 17 May 2013
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This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
This movie is in some respects better than 'Troy' and in others not as good. The screenplay was not as smooth flowing but it did follow Homer's story quite well, although a lot was left out. Achilles' row with Agamemnon was omitted together with his grand sulk, also there was no mention of Patroclus and the Myrmidons did not feature at all. Odysseus was hardly involved and Hector, the great Trojan hero was not allowed to show his great prowess. The two Ajaxes were barely mentioned. The fighting skills of Paris were somewhat exaggerated. There was an over-reliance on CGI in some scenes which looked somewhat artificial. The acting was a little wooden at times, apart from Rufus Sewell who played a suitably intense Agamemnon. Sienna Guillory made a very attractive Helen and Emilia Fox as Cassandra was very committed. The scenery was nicely shot and the sets were impressive. I also thought that the wooden horse was well constructed. On balance I preferred 'Troy', which had its own issues, but it was a close run thing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars helen of troy, 29 April 2013
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This review is from: Helen Of Troy [DVD] (DVD)
O.K bur Helen needed a good smack early on - or was she a bit dozy? Also what was the parading around naked supposed to be. With the looks Lovely Rufus Sewell was giving her well ------
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Helen Of Troy [DVD]
Helen Of Troy [DVD] by James Callis (DVD - 2004)
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