82 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2008
Troy (Director's Cut) is so much better than the theatrical version that it is almost hard to believe that they are in essence the same movie. That is not to say that this new version is perfect, it isn't. As with the Theatrical version, the acting is in some instances passable at best and it takes quite a few liberties with the accepted version of events according to Homer. However, what it does do is make the film run far more smoothly than it did before. Considering over 30 minutes of footage has been restored it actually seems to make the film a lot tighter than it was before. The rather disjointed, lacking in focus theatrical version is now replaced with a movie that always keeps you engrossed. Not just in the battle scenes which are really quite brilliant but also in the political intrigues and infighting amongst both the Greeks and the Trojans. Brad Pitt always seems to divide people as to his worth as an actor. I happen to think he is actually quite good. In Troy he is the leading man and he does a good job of holding the film together. According to Homer, Achilles was the most beautiful and the deadliest warrior of his age. Pitt is undoubtedly in excellent physical condition but he also manages to convey Achilles coldness and mastery of arms. His Achilles is a killing machine who cares for almost nothing but his own personal glory. He knows what his alternative futures are before he sails to Troy, but he would rather die young covered in glory than live to be old surrounded by love. There is a vacant look in Achilles eyes almost as though he is aware of everything that is happening around him but doesn't really care as long as it does not seem to personally affect him. However, in war, every action has a knock on effect and Achilles discovers this to his own personal loss. Achilles is not an easy role to take on, but Pitt does it well and he makes Troy a better film because of it.
On a side note, why do film companies continue to keep on ripping off the average punter who buys DVD's. If you are a film fan you are always going to want to see exactly what the director wanted to show in the first place. I can accept that for the theatre sometimes you have to trim the film down a little to make it a more palatable running time for people to be prepared to go and see or in some cases to cut down on some of the director's wilder excesses. But surely when they release the DVD they could make both the theatrical and the director's version available at the same time or on the same package. After all it's not like the footage isn't already available. Too many times I have come across extended additions and director's cuts, mere months after they have released the theatrical version. I know it's too much to hope for that they will stop ripping us off, but I would just like them to know that it's pretty poor show from them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2005
Troy, like a lot of historical movies with many action sequences, rewards a second viewing. We all know Wolfgang Petersen, like many movie-makers before him, took many liberties with Homer's Iliad but I am happy for myths like this to succumb to the hollywood treatment.
Interestingly, Petersen opts to give us the siege of Troy through Achilles' eyes rather than the classical Helen/Paris scenario, as it opens up the prospects for this big action movie. Achilles was the Rambo of the ancient world, but while Rambo goes on for ever, Achilles, alas, proved to be just mortal in the end. If you view Achilles in that light, you feel less inclined to criticise Pitt for his performance. He was a fighting machine who disliked the squabbling Greeks as much as he did the Trojans, but in the end he had to settle for the lesser of two evils in deciding where his loyalties lay. The pace of the movie, which sustains two romances, gives Pitt little opportunity to do much else other than fight, whilst Eric Bana as Hector at least has more to philosophise over in the shape of his brother Paris' problems, as well as defending Troy itself.
Petersen cleverly presents the opulence and decadence of Troy as opposed to the spartan Greeks and their ambitious plans to topple it. Helen of Troy was no more than a pawn, an excuse to invade Troy, and though Bloom works hard as the cowardly womaniser Paris, he comes over as the spoilt useless younger brother of the more commanding Hector. Diane Kruger, too, has little to do except look gorgeous, and fails to grasp that the invasion is only superficially about herself.
The beautiful photography and endless beauty of the calm Mediterranean contrasts sharply with the terrible unfolding violence, and we are treated to endless shots of the body beautiful, Mr Pitt himself who disrobes more regularly than the ladies. Not that I'm complaining!
The finale, when the invaders leave the safety of the Trojan horse and the city falls, is magnificently filmed, and one is left wondering: even if this never happened, it surely is one of the most entertaining stories ever told. It might not be perfect, perhaps the characters could have been fleshed out a little more, but one can't sit in a movie all day long, and in the end film-makers have to learn the art of compression probably more than any other media.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2005
As a 2.5 hour long chronicle of revenge, spite, strategy, war and death, Troy is successful to just a certain point.
Before I turn cynical, I must say that the background score is very rousing and really uplifts even the bland-est of scenes. Second, both Brad Pitt and Eric Bana, in true fashion of their characters-- Achilles and Hector-- are the real heroes of the enterprise bringing some much needed believability and dynamism to their already archtypically heroic characters. The third and the last thing that I found in Troy was the difference in the actual graph of the film. Its like the screenplay writer has very carefully omitted the oft-repeated war-film cliches, especially the final scene redemption.
But just because its different, doesn't really make it all good. The key ingredients which make any war-film memorable are the core conflict and the actual action and surprisingly, Troy falls woefully short on both counts. Neither does the preluding love-story elicit any emotion from the audience nor do the battles provide any thrill (the action, it must be said, is so lame and bland, even a street-fight has more innovative moves). And then who actually do you feel for as the final titles roll-- more than half of you cared for are slashed, and most of those who are left have either fleed or are being burnt away. And plus sequences like the so-called "experienced" advisors of the Troy kingdom advising the king to take a decidedly hideous looking mammoth of a horse back to their confines when you are sitting there thinking... that IS such an obvious hideaway, its just not funny.
Overall, Troy is just an okay film. Once watched is watched enough. It won't make you poke your eyes but won't make them wet either.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lord of The Rings has got to be the hardest act to follow in the history of epic cinema - and wisely, Troy doesn't try.
Or at least, this classical swords-and-sandals fest takes a completely different tack. There's CGI in plenty - most spectacularly, for that shot of the ships that launched a thousand trailers, cutting manfully through the Aegean. Elsewhere, though, the emphasis is on climactic single combat - like the terrifying gladiatorial between Brad Pitt's Achilles and Eric Bana's Hector - rather than on massed pitched battles. And unlike Middle Earth where the supernatural holds sway, this vision of the ancient world has excised the Gods, concentrating on the human drama rather than the politics on Mount Olympus.
In any account of classical world, much depends on whether modern actors can capture the peculiar flavour of myth; the inhuman, fatalistic quality which separates Greek fables from later history. Many critics were loath to believe a mid-westerner turned Hollywood heartthrob could handle a legendary demigod. Brad Pitt certainly looks like Homer's Achilles - blond, muscled and athletic - and even if his accent hovers somewhere over the mid-Atlantic, his steely persona here is credibly fate-driven. Strangely, it's in the quieter scenes where this is most apparent; when captive priestess Briseis asks him why he chose the life of a killer he patiently answers: "I chose nothing. I was born, and this is what I am."
Pitt gets sterling support from British stalwarts Sean Bean (Odysseus), Brian Cox (Agamemnon) and new boy Orlando Bloom (Paris), the latter making the most of an unsympathetic role. There are dignified cameos from an ageing Peter O'Toole as Priam and Julie Christie as Thetis, mother of Achilles - though German actress Diane Kruger makes an oddly colourless Helen, more girlish victim than inspiration for war.
Where the movie falls down is not in its performances, but in the impossibility of bringing such a sprawling, episodic tale to the screen. Director Wolfgang Petersen fails to maintain pace and the narrative sometimes sags badly, like passages of dull recitative between an opera's big arias. Despite its mega-budget, the movie can also look cheap; some crowd scenes recall the "exotic" epics of our childhoods, all painted smiles and frantic dancing.
Troy tries hard. It only occasionally succeeds.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
There are several problems with the film `Troy', if one is trying to fit it too closely with the literature which inspired it, Homer's Illiad. There are too many deviations from the ancient Greek epic poem for this to be other than `inspired by' - there are characters missing (Cassandra, etc.); there are characters whose fates are different from the Illiad (I won't give spoilers, so you'll have to trust me), and the overall situation is cast in a very different light.
In the film, Achilles (Brad Pitt, looking more bulky than usual) is the greatest warrior alive, with a reputation unparalleled in the world. However, he is a loose canon of sorts, as likely to kill his own leaders as the enemy. Achilles is tempted to the battle with Troy, portrayed as one of the greatest battles in history, by the call of everlasting glory. Achilles is persuaded in the end by no less an ironic character than his own mother, who recounts to him the prophecy of an idyllic life at home should he stay, but then to be forgotten after he dies, or the chance at immortality in legend, despite the fact that he'll die at Troy. Achilles sets sail.
The war with Troy is portrayed as having been going on for a decade; at a peace meeting in Sparta, Paris (younger prince of Troy, Orlando Bloom) falls in love with the fair `was this the face that launched a thousand ships' Helen, wife Sparta's king, Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson). Helen steals away with Paris on the ship returning to Troy; Hector, the elder prince and heir to the throne (Eric Bana) is conflicted as to what to do, but opts to journey on to Troy, and the die is cast.
Agamemnon (Brian Cox) uses the event as a chance to band all the Greek city-states together into a final battle with Troy, the greatest rival to his power in the Aegean (and the centre of much of the civilization of the world at that time). This is where the retelling becomes much more modern than ancient. The Illiad is not so concerned with economics and hegemonies as it is with ethics and honour - Agamemnon is portrayed as a Realpolitick power-seeker of the first order, willing to stop at nothing to decimate allies and foes alike for his own power, willing to use honourable pretenses to achieve dishonourable ends. Does one sense a thinly-veiled critique of the modern siege-makers in this?
An astonishing armada is amassed and sets sail for the coasts of Troy. Once there, the beachhead is taken, and the first major act is a desecration of the temple of Apollo (a dishonouring of the local gods - again, does one sense a critique of the moderns here?) by Achilles, who nonetheless proves himself the most valuable warrior the Greeks have. At this point, the internal strife becomes as problematic for the Greeks as the front lines, as Achilles disregards the commands of Agamemnon and cares little for the political outcomes of the war.
The intrigues and the plotting of the Greek leaders are cast in high relief against the more pastoral leadership of `good king' Priam (portrayed by Peter O'Toole with his characteristic panache). Hector is a strong and wise leader under his father; Paris is the foolish and rather cowardly one. (We are missing the back-story of the Illiad of how Paris came to be part of Troy's royal family, and it is assumed that there is no unusual story there.) We rather lose sight of the fact that, indeed, Paris stole the queen of Sparta (again, the modern idea creeps in - in our day, a woman would have the right to choose where she wished to live, but not so in the ancient world; one might question whether the queen of a nation has the right to abandon her role and `shack-up' with the neighbouring prince at will, but I digress...).
The people of Troy are seen as virtuous despite the fact that they are defending the less-defensible position morally. The Greeks might have right on their side in some respects, but this is lost in their brutality and by the unbridled greed of their leaders, and of course it is the ordinary foot-soldiers, including Achilles, who have to do the fighting and dying for the cause, as their princes exchange gifts of gold, money and priceless art treasures to congratulate themselves on their victories.
The film portrays the battle lasting only a matter of a few weeks; the brutality of the battle scenes is as dramatic as any in modern war films, just as bloody. The single-combat scenes between Achilles and Hector, Hector and Patroclus, and others are extremely well choreographed, introducing various techniques I've not seen before in sword-play films.
I don't think it is a spoiler to give away the major ending here, in that Troy eventually falls, not to military might, but to trickery. The Greek ships have sailed, leaving only an offering to Poseidon behind - a giant horse. The Trojan Horse (if the Greeks built it, why is it always called `the Trojan Horse?') is carted into the city whose walls cannot be breeched, and the people celebrate their victory. As they rest after the revelry, Greek soldier inside the horse emerge (including in this telling, Achilles), open the gates to the city, and the Greek army swarms in.
A nice touch to the film is the hand-off of the great sword of Troy to a young man named Aeneas, with the instruction that so long as a Trojan has the sword, Troy will live on (this connects to the Roman epic poem, the Aeneid, which tells of Aeneas' journey from Troy to Rome, making them the spiritual successors of Troy, particularly meaningful when the Romans then conquer the Greeks).
The effects are great, as is the general cinematography. This is a film to be seen in the theatres, for the `big screen' effect.
77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
As a teacher of Classical Greek and Roman Mythology I was looking forward to "Troy." In the past I have put together a unit on the Trojan War that included not only Homer's epic poem the "Iliad," but also the plays of Euripides and Aeschylus and other ancient works on the stories of these characters. In other words I am familiar with this story to the extent that when Briseis showed up wearing a garment with long sleeves I was upset that we did not get to see the lovely arms that were part of her usual epithet. So, suffice it to say, that when characters who survived the Trojan War started dying in this film, I was not exactly happy. Consequently, the truth is that the less you know about the Trojan War of classical mythology, the more you will enjoy Wolfgang Petersen's "Troy."
I have no problem with the idea that Homer and the other ancients have to be adapted in making a modern motion picture about the Trojan War. The decision to eliminate the gods is appropriate, getting away from the idea that this was a ten year war makes sense, and if the alliance of the Greeks is now political rather than as part of an oath sworn by the princes who were suitors for Helen's hand, I consider that to be legitimate. I do not understand why Iphigenia, Cassandra, and Hecuba are all eliminated but there are not fatal omissions. But when you start rewriting who gets killed that is going a bit too far, especially when one premature death starts a chain effect that means Athens will never develop the jury system, which means we probably lose out on it too. David Benioff's screenplay was "inspired" by Homer's "Iliad," which at least is an honest way to characterize what he did in this script, but I still do not have to like it or endorse it.
The big selling point for this film was not Homer but rather Brad Pitt as Achilles. Stories abound about how Pitt worked six months to get in shape for this film, gave up smoking, and ended up hurting his Achilles tendon in one of those profound ironies that indicates that maybe the gods were not pleased with what was happening in this film. Pitt certainly looks good, not just in terms of taking several opportunities to display the line of his nude body, but in how he carries himself as Achilles. The whole idea is that this guy is the greatest warrior on the face of the planet and Pitt exudes that with the way he strides across the sands of Troy. Even more impressive is the choreography for the fights, because Pitt's movements are so smooth and powerful, especially compared with that of Eric Bana's Hector, that you do not doubt that this guy is in a league by himself as a warrior. I also like the way he uses the distinctive form of his shield when fighting. They thought this part out quite a bit.
The fight choreography was worked out by Simon Crane, the film's stunt coordinator and second unit director, who describes Achilles as fighting with a boxing style but with the velocity of a speed skater and the agility of a panther. They also come up with a nice touch in that Achilles looks slightly to the side at his opponent until he is ready to come in for the kill. The best fight sequences of "Troy" are when Achilles is fighting. The giant battle sequences of computerized soldiers are not as impressive, mainly because the camera is always in motion and the cutting is so fast that we are left with an impression of the battle rather than always being able to tell what is going on (which has become my constant complaint with most movies with large battle sequences).
Bana does a good job of capturing Hector's nobility without turning him into a marble statue, while Peter O'Toole fills the role of Priam naturally. On the Trojan side the problematic character is Paris (Orlando Bloom), again because of the writing more than the performance. Priam has negotiated peace between Troy and the Sparta of King Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), but that is destroyed when Paris persuades Helen (Diane Kruger) to run away with him. Both Hector and Priam know that Paris is wrong and their reasons for supporting him and thereby dooming Troy ring hollow (the less than stellar "Helen of Troy" television miniseries did a nice job of providing a solid motivation for the Trojans to protect Helen).
It you want to draw a clear distinction between Homer's story of Achilles and that of Benioff it is that the former is about the rage of Achilles (see the first line of the "Iliad") and the latter adds an equally strong love element. The one character whose role is most inflated in this version is that of Briseis (Rose Byrne), the Trojan slave girl who comes between Achilles and Agamemnon (Brian Cox), the king of kings for the Greeks. This change becomes the reasoning behind how the film rewrites the end game of the Trojan War, although I still do not understand why some of the key characters get to live happily ever after. But since Pitt's performance dominates the film and he is clearly the horse that director Wolfgang Petersen is riding to make the whole thing work, it makes sense that he has to be around until the very end.
The good news is that when I teach mythology after this DVD comes out my students will probably enjoy attacking Benioff's changes in the original stories of Greek mythology in their papers. I think this will definitely help them understand why the writings of Homer and the other ancients are considered classics.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2007
What a let down the original movie was,slow, ponderous,shallow and completely forgettable.
I'm very much a fan of historical epics and my expectations of troy were high,particularly with the cast and crew they had on board.It was however a complete let down and seemed a view shared by many people i spoke to who had watched the movie.The score was dreadful,the characters were lacking in exposition and cause,the mtv style editing,particularly of the battle scenes was a mess ,i could go on and on but now i don't need to.
This new version is terrific,its like watching a new movie,the additional 30 minutes have added so much more to the film,character development is improved,the film feels epic,the new musical score fits in like a dream and the extended fight scenes of which there are many,all do justice to wolfgang petersen's desire to produce this new cut.
I can't praise it enough and if you had doubts over the original movie,then buy this,it really is worth having.
A 5 star recommendation.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The new director's cut of Troy might at over 3 hours be rather long to have been sitting in a cinema, but for home theatre, this is now finally the movie punters wished it could be when it first came out. The extra scenes - a mixture of character moments and action scenes, truly change it from a bit of a muddle, to something approaching classic status.
The battle scenes add little, but the character scenes change and explain the dynamics of the characters, in particular Sean Bean's Odysseus, and the tension between King Agamemnon and Achilles.
There is still a problem with the casting... no-one really looks that comfortable in their roles, neither Eric Bana, Brad Pitt and certainly not Orlando Bloom. Only Peter O'Toole really fits the part, at least as much of a part as he is given. Diane Kruger looks pretty, but whether it is the script, or her acting, it is difficult to say - but she never quite seems worth putting a thousand ships to sea for.
That aside, the battle scenes are visceral, and if this movie added anything new, it was the mano-a-mano battles with Achilles, which are terrifically well choreographed to make you really believe in his invincibility.
Extras are prolific - I gave up before I managed to exhaust all the topics, which are conveniently arranged in segments a few minutes long, so you can either watch all together or search for just the parts which interest.
A worthy package which goes some way to restoring the reputation of this previously maligned movie.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2006
The film was given poor critical reviews when released and therefore we didnt expect a lot from it. However overall the film was much better than expected. Although the first 10 mins didnt set any great expectations, the film improved throughout and by the end we were glad to have watched it. I guess it helped having read the book, but only a little.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2009
If like myself, you avidly read reviews before buying any blu-ray disc, you will want to know about the quality of the blu-ray transfer. With regards to this particular blu-ray, I must say 'Troy' was superb. I would recommend this blu-ray to anyone who wants to experience the very best in high definition picture quality.