Friday, February 03, 2006

TROY: Sean Bean is Magic and the Slave Girls Are Back

After complaining about Sean's work in National Treasure, now I see him everywhere! In Troy he plays Odysseus, the guy who's supposed to keep Achilles in line, if that were possible. More about him later.

I'd like to share a little tidbit. I'm of Greek descent. My Dad used to tell me about the Greek gods and we even had a copy of Bullfinch's Mythology on the shelf. So I had some rudimentary knowledge of the story of the battle of Troy. When the movie started I tried to remember the players: Achilles, Paris, Helen. That's as far as I got. It started to come back thinking, "yeah, Agamemnon, that nutjob." But I was surprised during that first scene with Paris - who was that other guy? Hector? Who is he? What I found out is that Hector was the true hero of the story. Achilles, on the other hand, is a pig. I had to laugh (inappropriately) when we first meet him: a boy has been sent to find him to fight as Agamemnon's champion. So where is he? Piled on his sleeping furs with not one but TWO beautiful women. It's as if someone checked out the script for "Alexander" and said, "Achilles will NOT be gay!, Not gay!" They weren't going to screw that up. But the bottom line is that Achilles is not a nice guy, one could say barely honorable. Which was very big in those days. A helpful voiceover in the beginning of the movie sets the tone for the relationship between Agamemnon and Achilles so we know those two are going to be trouble.

One of the biggest surprises for me was the portrayal of Paris, played by the plucky Orlando Bloom. I find out that he's really just a boy. He has no battle experience and is basically a pampered prince coddled by his older brother Hector and his father. He's been shagging Helen, wife of Menelaus, right in the middle of peace talks and then he steals her away! For love. What a dope! Hector thinks so too but it's an awful dilemma: return Helen and be killed or continue to Troy and start a war.

I need to talk a little bit about Brad and technical details. I realize why Brad Pitt was chosen for the role: he's a popular actor, hunky, and a draw for male and female movie viewers. But I don't feel he was right for the role of Achilles. The way he spoke his lines didn't ring true for me. I tend to imagine that actors in these epic films have spent time on the stage, honing their skills with Shakespeare. But not Brad. His sentences were clunky as he worked with the formal speech, like he couldn't wrap his mouth around the words. Sure he has a nice body (I mean, really sure) but it didn't seem fabulously warrior special. Achilles is supposed to be nigh invulnerable. Mom dipped him in the river Styx, effectively giving him skin of steel. I really expected him to take an arrow to the chest, and have it bounce off. But the filmmakers never did that. I wonder if they thought it would be too cartoonish. He ran around a lot, and fought, but again, I didn't see any particular skills that were so special. His dyed blond hair was brassy and unattractive, even showing roots in some scenes. They should have kept it natural. There's nothing that says that Achilles must be blond. It was ugly hair.

I'm back again to discussing people's teeth. Specifically, actors with veneers. You can see them! And while I hate to be a stickler for details there were no veneers in ancient Greece! The extent of dental work was pulling out rotten teeth, not covering them up and making them beautiful and white. Agamemnon, played by Brian Cox, has a nice set of choppers. But they were not authentic.

"Cue the dancing slave girls!" Here we go again. Troy had that same MGM old time epic film feel. It was a big undertaking but it missed the mark. The Trojan War was a complicated story and I give them credit for maintaining the threads throughout. But I tried to find a sympathetic character and the only ones I could really like were Hector, played by Eric Bana, and Odysseus, played by my man Sean. It didn't make me laugh, or cry or feel much of anything. The fighting was never really clever, even with the horse. The city of Troy had a soundstage feel to it so I didn't mind when they burned it down. It was just a bad movie. Skip this one.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I really enjoyed this movie. Being that I'm a big fan of Brad visually, I got around the bad lines. Sometimes I can; sometimes, I can't.

I laughed out loud about your comparison of Alexander. Man, I really wanted that movie to be as good. I like Colin.